Impeach Trump: That's just the beginning
Don't despair. Our democracy survives. Our democracy is strong. And our democracy still works. We've seen two powerful examples of that in the last few days.
First, last week, just four hours after the mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, the House and Senate reconvened to fulfill its constitutional duty of certifying the vote of the Electoral College, thereby making Joe Biden the 46th president of the United States. An attempted coup could only delay, not prevent, Congress from doing its job.
Second, just one week later, the House met on January 13 to hold Trump accountable for the invasion of the Capitol, impeaching him on a bipartisan vote of 232-197 on the single charge of "Incitement of Insurrection." Nobody summed up his role in the attempted coup more succinctly than Congresswoman Liz Cheney, third most powerful Republican member of the House: "The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack."
Donald Trump will now go down in history, not only as the most unfit, immoral, vile, and disgusting human being ever to get anywhere near the Oval Office, but as the first president in history to have been impeached twice. And what should we call that? Not "the end of the road," by any means. Just "a good start."
In order to hold him responsible for an act of domestic terrorism and a direct attack against the United States, Trump's repeat impeachment by the House was absolutely necessary. Now two more steps must follow: his conviction by the Senate and ridding Congress of his enablers.
Donald Trump's conviction by the Senate should be a slam dunk. Senators don't have to hold weeks of hearings to uncover the evidence: they saw Trump invite the mob to Washington; they heard him unleash them on to the Capitol; and they ran for cover when his MAGA thugs stormed the building. As former New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie told ABC News, "If inciting to insurrection isn't (an impeachable offense), I don't really know what it is." It shouldn't take longer than one hour for Donald Trump to make history again, becoming the first president ever convicted by the Senate and banned from holding public office again.
But even that's not enough. Our democracy will not be secure until not only Donald Trump is held responsible for inciting sedition, but also those congressional Republicans who stood by him to the very end. They're as guilty of inviting violence as he is, especially those eight senators and 139 House Members who voted on January 6 to overturn the Electoral College returns from Arizona and Pennsylvania, even after the Trump mob had invaded and occupied the Capitol, forcing them to flee for their lives.
Consider what that vote meant. This wasn't just a disagreement on policy: I like Trump's economic plan better than Nancy Pelosi's, for example. This was a vote to perpetuate the lie that the election was stolen, and to undermine the most sacred principle of our democracy: that the people, not the incumbent president, nor the Congress, choose the next president. That vote was in itself an act of sedition. It was, in effect, an endorsement of the bloody insurrection that had just scarred the Capitol.
We know who those eight senators and 139 representatives are, and we know where they come from. Every last one of them should be expelled from Congress for sedition against the United States of America. If that doesn't happen, the business community, labor unions, and every patriotic American should unite in a massive, focused campaign to toss them out of Congress the next time they're up for re-election. This nation will never heal until we clean house and get rid of both Trump and his enablers. Join me in pledging to send a check to every one of their opponents.
Final Note: Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but, no matter who the new president was, I've always loved the rituals of Inauguration Day: the outgoing president welcoming the incoming leader to the White House for coffee; their ride up to the Capitol together; the oath of office; the Inaugural Address; the lift-off of the now former president; the Inaugural Parade; the new First Family in the viewing stands; the Inaugural Balls. It was all so festive and such a powerful reminder that this great democracy lives on stronger than ever. This year, thanks to one ugly man, we'll be deprived of all of that ceremony. Just one more reason to impeach Donald Trump.
(C)2021 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Bill Press: Prayer for 2021: Return to normalcy
At the risk of sounding like the Grinch who stole Christmas, I must admit: This is the time of year I dread the most. For two solid months, it brings out the worst in cheap commercialism: the tacky Christmas decorations that suddenly appear, right after Halloween; the corny Christmas music that blares at us from every street corner; and the countless "end of the year" lists for everything from best moments in sports, fashion, or dog shows.
All of which was made even worse this year by the dreaded coronavirus, which cast its dark shadow over every aspect of our lives: how we work, play, shop, travel, exercise, eat, drink, interact -- or not. Indeed, when you add up the public health and economic consequences of COVID-19 -- coupled with a direct assault on American democracy led by the president of the United States -- 2020 must rank as the worst, most deadly, and most regrettable year in our lifetime.
