But the Harris-Biden appearance also exemplified the haunting emptiness of the most joyless election campaign in generations. When pro sports play before empty stadiums these days, TV channels pipe in crowd noise to viewers at home. But fake fans don’t wash in politics, so Biden and Harris walked into the deafening silence of a school gym, before a group of socially distanced reporters.
It bore no resemblance to the moment that a beaming Biden, slapping palms, bounded onstage in Springfield, Illinois, to be introduced as Barack Obama’s running mate 12 years ago. Signs in the huge crowd crammed together in the sunshine defined what now seems a quaint and distant age, when “hope and change” seemed in reach.
In many ways, Wednesday’s event was a preview of the stripped-down and online party conventions to come. And in these quiet, socially distanced weeks, Biden and Harris’ message of steady, serious leadership may have an edge over that of Trump, who feeds off the angry energy of fired-up crowds at packed rallies.
In the White House Briefing Room on Wednesday, the President seemed tired, weighed down by the office, and he trotted out a familiar stream of misinformation on the virus. To borrow his own scathing critique of 2016 Republican primary rival Jeb Bush, Trump looked “low energy.” Given his perilous position in the polls, he can’t let his hangdog act continue for long.
‘If you’re like me, you can’t wash your beautiful hair properly’
‘No place in Congress for these conspiracies’
The anarchic fringe is going mainstream.
Devotees of the conspiracy theory believe that dozens of politicians and celebrities are in league with governments around the world in a child sex-abuse ring and that a “deep state” is trying to down President Donald Trump. They follow an anonymous figure known as “Q” who claims to hold a high-level security clearance inside the US government, who drips out supposed wisdom in internet posts.
Trump hasn’t openly backed the movement but Q signs bearing cryptic messages have appeared at his rallies and he’s retweeted QAnon propaganda. The President, always ready to fan falsehoods that delight his base, warmly welcomed Greene’s victory in a tweet calling her “a real WINNER” on Wednesday morning. He’s not bothered that the soon-to-be rookie representative also has a long record of extreme and hateful rhetoric, including anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim slurs.
The rise of QAnon reflects the wild influences that have a home in the Republican Party in the age of Trump — the conspiracy theorist in chief — and the way many GOP lawmakers, wary of the party base, try to look the other way. One Republican representative who did speak out was Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who tweeted that QAnon is a fabrication. “Could be Russian propaganda or a basement dweller. Regardless, no place in Congress for these conspiracies.”
His thoughts earned a rebuke from Matt Wolking, director of rapid response for Trump’s 2020 campaign. “When will @RepKinzinger condemn the Steele Dossier fabrications and conspiracy theories pushed by Democrats? That actually WAS Russian propaganda,” Wolking tweeted.
“Around 1.3 million Indian Americans are expected to vote in this year’s election, with nearly 200,000 in battleground states like Pennsylvania and 125,000 in Michigan, according to the research firm CRW Strategy. Indian Americans register and vote at high rates, even though we remain underrepresented in elected office. In 2016, 77% of Indian Americans voted for Hillary Clinton, according to stats by the same research firm.