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Analysis: This year could see the most joyless election campaign in generations - L.A. Focus Newspaper

Joe Biden's official rollout on Wednesday of his vice presidential pick, Kamala Harris, could hardly have gone more smoothly: The presumptive Democratic nominee showed unusual energy as the pair debuted their ticket in his hometown in Delaware. The US senator from California delivered a moving speech that also hammered Trump's botched handling of the pandemic -- and her accomplished performance instantly made clear that Trump will struggle to make stick his racially suggestive claims she is "mad" and mean. 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' The US Department of Energy on Wednesday released a proposal to roll back water efficiency standards for showerheads -- just days after Trump had complained about troubles washing his "beautiful hair properly." The President, who frequently frets over water flow in bathrooms, revisited his pet peeve last Thursday at a Whirlpool manufacturing plant in Clyde, Ohio. "You go into a new home, you turn on the faucet; no water comes out," Trump complained. "You turn on the shower -- if you're like me, you can't wash your beautiful hair properly. You waste 20 minutes longer. 'Please come out.' The water -- it drips, right?" 'No place in Congress for these conspiracies' The anarchic fringe is going mainstream. QAnon, the baseless conspiracy cult fast gaining ground in Republican politics, is almost certain to land a new advocate in Congress, after Marjorie Taylor Greene won a primary for a safe GOP seat in Georgia. Devotees of the conspiracy theory believe that dozens of politicians and celebrities are in league with governments aro

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