Clearly, no matter what it brings, the new year has to be better for us all. In fact, 2020 was such a disaster that we can downplay our expectations for 2021 -- and still come out ahead of the game. I don't know about you, for example, but I don't wish for historic new achievements in 2021. I'll settle for a lot less. All I want is a return to something like normalcy.
Like beauty, normalcy is in the eyes of the beholder. It may mean something different to every one of us. But here's what it means to me.
Normalcy means simply being able to invite friends over for a drink, dinner, or barbecue in the backyard without first having to quarantine for 10 days, then wear a mask, sit 6 feet apart, and don't shake hands. Above all, normalcy means being able to hang out with your family. I want to hug my kids and grandkids again. In person. Zoom's not good enough.
Normalcy means getting out of the house. To a restaurant, rock concert, opera, ballgame, lecture hall, or movie. Or just browse in a bookstore. Anyplace filled with other people. I miss getting caught up in the excitement of a crowd. We're social animals. We're meant to gather together and have fun, not hide out alone.
Normalcy means not hesitating to hop in a bus, subway car, Uber, or taxi -- and not thinking twice about jumping on a plane. We're diminished as human beings without being able to travel, see new places, and encounter new experiences. As intrepid traveler Mark Twain noted: "Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."
Normalcy means getting our kids back in school. They've probably suffered more than any of us during this COVID lockdown: sitting in front of an iPad for six to eight hours a day, unable to joke, play, or flirt with their classmates, losing an entire year of school. It's not good for kids, teachers, or parents. Kids have to get back in the classroom and parents need to get back to the office.
Of course, if we need a return to normalcy on the personal level, we need a return to normalcy on the political level, also. But, here again, we're not asking for the moon, just a return to a president we can respect, even if we disagree with him. Donald Trump has debased the presidency so badly that we forget what a normal president looks like.
Normalcy is a president who does his job, not a chief executive who sits on the sidelines or prows his nearest golf course, saying nothing and taking no action, while the nation is ravaged by a deadly pandemic, an economic crisis, and all-out cyber warfare.
Normalcy is a president who tells the truth, not a pathological liar who lies with every breath he takes. By October 22, according to the Washington Post, Trump had told 26,548 lies, or 19 a day -- and that doesn't count repeated recent whoppers like "We're turning the corner" on the virus, or "Biden stole the election." You literally cannot believe a word Trump says.
And, finally, normalcy is a president who obeys the law, follows the Constitution, and respects our democratic institutions, not one who does everything he can to undermine and destroy them.
I know it's a long list. But surely, that's not asking too much, is it? In 2021, can we please just get back to normal?
(C)2020 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
One Big Thing Democrats Can Learn From Republicans
By Bill Press
Don't tell me there's no difference between the two major parties. Republicans and Democrats not only differ on policy, they also differ on tactics. And while Republicans can certainly learn something from Democrats on issues like climate change, minimum wage, racial justice, and women's rights, Democrats can learn something from Republicans on tactics.
When Republicans sense trouble, they band together. When Democrats sense trouble, they form a circular firing squad. And that's never been so true as it is today, as President-elect Joe Biden puts together his new administration.
Even cynics must admit, Biden's doing an amazing job in fulfilling his promise of an administration that "looks like the country." As Biden noted in nominating Pete Buttigieg to be secretary of Transportation: "We'll have more people of color than any cabinet, ever. We'll have more women than any cabinet, ever." Biden could rightfully boast he'd already made "eight precedent-busting appointments." And with the nomination of Buttigieg, the first openly gay cabinet secretary, he added a ninth.
It's a star-studded line-up. Yet, ironically, most of the criticism aimed at Biden's team has come, not from Republicans, but from fellow Democrats. It's the circular firing squad in action, starting with Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon.
Nobody can question Austin's credentials to lead the Defense Department. The only hitch is, he's only been retired for four years, not the required seven for a retired general to be Defense secretary, which means he'll need a congressional waiver to take the job. Which is driving some Democratic senators crazy. Why? Democrats joined Republicans in granting a waiver to Donald Trump's Defense secretary general, Jim Mattis. Without question, they should extend the same courtesy to President-elect Joe Biden.
