Virus and Trump himself are THE issues, Sellers says

Oct 31, 2020

Attorney and CNN Democratic commentator Bakari Sellers speaks to Claflin University students via Zoom on Oct. 22. “If you want people to stop protesting then you know, stop killing us,” Sellers said.

The key issues in the 2020 election are the coronavirus and President Donald Trump himself, a CNN political analyst said.

CNN commentator, author, attorney, and former state lawmaker Bakari Sellers held a news conference with Panther reporters on Oct. 22 to discuss issues surrounding election 2020. The conference was held via Zoom.

“I think this is going be a referendum on Trump and his handling of coronavirus, period,” Sellers said. “I think that is the overwhelming, glaring issue.”

Sellers said that the coronavirus is “the number one issue at play,” not only for the health aspect but also because of the impact on the economy.

“It’s something they didn’t take seriously,” Sellers said of Republicans.

“When you have that type of incompetence, quarantine after quarantine, lockdown that’s been going on for months, and an economy that can’t get back on track, the people want to know how serious it is,” Sellers said. “I mean look at the fact that we’re all doing this via Zoom, right?”

“So I think that’s the glaring issue.”

Sellers said Democrat Joe Biden is well positioned to win the election.

“This is going to be the biggest election of our lifetime,” Sellers said.

He spoke on the emergence of North Carolina and Georgia as swing states, saying, “things are changing.” But he said South Carolina remains a Republican "red" state for now.

Sellers said Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, Iowa and Ohio are also deciding states in this election.

He said three states will determine “whether or not this is an election day or election week.”

“If Joe Biden wins Florida, North Carolina and Ohio, this race is over and we’ll see an election called in the wee hours of election night,” Sellers said. “The reason for naming these three is because all of their ballots will be counted on Election Day."

Trump will have to win all three states in order to have a path to the White House, but Biden is winning in two of those states, Sellers said.

As the U.S. Senate goes, Democrats are going to lose Alabama, so they need to win four seats to take back the Senate. When they lose one and win four, it makes a 50/50 split, which would give a Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris the deciding vote as presiding offers in the Senate.

Sellers said Democrats should take Senate seats from the GOP in Colorado, Maine and Arizona. Iowa and North Carolina have close races that if Democrats win, they would hold an outright majority.

Seller said, “If they pull off Kansas, Alaska or South Carolina, which I don’t necessarily know, those are a little bit further away in terms of reach, then the margin can get hefty.”

“It’s a lot to watch, a lot to pay attention to and I’m blessed to be on CNN because I get front-row seating and get to tell the world about it,” Sellers said.

On other issues, Sellers said the Supreme Court is "always a red meat issue for the Republican base.” Selecting a new justice just before the election is an illegitimate process, he said.

He compared the urgency to fill a Supreme Court seat with failure to approve another round of coronavirus stimulus checks. "Priorities aren't there," he said.

“At the end of the day this goes back to Trump and the coronavirus,” Sellers said.

Sellers said the Republican Party has tried to pit social justice vs. law and order, but that is only “red meat for the base.”

“If you want people to stop protesting, then you know, stop killing us,” Sellers cited as as a simple answer to ending protests across the country.

 “The socialism play from the Republican Party is nothing more than a red herring. I mean it’s Joe Biden as the nominee. You don’t have some flaming liberal as the nominee, you have the most moderate of moderate Democrats you can find,” Sellers said.

 "At the end of the day, this goes back to Donald Trump and the coronavirus but because this is Donald Trump’s party and this is Donald Trump’s America, the best way to run for re-election is to actually have a record of doing things and I think when people evaluate his record there are a lot of gaps and a lot left to be desired, so this is going to be a referendum on him more so than anything else,” Sellers said.

Sellers said age should not disqualify Biden -- nor Trump -- as candidates. Biden would be the oldest president ever to take office at age 78 and Trump is in his mid-70s.

As the oldest president ever, Biden is unlikely to seek re-election but the criticism of him as mentally or physically unfit to be president is not accurate.

"Joe Biden seems to be all right with me," Sellers said. "I find Joe Biden to be as fit as anyone."

Trump is the one who has been sick, and he has age issues as well, Sellers said.

Being vice president would give Harris a good shot at becoming president after Biden, Sellers said.

Sellers, who supported Harris for president during the Democratic primary process, said she is no flaming liberal. "She is very pragmatic, very practical."

"I think she will be quite successful," Sellers said. "She is brilliant."

Republicans are looking to life after Trump, Sellers said. Some Republicans trying to run away from him.

"Donald Trump is a cancer to the Republican Party," Sellers said. The GOP is going to have to deal with the Trump legacy.

Sellers, 36 is the youngest person ever elected to the S.C. House of Representatives, winning the Bamberg County-centered District 90 seat at age 21 in 2006. He held the seat until 2014 when he became the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, losing in the general election to Republican Henry McMaster.
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