Friday, August 09, 2019

Specific Things that are Terrible About Trump

This picture is a protestor from El Paso who didn't want Trump to visit after the mass shooting there. In fact, none of the victims in the hospital wanted to see Trump when he visited. And why would they? The person who tried to kill them posted a manifesto quoting Trump's speeches.

True to form, while visiting grieving families Trump bragged about his crowd size. It's so bad, guys. He is so bad.

Trump seems to me to lack the capacity to serve as president. His interviews and speeches make me think he has suffered some kind of cognitive decline. During the first few months of his presidency I honestly expected the 25th Amendment to be seriously considered. Of course, I'm not a doctor and the 25th must be invoked by the vice president or cabinet. This will never happen because the people closest to Trump are among his greatest enablers.

Next idea: impeachment. I'm actually in favor of it as a matter of principle. If there were ever a person who deserves to be impeached, Donald Trump is that person. I know it won't result in him being removed from office. But I say we let senators such as Mitt Romney go on the record of history for all time to say that Donald Trump is unimpeachable. See if that makes Tagg and the grandkids proud.

So we are left with only one way to solve this problem—electing a different president. I'd like to suggest some reasons why people should not vote for Trump in the upcoming 2020 presidential election.

While his supporters tend to be extremely vocal, they can't defend Trump from the kinds of things I mentioned in my last post. His behavior is indefensible. At best they claim that other people [who aren't running for president and who aren't currently the president] are also bad. It's not a counter argument that I find at all persuasive.

The only other argument I've heard in favor of Trump goes like this: We stomach his repugnance because of all the good he's doing.

Many people have told me that they decided to "hold their nose" and vote for Trump in 2016. I don't think the analogy is apt. You might "hold your nose" to vote for someone with a misspelled word on their campaign sign. However, as we gear up for 2020 the repugnance of Donald Trump is so serious and so apparent that I hope people will not hold their noses and vote for him again.

This holding-your-nose argument in favor of Trump is founded on moral compromise. I don't generally think the ends justify the means. But let's say I'm up for making a Faustian bargain. How good is the deal we're getting with Trump? Here are the tradeoffs people seem willing to make:

Tolerating racism in exchange for a good economy
Ignoring corrupt behavior in exchange for conservative judges
Sacrificing the safety of children (and others) to protect the 2nd Amendment

I heard Anthony Scaramucci say in a podcast that Trump is pulling off an economic miracle. And many MAGA folks tout the economy. Fair point.

I personally am not rich enough to benefit from his tax incentives. I actually hope you are. Great! Our 401K (which I feel lucky to have) is doing fine. And for that I'm grateful! Economic indicators like the GDP and unemployment are good. Srsly, yay!

I have to say, economic "miracle" seems like an exaggeration considering that under Trump our national debt has soared (weird, considering it's a prosperous time). But listen, I'm not the one who ran on fiscal conservatism and a promise to eliminate federal debt. I don't mind paying taxes and I embrace government spending—especially for programs I believe in like Project Read. *Would be fab if our huge deficit were actually funding adult education programs. It's not. Trump's budget proposals cut spending on adult education every year. Luckily, bipartisan congressional efforts usually save it. (But it really does just feel like luck at this point.)

Meanwhile CEOs are using their federal tax cuts to buy back more stock. Not fab.

At any rate, if I were benefitting more directly from this alleged economic miracle, I think it might feel even grosser for me to look the other way while Trump dog whistles at white supremacists. I hate to think there would be a price to my complicity with this president. I refuse to accept his racist behavior even when my 401k does great. Trump is running on white nationalism because that's where the heart of his base is. It is unconscionable. If you act like a racist, court the vote of racists, cater to racists, and say things that make racists happy, guess what? You don't get my vote no matter what.

Don't think his behavior is unconscionable? Ok. I mean, I wouldn't want to get caught on the wrong side of your car at a rally in Charlottesville, but, Ok. Agree to disagree. At least grant me this: You can't tout Trump's economic miracles while continuing to use economic grievance as your excuse for racial resentment. Those undeserving brown people you want to "send back" because they're taking your jobs? Sorry Charlie. Unemployment is down and jobs are up. You can't have it both ways.