Austin's hardly the only Biden appointment to come under fire from Democrats. Secretary of State nominee Antony Blinken's been criticized for being an early supporter of the war in Iraq (as was Joe Biden). Agriculture Secretary nominee Tom Vilsack's portrayed as the tool of corporate agriculture. Pete Buttigieg's nomination to Transportation is opposed by the Black Lives Matter movement. The list goes on.
But, of all the inside-the-tent fighting among Democrats, none surpassed the open warfare over the next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Let's face it, the new head of the EPA has a tough job. First, to reverse all the environmental protections undone by Trump lackeys, the "never fly coach" Scott Pruitt and the "coal is beautiful" Andrew Wheeler. Second, to restore EPA in its role as the world leader in the global crusade against climate change.
It'll take somebody who'll hit the ground running. Somebody with a solid record of fighting climate change, experience running a large government agency, and proven ability to take on the big polluters. I believe the best person for the job was Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board. Dubbed the "Queen of Green," she was appointed head of the Air Resources Board four times by three different governors of two different parties: Jerry Brown, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Gavin Newsom.
For weeks, Nichols was considered the frontrunner for head of EPA, until a small band of environmental zealots claimed she hadn't done enough to improve air quality in minority communities because of her support for the so-called "cap and trade" policy, whereby a refinery or power plant can "buy" the right to pollute more, but only up to a fixed limit.
No matter how well-intentioned, those critics are dead wrong. First, California's tough regulations have improved air quality for all Californians equally: rich, poor, urban, and rural. Second, while "cap and trade" is only a temporary solution, it's already generated $7.5 billion in revenue - of which $3.5 billion, almost half, under Nichols' stewardship, has actually improved air quality in minority communities by funding low-income housing near transit, providing electric buses, and phasing out diesel machinery. Nevertheless, they succeeded in killing Nichols' nomination.
No doubt, Michael Regan, Biden's eventual pick, will do a good job at EPA. It's just too bad that party infighting cost the loss of the valuable experience and expertise that Mary Nichols would have brought to the agency.
When will Democrats stop eating their own? In the end, it comes down to loyalty. That's the one big thing Democrats can learn from Republicans. Loyalty means that when the going gets tough, you close ranks. You stick with your team. Yes, Republicans can take loyalty too far. But, like now, Democrats sometimes suffer from showing no loyalty at all.
(C)2020 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Forget The Republican Party: It's Dead
By Bill Press
No institution lasts forever. They get too old, too big, too tired. Eventually, they outlive their usefulness and forget their original purpose. When that happens, the best thing you can do for them is pull the plug.
It’s time to pull the plug on the Republican Party. Because, let’s face it, the Republican Party we once knew — a credible political force that offered Americans a real alternative in the form of smaller government, lower taxes, and tighter fiscal policy — no longer exists.
Most readers of this column grew up, as I did, when Republicans were not the enemy. They were just friends and family we sometimes disagreed with. Take it from me. I’m a lifelong, yellow-dog Democrat, but my grandfather and father were both Republican mayors of our small town in Delaware. My brother David was the Republican energy adviser to the Republican Governor Pete DuPont of Delaware. I went on to become chief of staff to California Republican State Senator Peter Behr, whose major environmental legislation, the “Wild Rivers Bill,” was signed by Republican Governor Ronald Reagan.
At the national level, Republicans Bill Ruckelshaus and Russ Peterson were two of the earliest leaders of the conservation movement. Dwight Eisenhower established the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Richard Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency. George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act.
But that Republican Party exists no more. Today’s Republican Party’s nothing but a cult. And, worse yet, a cult devoted to slavish worship of one of the most loathsome, disgusting, revolting creatures ever to walk on the world stage. There’s no Republican Party today, there’s only the Trump Party. It’s no longer (if it ever was) the party of Lincoln, it’s the party of Trump. Its slogan is no longer GOP, or “Grand Old Party,” but TUA, or “Trump Uber Alles.”
Many credit Donald Trump for taking over the Republican Party. They’re wrong. Trump didn’t take over the Republican Party. Starting with Newt Gingrich, Republicans paved the way for Trump: encouraging nonstop political warfare, rejecting bipartisan cooperation, embracing the most-extreme elements of the party — remember the “Tea Party?” — while ignoring their racist, white-supremacist roots. All they needed was for someone to come along and dare to say out loud what they secretly believed.
