In The End

In The End, It’s A Referendum
on Trump. Vote Accordingly

By

Leonard Zwelling

         Any time an incumbent president seeks a second term, the
main issue of that campaign is the quality of the job the incumbent has done.
This is as it should be. It gives the people their chance to weigh in on
whether or not the current occupant of the Oval Office should get another four
years.

         The current arguments that I have heard supporting Mr. Trump
getting that second term are that he promoted a great economy until the coronavirus
took it down, has furthered the cause of Israel, has deregulated many
industries in the U.S. leading to the economic growth, and has been tough on
China. Of course, there are also his picks for the Supreme Court and his
appointments of lesser conservative justices. The latter has endeared Mr. Trump
to the Evangelical Christians and the traditional social right-wingers who are
anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage and thought there were good people on both
sides in Charlottesville.

         Let’s compare and contrast.

         On the economy, there can be no argument that Mr. Trump’s
presidency furthered the stock market and the economic status of those in the
top 10% and really did so in a big way for those in the top 1%. Though, as
Chuck Todd pointed out on Meet the Press
on Sunday August 23, much of the economic improvement started during Obama’s
second term and continued with Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump did not originate the
growth, but he did enhance it during his time in office up to the coming of the
virus.

I
am less clear on the benefits derived by the middle class and poor under Mr.
Trump and amused by the fact that male whites in that middle class continue to
back him despite the fact that their buying power has decreased with the
greater and greater size of the national debt under all past presidents since
Clinton including Mr. Trump. If you think the stock market is the economy, then
Trump was great for it. If you think that unemployment being low is a good
thing, then Trump ought to get credit. But the true financial health of the
United States was not better under Mr. Trump if you were in the bottom 90%. His
rising tide did not lift all boats any more than Mr. Obama’s did.

         Mr. Trump’s support for Israel has been a combination of
pandering to the Jewish and Evangelical votes and a complete lack of
understanding of the history of that part of the world. Clue: it didn’t start
in 1967 and Bibi Netanyahu is not Israel’s George Washington. While the
short-term benefits of the Trump positions on Jerusalem and the Golan Heights
must have pleased Mr. Netanyahu, it is the bilateral agreement with the UAE and
Israel that really is a breakthrough for Trump. He gets credit there, but much
of what the UAE agreement put on paper was already taking place.

         Deregulation always cuts both ways. Sure business is happier
as deregulation decreases the cost of doing business. But that does not help
the environment and both business and the ecology need to learn to co-exist.
This is a non-issue to Mr. Trump. He’s pro-business (no surprise) and could
care less about the need for environmental rules that would save the planet. Trump
doesn’t believe in climate change. Heck, he pulled out of the Paris Accords, a
truly stupid move.

         I do like Mr. Trump’s tough stance on China. It’s about time
the United States called the Chinese Communist Party what it is, the strong arm
of a totalitarian state. They lie, they cheat, they steal. Finally, an American
president takes the right stand. Again, he gets credit from me even as he
pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement that would have hemmed the
Chinese in a bit more.

         The judges are what comes with the territory of the winner.
Had Hillary won, those judges would be liberals. But she didn’t.

         So that’s how I see it. Trump has done some reasonable
things, but he lies, he cheats and for all we know he steals, but we have never
seen his tax returns. He’s not empathetic, an important quality in a president.
He kowtows to Putin and other dictators. He has lowered the American standing
in the world and he has turned us into the laughing stock of the world with his
leadership through the coronavirus crisis.

         Just so my conservative friends get it, it’s not like
everything Trump did was bad. But more of it was than it wasn’t. Too many of
his colleagues wound up in jail or should be there. He probably paid hush money
to porn stars for their silence. He’s a terrible example for our children and
he’s a racist on top of all of it.

         This election is a referendum on Trump. Any fair assessment
of his presidency and the divisiveness he has sown in the country has to
conclude that he should not be re-elected.

         You think it’s more complicated than that? It’s not. Has he
been all bad? No. Could we do better? Easily. Is Biden better? Stay tuned. Too
soon to say.

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