Besides, this argument for looking the other way when the economy is good is bogus. The GDP was higher than Trump's during President Obama's second term. Did republicans make concessions to Obama for pulling off this economic miracle (during a major recession)? Did they hold their noses and confirm Merrick Garland as a Supreme Court justice because of the economy? They did not. Garland wasn't, by the way, a hold-your-nose prospect. He was well liked and even praised by Orrin Hatch until President Obama nominated him and Mitch McConnell enacted a stonewall against him.

The argument about the economy is disingenuous.

Next, having conservative judges (or at least, judges that Trump picks) on the Supreme Court seems to be another thing people are willing to sacrifice moral behavior for. I don't get this at all. If you ignore corrupt behavior you disagree with in order to get conservative judges who will punish corrupt behavior you disagree with, what have you gained?

The Supreme Court had to stop Donald Trump from adding an illegal citizenship question to the U.S. census. His goal in doing this was to undercount vulnerable populations. The Census Bureau has partnered with Project Read to teach people about the purpose of the census and to assure them that their answers won't be used against them. I personally think what Donald Trump tried to do was dastardly.

Additionally, the Mueller Report outlines crimes and instances of obstruction of justice that Donald Trump is involved with, though his position as president shields him (for the time being) from being indicted. Thirty-four people were indicted as a result of this report and the seven closest to Trump plead guilty and were criminally charged.

You know how the big guy at the top who benefits the most from scams and brags the most about being a controlling boss who knows everything and always gets his way is never involved in the shady dealings of the people who work for him? Sure, Trump is innocent until proven guilty. But let's not completely ignore his behavior while he functions as the leader of the free world because we trust him to appoint prudent judges.

Repeatedly, horrifyingly, we find ourselves in the wake of a mass shooting. While other countries have lowered the number of casualties from mass shootings, America remains at the of top the list. This is disgusting. It's also solvable. But some people, Donald Trump included, seem to believe that the deaths of innocent people—often children at school—are the price of doing business with the 2nd Amendment. I believe the 2nd Amendment is anachronistic and willfully misinterpreted by people who take a lot of money from the NRA. Such as it is, the 2nd Amendment is not weakened by gun regulation. We should 100% ban assault weapons. We've done it before and we should do it again. It helps.

Has your child ever texted you from under their desk during an active-shooter drill? If not, stop talking. If yes, and you still promote gun owners' rights over children's safety, what is wrong with you?  Every mom I know favors common sense gun control or more. What even is happening? It doesn't have to be like this. This tradeoff is unacceptable. How can people go along with it? Why don't legislators do something?

These tradeoffs are not worth it. We're getting a terrible deal.

I don't feel confident about the integrity of the upcoming election. We've been warned that Russia interfered with the 2016 election and we have no reason to think they will stop. As Republican Robert Mueller testified to Republican Will Hurd, "They're doing it as we sit here."

Donald Trump has done nothing to root this out or make our elections secure. In fact, he discouraged the director of national intelligence, Dan Coates, from investigating it. (Dan Coates, now leaving the White House, is my pick for the anonymous New York Times leaker.) A good president, worthy of re-election, would work hard to take care of this problem. He's not a good president. He's not worthy of re-election.

I don't feel proud about the way Donald Trump represents our country and I have not been inspired by anything he has ever said or done. The paltry return on this gigantic moral compromise has not been worth it. Americans are getting the short end of the stick—and why should this surprise us? Donald Trump has always bragged about shorting contractors, taking advantage of investors, ruthlessly negotiating, punching back, and playing dirty. To him, everything is a zero-sum game. His voters may have thought he would use these tactics on behalf of the United States and, I guess, occasionally he has—but only if his interests line up exactly with the interests of the country because he is ultimately and only self-serving in every instance, in every facet of his life. Prove me wrong. You can't. I wish this weren't true.

When Trump was elected he seemed so awful and unqualified to me I figured there must be a lot of good stuff I didn't know about that he's doing or promoting which made so many people excited about him. There's not.

The more I find out about him and what he's doing the more discouraged I feel. And it's actually much worse than I thought it would be when he was first elected. Truly, I have a visceral, gut-level, hatred for and distrust of Donald Trump that feels exactly like the Holy Ghost warning me against bad behavior and dangerous things, but it's not just that. There are many compelling reasons why Trump should not be re-elected.

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