Enter Donald Trump: exactly what they were looking for. An outright racist. A man who didn’t really believe in governing, and would spend no time at it. An outsider whose goal was to tear things down, not get things done. A Napoleonic monster who viewed the presidency like dictatorships he loved around the world, where he, like Putin, Erdogan, or Kim Jung Un, could operate above the law.
And what did leaders of the old Republican Party do? They not only rolled over and totally surrendered to Trump, they continued to defend him as he trashed everything that they once, supposedly, believed in. They stood by Trump when he bragged about grabbing women by their genitals and paid a porn star $130,000 in hush money. They stood by Trump when he locked little children in cages and grabbed infants off the breasts of their mothers. They didn’t make a peep when Trump increased the national debt (which he had promised to eliminate) by $7 trillion.
Worse yet, in the face of the worst world public health crisis in our lifetime, Republicans stood by Trump as he downplayed the coronavirus pandemic, encouraged people to ignore advice of the CDC, staged his own superspreader events, and cavalierly ignored the deaths of almost 280,000 Americans so far.
And today they stand by Trump as he attacks the very core of our democracy: the sanctity of our right to vote and elect our own leaders. By refusing to accept the results of the election, attacking state election officials, filing frivolous lawsuits, and claiming our entire election process is rigged, Trump is attacking America. And he only gets away with it because today’s Republican leaders — Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy, and all the rest, cowards all — let him get away with it. History will not treat Donald Trump kindly, but it will be even more critical of his spineless enablers.
The Republican Party we once knew is dead, and it’s not coming back. Better to replace it with a new party that believes in America. Until then, I stand with H. L. Mencken: “In this world of sin and sorrow, there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican.
”Get the orange jumpsuit ready: Extra-large!
By Bill Press
Everybody knows it's crazy. But nobody can figure out why he's doing it. Even Donald Trump knows Joe Biden won. But nobody can figure out why Trump, more than two weeks after the election, still insists he won, refuses to concede, and is doing everything he can to overturn the election results.
Speculation abounds. His ego can't accept defeat. He thinks Rudy Giuliani can actually pull this off. He's trying to rev up his base for the January 5 Senate run-off in Georgia. Or he's laying the groundwork to run for president in 2024.
Interesting theories, but they're all wrong. There's only one reason Donald Trump's so desperate to stay in the White House: because he knows it's the only way he can stay out of prison. Once Joe Biden takes the oath of office on Jan. 20, 2021, Trump's open to prosecution for all the crimes he's committed, both before and after becoming president. And it's a long list.
Roll the tape. In a telephone call, Trump tried to bribe Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky into opening an investigation into his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. The fact that Trump's Republican friends in the Senate chose not to convict him doesn't change anything. It's still a federal crime.
Read the report. The Mueller Report details multiple occasions in which Trump tried to obstruct justice by undermining an ongoing Justice Department investigation. The fact that Trump's bootlicker attorney general chose not to indict him doesn't change a thing. It's still a federal crime for which he can and should still be held responsible.
Check the record. Every day, Trump's profiteering from the presidency at his golf courses, office buildings, condos and hotels. By accepting money from foreign governments, he's in direct violation of the Emoluments Clause. Trump's lease on his Washington hotel is illegal under rules of the General Services Administration. Again, the fact that Attorney General Barr chose not to prosecute doesn't change anything. They're still against the law.
And, speaking of federal crimes, what about standing on the sidelines and doing nothing while 11 million Americans are infected with COVID-19 and 250,000 have died from it? Indeed, he's making matters worse by deliberately downplaying the disease, telling people not to wear a mask, and holding his own super-spreader events. Trump lied, and thousands of people died. If that's not a crime, I don't know what is.
Some argue that Trump will never face federal charges because he could resign the presidency and be pardoned by Mike Pence. That's true. Like Gerald Ford did for Richard Nixon, Pence could give a blanket pardon to Donald Trump - but for federal crimes only. That would not absolve Trump from prosecution for criminal activity at the state level.
