“Make America Great Again.” That was the slogan that became the brand associated with Donald Trump in his campaign for the Presidency in 2016. But once he was in charge, America became worse, much worse. Now, in his words, he wants to “Keep America Great.” He doesn’t say great for whom, of course, but certainly not for most Americans. I don’t think we, as a country, can afford four more years of such greatness. But if he’s re-elected, the country as we know it will go from worse to an authoritarian regime with no respect for the Constitution and the values it represents. It can happen here and we must not let it.
A President Not For All the People
Years ago, I asked a friend who had supported John McCain how he felt after Barack Obama was elected President. “He’s my President now,” he said, adding, “I want him to succeed.” Unfortunately, Donald Trump never understood that fundamental fact, the essence of the Presidency, that he represented all the people. Nor did he recognize that the President’s number one responsibility is to protect all Americans. While he appeared to make decisions that would exclusively benefit his base, the only person Trump was actually protecting was Donald Trump, and specifically his opportunity to stay in power. That narrow focus, fueled by his self-regard and greediness made the dangers Americans faced that much worse.
Our national security is the umbrella for protection against those dangers. Today the greatest risk to life itself is the Covid-19 pandemic, and the President’s failure to take actions recommended by his own health professionals has made the situation much worse than it should have been. The result: more cases of Covid-19 and more Americans dead than in any other developed country. It’s horrifying to learn that despite representing only 4% of the world’s population, the United States accounts for 25% of Covid-19 deaths.
But beyond the number of Americans who have lost their lives, the President’s inaction, inconsistent message on how to contain the virus and activities that actually promoted the virus’ spread have made unemployment and economic decline worse than they could have been otherwise . So instead of containing the virus and allowing a quicker and far greater return to economic normalcy, we are now facing further disruption.
In the past ten days there has been much publicity of Bob Woodward’s new book, Rage. In it, he relates information gleaned from nineteen interviews with the President, all of which he recorded. One of the most stunning revelations was Trump’s statement that he knew in January just how deadly Covid-19 was. Yet in subsequent public statements, he downplayed the virus, called it a hoax and despite knowing it was airborne ridiculed the one act that could protect Americans, wearing a mask. He went even further, holding rallies with crowds of people knowing that is how the virus spread.
To this day, his response to the virus is unchanged, answering a recent question by saying he wouldn’t have done anything differently. In an interview with George Stephanopoulos, he suggested “herd immunity” was the answer (although he called it herd mentality). Herd immunity comes about when a large segment of the population becomes immune to a disease by a vaccine or a previous infection. However, absent a vaccine, this would produce significantly worse results in both the number of Covid-19 cases and the number of related deaths. In fact it is estimated that this would result in the loss of well over a million more lives in the United States. Some estimates are over three million deaths. But Donald Trump doesn’t like to be confused with facts.
Sweden attempted to contain Covid-19 with herd immunity and experienced worse results than its Scandinavian neighbors in COVID deaths per million people:
- Sweden 567
- Denmark 106
- Finland 59
- Norway 47
Its economy is expected to shrink about 5% this year consistent with that of its Scandinavian neighbors. However, its unemployment rate remains the highest at 9%, up from 7.1% in March.
So by proclaiming the virus will miraculously disappear, Trump is now openly admitting his strategy is to allow the Covid-19 pandemic to run rampant, regardless of the number of Americans that will die. Apparently he believes this is the best strategy to keep the stock market at a high enough level to assure his reelection. It also highlights with an exclamation point the despicable character of this individual who cares nothing for the life of fellow Americans, including his own cult of supporters.
Against the backdrop of Trump’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, we find not only America’s health worse than when he took office, but the same worse levels of unemployment and the overall economy as well. But let’s not stop there.
When pressed on the subject of fires raging on the West Coast in California, Oregon and Washington, Trump affixes blame on poor forest management. After all, if you don’t rake the leaves and pine cones and don’t remove the dead trees that later explode, fires are the natural result. The fires will stop when the weather gets cooler, he said. No, it has nothing to do with scientists’ attributing the frequency and intensity of these fires to climate change. Nor do the greater frequency and intensity of hurricanes or rising sea levels from melting glaciers. Trump, self-proclaimed stable genius, proclaimed that scientists do not actually know. He knows more than the scientists.
So, after almost four years of complete denial of the existence of climate change and the revocation of regulations designed to protect the environment, mother earth is in far worse condition than it was when Trump assumed office.
We can continue into other aspects of American life where Trump has made conditions worse. Who could contest Trump’s injection of racism against so many different countries and cultures? There were Mexican rapists and murderers, Muslim terrorists, Hispanics, too stupid to vote for him, Black thugs, and immigrants from the shithole countries of Africa, Haiti and El Salvador, among others. On the other hand, there were some very fine people among those marching in the night in Charlottesville Virginia in 2017 with flaming torches circa 1930’s Nazi Berlin. His blatant racism has given life to white supremacist movements and encouraged militant vigilante reactions to peaceful protests.
However, despite Trump, a majority of Americans now accept the truth of systemic racism in America and support change to confront it. The arrogant and cruel murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers in full public view stimulated a call for action greater than Trump’s passive aggressiveness against Blacks.
Aside from Senator and Majority Leader, Moscow Mitch McConnell, no one has been more partisan than Donald Trump. He’s blamed Democrats and Barack Obama in particular for every problem the United States has experienced during his presidency. His continuing complaints are the terrible economy he was handed in 2017, extensive crime and carnage in the streets, and a lack of preparedness for the Covid-19 pandemic. Of course actual statistics would tell a different story, but facts would only confuse the issue. Better to threaten to or to actually deny assistance to states governed by Democrats. Partisanship under Trump has only worsened.
Then there is the matter of corruption. No President in our history has ever used his office and its attendant powers to enrich himself the way Trump has, while making a mockery of the Constitution. Trump’s corruption is not just worse than any other president, it is by far, the worst.
National Security and Foreign Adversaries
While Trump has systematically disregarded the Constitution and placed the health of the nation at high risk, he has also exposed the United States to adverse attacks from adversaries, notably Russia. Ignoring warnings from his intelligence agencies, he has refused to confront Russia’s interference in U.S. elections, Russian aggression against other Eastern European countries and the assassination of its own citizens.
He weakened the alliance with our NATO allies, abandoned the Kurds, who had partnered with us to defeat ISIS, and made them victims of an authoritarian Turkish leader. He allowed his narcissism to override the fundamentals of diplomacy, convinced he could manipulate the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Instead, Kim played him like everyone else has, with more missiles aimed at the United States than before. In the Middle East, he did not confront Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, responsible for the murder of an American resident and Washington Post reporter, Adnan Khashoggi. However, the signing of a normalization agreement between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain is one positive among so many negatives.
Nonetheless, our national security today is considerably worse, and friends now question whether the U.S. can be a trusted ally.
In his first campaign, Donald Trump promised he would be a “chaos president.” Well, he fulfilled that promise with flying colors. But in the process, for four years he’s been making America worse. Another four years of Donald Trump would destroy the United States as a Constitutional Republic. With William Barr at his side, the Constitution will become nothing more than an outdated book. Let’s use millions of our votes to push Donald Trump from the Presidency. We must make sure he cannot Make America Worse Again.