Why is someone tearing down campaign signs? As already discussed in a Spy letter to the editor, vandals recently destroyed a large Biden sign. Another road sign was defaced with spray paint. And it gets stranger. At least two Trump signs were rigged with what looked like fake booby-traps, apparently to deter anarchists and Antifa from removing them. Closer examination has shown them to be anti-theft devices.
What is going on?
As far as the vandals attacking the Biden signs are concerned, one explanation is fear and desperation. A new Wall Street Journal /NBC News poll shows President Trump down by 14 points. With the President still ill with the coronavirus, hopes for a comeback are fading.
What caused the drop in the polls? There are many places to start. Just looking at last week’s news, it is hard to determine whether it has been the President’s non-payment of income tax, his stellar debate performance on September 29th, or something else. Evidence of his leadership failures on addressing the pandemic mounts every day along with the national death toll, now over 212,000.
Of course, the WSJ/NBC poll was taken before the President disclosed he has the virus. We all hope for the President’s recovery, but will there be a sympathy vote? Not likely, given the long history of reckless behavior on Trump’s part, which includes holding a fundraiser after he knew he had been exposed to the virus and ignoring the social distancing and mask rules at the first debate.
There is also the issue of what he has done since disclosing his illness. In addition to the White House issuing conflicting reports on the state of his health, the President faked a “work session” at Walter Reed Hospital at which he signed blank sheets of paper. Perhaps worse, he risked the lives of Secret Service agents and others with a bizarre drive around the hospital, yet another ill-conceived photo op. Doctors were shocked.
It’s also not likely that Monday night’s photo op will help. Some doctors question whether Trump should have discharged himself from the hospital at all, an act setting the stage for prime-time news coverage of Marine One and Trump, in full business attire, returning to the White House. Then he walked, unassisted, up the stairs and, amazingly, promptly removed his mask and put it in his pocket before posing for a short video in a doorway.
I remain hopeful that the President will fully recover from the virus, but 72 hours in the hospital don’t appear to have taught him anything. As one friend of mine commented, “It’s too bad Trump has the virus, but he has only himself to blame.” The friend added, “You reap what you sow.”
Could it be that the destruction of the Biden signs is an expression of fear that the election is lost and that the Trump era is about to end? Could it be that some deranged thought process has convinced the vandals that destroying the Biden signs will somehow either intimidate Biden supporters from voting or, worse, serve as a graphic demonstration of how strong Trump’s support is. There is nothing like violence to cement political power.
Not so curiously, I am not seeing much about Trump signs being destroyed. I am sure it is happening somewhere, but I just haven’t seen it here. And if there is vandalism on the left, I am not sure it is fair to credit former Vice President Biden. Antifa and “anarchists” are not part of the Biden campaign and, given that they are both unorganized groups, the thought that they are coordinating with Biden is far-fetched.
Also, as noted earlier in this piece, it is rapidly becoming apparent that Biden does not need, let alone want, the help of hooligans to support his campaign. He is ahead in the polls by double digits.
We are all blessed that less than a month remains before this sorry chapter in our nation’s history ends. When the smoke clears, we will hopefully have a new day, a day of honesty and seriousness. A new administration that listens to scientists and will focus the resources of the federal government and bringing the pandemic to an end.
Here is a message to the vandals: Your acts are only creating sympathy for the other side. Seeing the defaced Biden sign on Oxford Road only makes me less likely to vote for Trump, not that there is any chance of that.
I hope you get caught and turned in to appropriate authorities.
If you see one of these vandals or know anything that might lead to their arrest, contact the Talbot County Sheriff at 410-822-1020.
J.E. Dean of Oxford is a retired attorney and public affairs consultant. For more than 30 years, he advised clients on federal education and social service policy.