Starting with sexual harassment. Since the '70s, 26 women have accused Donald Trump of "unwanted sexual contact." Two lawsuits by women against Donald Trump are actively making their way in New York state courts: one by E. Jean Carroll, who accuses Trump of raping her in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman; a second by former "Apprentice" contestant Summer Zervos, suing Trump for defamation for accusing her of lying about his sexual abuse.
Even more serious is the investigation underway by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance into Trump's financial dealings, including illegal campaign payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and tax and bank fraud, as revealed by Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen, where Trump inflated his net worth in seeking loans from banks, yet deflated it when paying taxes. Most ominously, courts recently gave Vance access to Trump's tax returns.
Both at the federal and state level, in other words, Trump's in deep criminal doo-doo. He's headed for the slammer. The only real question is whether President-elect Biden will allow his Justice Department to go there. It's eerily reminiscent of 2009, when Barack Obama decided not to pursue George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for war crimes - because, he said, it was important to move forward and not focus on the past.
And what happened? Donald Trump concluded you could do whatever you wanted as president, no matter how illegal, and still get away with it. We can't make that mistake again. As Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) noted this week, failure to prosecute Trump would "embolden criminality by our national leaders."
Trump doesn't deserve to walk out of the White House a free man. He deserves to be behind bars. And not just him, the whole Trump gang: Donald Jr., Eric, Ivanka, Jared, and Rudy Giuliani.
(C)2020 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Are you running out of outrage?
By Bill Press
Attention Deficit Disorder. If you don't have it, consider yourself lucky. According to the American Psychiatric Association, one out of 25 Americans, and one out of 10 children, have some level of A.D.D., loosely described as the inability to remain focused for a reasonable amount of time on any given task, activity, subject, or conversation.
I've got it. My secretary used to warn visitors before entering my office: Don't waste any time. Get right to the point. You have five minutes max to make your case before his eyes glaze over and he's no longer paying any attention.
As common as it is, in this age of Donald Trump, I fear A.D.D. has been replaced by a more disturbing malady: O.D.D., or Outrage Deficit Disorder. You know what I mean. You probably have it, too. You get so outraged by one thing Donald Trump says or does, that it's hard to stir up enough outrage for his next monumental stupidity and, a couple of days later, you hardly have any outrage left at all.
Take last week. It started with a report in Atlantic Magazine that, on a visit to Paris in early 2018, Trump had refused to visit nearby Aisne-Marne American Cemetery because it's filled with nothing but the bodies of Americans killed in combat, or, as Trump allegedly called them, "losers" and "suckers." Which filled us all with outrage.
Then, two days later, we learned the unbelievable news from Bob Woodward, confirmed by Trump himself on tape, that, starting in January, Trump knew all along how serious the coronavirus was, but deliberately kept that information from the American people. "I wanted to always play it down," he told Woodward on March 19, "I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic." In other words, he knew the coronavirus was deadly, but decided not to tell us. Instead he insisted the virus would soon disappear. He refused to wear a mask. He did not practice social distancing. He lied and almost 200,000 Americans (so far) have died.
Could there be anything more outrageous than that? YES! Donald Trump's trip to California this week, ostensibly to get a briefing on wildfires that continue to ravage the state.
First, let's put that visit in perspective. For weeks, wildfires had roared through the West, not only in California, but also in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. America had never seen wildfires like this. At one time, over 200 fires were burning in 13 states. Over 5 million acres have been consumed by fire, dozens lost their lives, thousands of homes were destroyed, hundreds of thousands were forced to leave their homes. And fire officials in every state, red and blue, agreed that this year's never-before-experienced wildfires were the direct result of climate change.
Yet during all that time, Donald Trump said nothing about the wildfires. Not one word. Then, this week, he scheduled a hurried visit to California. Why? To offer federal assistance? To express sympathy for victims of the fires? To regret the loss of lives and property? No way. Trump went to California for one purpose only: to blame governors for the fires because of poor forest management (even though the vast majority of fires occurred on federal, not state lands) and to deny, yet again, the reality of climate change, which spurred this telling exchange with California Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot.
After state officials briefed Trump on the record number of acres and homes destroyed, Trump tried to reassure them: "It'll start getting cooler, you watch." Crowfoot shot back: "I wish science agreed with you." To which Trump sneered: "I don't think science knows, actually." As if the Fifth Avenue penthouse billionaire with his golden bathroom fixtures knows anything about science.
At which point, if you have any left, bring on the OUTRAGE. Having ignored science to deny the deadly reality of the coronavirus, Trump is now, once again, ignoring science to deny the reality of climate change. Which, I believe, is even worse. Because, despite Trump's lack of leadership, and thanks to our great health professionals, we'll someday have a vaccine and put coronavirus behind us. But climate change is not going away. It's here in the record number of deadly wildfires, tornadoes, and hurricanes. It's here in rising sea levels. It's here in record temperatures. It may, in fact, already be too late to reverse its destructive impact.
Only by following science can we save American lives and save the planet. But Donald Trump doesn't care about either. Feeling the outrage?
(C) 2020 TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.
White voters: It's up to you!
By Bill Press
Labor Day's behind us. With fewer than 55 days until November 3, the presidential election is in full swing, and the differences between the two parties could not be clearer.
For Joe Biden, the issue is: Donald Trump has sunk this country into a four-fold catastrophe: the worst public health crisis in our lifetime, a pandemic that's killed almost 200,000 Americans; the resulting economic crisis, leaving 20 million Americans out of a job; systemic racism, especially in our police departments and system of justice; and climate change, as evidenced by the growing number of disastrous tornadoes, hurricanes, and wildfires.
Message: Only a solid, experienced, competent leader like Joe Biden can get us out of this mess and back on track.
For Donald Trump, the issue is: The white race is in trouble. By 2042, ethnic and racial minorities will compromise a majority of Americans. Whites will no longer be the dominant force or largest voting bloc.
Message: Only an outright racist like Donald Trump can protect and preserve your white power or, to borrow a phrase, "Make America White Again."
Let's be honest. For Donald Trump, that's what Election 2020's all about: white supremacy. He doesn't even use dog whistles anymore. He's running the most openly racist campaign since George Wallace in 1968.
For five years, Trump led the birther movement, denying the legitimacy of our first African-American president. As candidate for president, according to former counsel Michael Cohen, he made a video with a "Faux-Obama," whom he ridiculed and then "fired." He launched his campaign by calling Mexican immigrants "criminals and rapists." As president, he praised white supremacists, chanting racist and anti-Semitic hate-speech in Charlottesville.
Now running for re-election, Trump calls peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters "thugs." He told Bob Woodward he felt no need to understand the anger and pain felt by Black Americans. He went to Kenosha, Wisconsin, without even mentioning the name of Jacob Blake, the unarmed African American shot seven times in the back by police officers, while praising a white vigilante who shot and killed two peaceful protesters. He compared police officers who kill unarmed black men to golfers who "choke" and miss a putt. He claims Joe Biden would "destroy" suburbs by forcing them to build "low-income housing," meaning: "Watch Out! Blacks will soon be moving in next-door."
And this week Trump ordered federal agencies to stop racial sensitivity training. Because, according to Russell Vought, director of the Office of Management and Budget, such programs are nothing but "divisive, anti-American propaganda." Only in the world of Donald Trump (or George Wallace) would teaching federal employees that the words of the Constitution actually mean what they say be considered "anti-American."
Under the banner of "LAW & ORDER," Trump is trying to scare white Americans into voting for him in order to prevent black and brown people from taking over their jobs, homes, cities, suburbs, and power. As Finian O'Toole writes in the latest New York Review of Books, "Trumpism is a Ghost Dance for white, male America, an act of faith that the invaders can be banished and the old order restored."
Trump used the same, racist, scare tactics in 2016. The only question is: will white voters fall for it again? Duke University professor Ashley E. Jardina warns they might. After all, she writes, "These are people who feel that the rug is being pulled out from under them - that the benefits they have enjoyed because of their race, their group's advantages, and their status atop the racial hierarchy are all in jeopardy."
And remember, as much as we celebrated election of the first African-American president in 2008, the majority of white voters did not vote for him. Only 43 percent of whites voted for Obama in 2008; 39 percent in 2012. In Mississippi, only one in 10 white voters pulled the lever for Obama in 2008. In 2016, only 37 percent of white voters supported Hillary Clinton; 58 percent went for Trump. Even 53 percent of white women voted for Trump. (94 percent of black women voted for Clinton).
Because of the Black Lives Matter movement, this election, for white voters especially, is a pivotal moment. It's about a lot more than Biden or Trump. It's about whether this country leaps forward or lurches backward. Whether we follow Martin Luther King Jr. or Jim Crow. Whether we embrace the premise that "all men (and women) are created equal" or continue to mouth the words, while living the opposite. Whether the America we love finally lives up to its promise. Whether we fall for Trump's racist appeals, or reject them. White voters, it's up to you.
(C) 2020 TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.
Message to Democrats: don't fret, fight!
Full confession. I'm a proud Democrat. I'm a lifelong Democrat. But, I must admit, sometimes my fellow Democrats drive me crazy. They always fear the worst. They're such worry-warts. They're such bed-wetters. Like now.
No exaggeration. I must get half a dozen emails, texts, or phone calls every day from Democratic friends (you know who you are!), wringing their hands with some version of the same lament: "Oh, I'm so worried. Biden's still in the basement. Trump's on the road. People are so focused on the riots they've forgotten all about COVID-19. The polls are tightening. Trump might actually win this thing. I'm so worried."
To which I say: Yes, you should be worried. Why? Two reasons. One, because so much is at stake. Let's be honest. Donald Trump is the most unstable, unqualified, conspiratorial, mean, cruel, narcissistic, dangerous, and downright evil man ever to get even close to the Oval Office. No doubt, he is mentally ill. With zero evidence, he warns about a plane heading to Washington "almost completely loaded with thugs, wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms." He accuses Joe Biden of being controlled by "people that are in dark shadows." He compares police officers killing unarmed African Americans to a golfer missing a three-foot putt. He defends a vigilante who shot and killed two peaceful protesters. There's no limit to how low he can go.
Were Donald Trump to win another four years, everything we believe in, all the progress we've made as a people, including our democratic institutions, the presidency, and our democracy itself would be lost.
Second reason to be worried. Because this is no cakewalk. Welcome to Campaign 2020. Of course, the polls are tightening. This was always going to be a close race. This is a campaign, not a coronation of either Biden or Trump. Did you really expect the other side to roll over and play dead? Donald Trump's no idiot. He's a smart political operative, or he wouldn't be where he is. Not only that, he's surrounded by a devoted, slavish team of amoral, cutthroat political operatives. And together, they'll do everything they can - cheat, lie, steal - to win this election. Even promote a phony vaccine before Election Day, you watch.
This is, no doubt, the most important election of our lifetime. So, what's the answer? The answer's to do what they do. The answer's not to get worried. The answer's to get mad - and then to get out and work like you've never worked before to make sure Joe Biden wins. And Democrats take back the Senate, just for good measure.
I'm asked all the time: Is there anything the average citizen can do to help dump Trump? YES! First, make sure you're registered to vote. I know, this is so basic - but you'd be surprised how many people are not registered. Next, reach out to make sure everybody you know - family members, co-workers - is also registered.
Then, if you don't automatically receive one, request an absentee ballot and, once you receive it, fill it out and mail it in or drop it off immediately. That's important, to avoid any possible postal delays and offset any likely "October Surprise." Again, make sure all your friends do the same. Check out the website iwillvote.com for information on how to vote in your state.
Second, send money. Very few of us can afford the maximum $721,300 contribution. But everybody can afford five dollars. Send five bucks this month, and another five, 10, or 25 next month. The Biden campaign raised a record, eye-popping $364.5 million in August, of which $205 million came from small, online contributions. Get on board. Connect directly with Biden campaign by texting 303-30, or go to actblue.org.
Third, volunteer as much time as you can. There's still nothing more effective than neighbor-to-neighbor grassroots politics. Walk door-to-door. Put up a yard sign. Write letters to the editor. Join a local protest. Or, the perfect COVID way of campaigning: write postcards to key voters in battleground states. Sign up at postcardstovoters.org.
Bottom line: We can win this election. We can get rid of Donald Trump. But we won't win unless every one of us does everything we can to make it happen. This election is too important for anybody to sit on the sidelines.
So, don't just worry. Get off your butt and get to work. Don't fret, fight! To my fellow Democrats: Please, I don't want to know how worried you are. I want to know what you're doing about it.
Postscript to RNC: need to tell the truth
By Bill Press
Donald Trump’s not wrong about everything. He’s telling the truth when he says he’s created a lot of new jobs. In fact, he can take credit for vastly expanding one particular industry: fact-checkers. Newsrooms have hired hundreds of them.
Fact-checkers have been in great demand since the beginning of the Trump presidency, but never more so than during the Republican convention, starting on Day One — when Trump delivered a rambling, incoherent, 50-minute rant to delegates about the dangers of voting by mail, Democrats’ attempts to steal the election, and Joe Biden’s radical socialism.
What could networks do? Reluctant to be mere purveyors of propaganda, they did their job. They told the truth. CNN cut away from Trump’s speech, with anchor John King telling viewers: “A lot of what you just heard from the President of the United States is wrong, misleading and outright lies.” On MSNBC, Chuck Todd noted that Trump’s speech was “filled with so many made-up problems about mail-in voting that if we were to air just the truthful parts, we probably could only air maybe a sentence, if that much.”
Of course, that didn’t stop Trump or his loyal acolytes. They kept repeating the same lies over and over again — so often that we may start believing them. Don’t! As your own fact-checker, I offer you the truth to counter the most oft-repeated lies you heard during the Republican National Convention.
Tax cuts. Eric Trump: “My father, on the other hand, delivered the largest tax cuts in American history.” FALSE! At least six other tax cuts were bigger than Trump’s $1.5 trillion tax cut of December 2017, including Ronald Reagan’s (1981) and Barack Obama’s (2012).
Police reform. Steve Scalise: “Joe Biden has embraced the left’s insane mission to defund the police.” FALSE! Biden has repeatedly said he does not support defunding of police. Not only that, but he’s proposed $300 million in increased funding for community-based policing.
Fracking. Nikki Haley: “They want to ban fracking.” FALSE! Biden’s climate change plan would ban new fracking on public lands only. It allows continued fracking on existing public and private land leases and new fracking on private lands.
Pre-existing conditions. Kayleigh McEnany: “This president stands by Americans with pre-existing conditions.” FALSE! The Trump administration is actually in court trying to overturn the entire Affordable Care Act, including protection for people with pre-existing conditions.
Drug prices. On Day One, Trump again bragged that he’d reduce the cost of prescription drugs as much as “60, 70 percent.” FALSE! Yes, on July 24 Trump signed four executive orders on drug prices, but there’s been no follow-up. The text of one, the “favored nation” order, hasn’t even been released yet. Kaiser Health Plan says it’s unlikely the orders will result in any drug-pricing discounts for most Americans.
Economy. You hear this all the time. Larry Kudlow and many other RNC speakers claim Trump built “the most successful economy in the history of our country.” FALSE! Nearly 6.6 million jobs were created in Trump’s first three years; nearly 7 million were created in Obama’s last three years, according to Owen Ullmann of The International Economy magazine. Wages grew 3.3 percent in Obama’s last three years, 3.2 percent in Trump’s first three. The S&P 500 has climbed 51 percent under Trump; in Obama’s second term, 52 percent.
Vote-by-mail. According to Trump, vote-by-mail leads to massive voter fraud. FALSE! In use since the Civil War, vote-by-mail is highly successful and increases voter turnout, with almost ZERO evidence of voter fraud. Remember: Trump formed a commission to uncover voter fraud, which disbanded when they found nothing.
Coronavirus. The biggest lie of all. Mike Pence asserted that the pandemic is now behind us, thanks to Trump’s bold leadership. FALSE! And FALSE! Some 181,000 Americans, more than in any other country, have died of COVID-19. And, far from leaping into the fight against the coronavirus, Trump at first dismissed it as a hoax, claimed it would soon disappear, refused to wear a mask or self-distance, promoted bogus drug cures, condemned governors for taking preventive measures, insisted on reopening businesses and schools before it was safe to do so, then ignored advice of health professionals by holding maskless, no-social-distancing rallies during the convention.
The Niagara of lies from the Trump campaign presents a challenge to the media: How to cover political attacks that are so manifestly untrue? The answer is to do just what they did this week: First, provide the airtime as a public service, then expose the lies as a professional obligation. If they fail to tell the truth, they’re not doing their job.