Category Archives: President of the United States

Where Trump blew it

In two weeks, Americans should make clear they want Joe Biden to be the next president of the United States. Of course, polling numbers can change, and we certainly know they can be wrong, but the lead that Biden has over Donald Trump continues.

If Biden wins, he’ll have pulled off a surprise: Incumbent presidents aren’t supposed to lose when Americans believe the economy is moving in the right direction. In 2020 they’re indicating they believe it is and voters also say Trump would be better than Biden at handling economic issues.

Despite that optimism, you can find plenty of voters who say they’re doing well financially, but they’re not interested in returning Trump to the White House. The Boston Globe reported one such story this week.

So, where did it go wrong for Trump? The reasons are obvious: his awful handling of the coronavirus pandemic; numerous suggestions he’s at best prejudiced and at worst racist; neutering America’s image around the world; picking losing battles with China on tariffs, and the list can go on from there.

An argument for a second Trump term is a difficult one to make, and such a case is built around a flimsy idea that Democrats are eager to create a socialist utopia in the United States.

Serious followers of politics know Biden is no socialist. Sure, in comparison to Trump’s agenda, Biden’s policies are progressive. However, whenever one leader takes the country as far off the rails as Trump has done, his successor must immediately steer toward something resembling normal.

That should be Biden’s task beginning on the afternoon of Jan. 20, 2021.

America’s political rigidity

Blame it on the echo chamber.

Or perhaps blame it on fear.

Or perhaps blame it on anger.

Whatever the cause(s), too many Americans have wrapped themselves in their political orthodoxy. It must be a suffocating cloak.

The left will tell you that those on the right have become fascist-loving, race-baiting, Bible-thumping bigots. Turn your head to the right and you’ll find people telling you that those on the left are police-hating, socialist-dreaming, abortion-loving losers.

Perhaps the only thing the two sides will agree upon is the other side just doesn’t get it. Come to think of it, they’ll also agree that the other side is preventing America from moving forward.

Now that’s a fine way to create a healthy discourse.

To suggest that Donald Trump is responsible for this mess is folly. Sure, the president, on multiple occasions before and since his successful 2016 election, has thrown gas on the raging fire, but that fire had been burning for almost 25 years.

Two southern, Republican “gentleman” deserve far more blame than Trump for causing this fiasco. It was Newt Gingrich who used the 1994 midterm elections to establish the idea that Republicans should define Democrats simply as the enemy; their presence in Washington was a heavy weight that could sink the “Contract with America.”

Later, Mitch McConnell saw the first black president in American history simply as someone who had to be removed after just one term. McConnell welcomed the idea that the GOP was the “Party of No,” and had an obligation to place as many roadblocks as possible in front of Barack Obama.

By time Trump came along, hatred for the left and for anything resembling a progressive ideology had been baked into the right’s thinking.

Some of you reading this post have reached a conclusion at this point: Typical liberal.

Well…if I’m one of those liberals, then tell me why I also believe those Democrats who argue illegal immigrants should automatically receive multi-faceted government assistance are wrong. You thought I was going to wade into the abortion fight, didn’t you? Well, since you asked, I’ve always found it curious when the few pro-life Democrats contort their personal beliefs around the idea that abortion is a decided issue. Pick a side: pro-life or pro-choice.

Meanwhile, let’s be clear that the right is in denial when it suggests abortions will stop if Roe v Wade is overturned. Women will still terminate their pregnancies, and in ways that will increase the chances of harming themselves for years to come. We could have that conversation, but, you know, culture wars are so much fun. The right’s sanctimonious attitude about abortion is awful, but the pro-life Democrats who won’t take their personal beliefs beyond fence straddling are weak, in my opinion.

Next, if I’m such a liberal, please tell me why I think free college education is a ridiculous idea. The number one reason public college tuition is so grotesquely priced is because approaching two decades now both parties repeatedly have slashed funding earmarked for higher education. If states’ governors and legislators would do the right thing and reaffirm the importance of college, then this silly idea of making college free could go away.

I could go on, but the point has been made: political rigidity reflects poorly on the nation. I can hear the left reminding me that the right pines for an America that has long since been sent into the history books. (Gotta tell you, there’s a lot to that past that ought never again see the light of day.) And I can also hear the right telling me that the left is ready to reject any semblance of honor and pride in its lust to give something to everybody. (Gotta tell you, I agree with some of this, but let’s not go deep into the weeds.)

Yes, conservative and liberal values are good, and conservative and liberal policies have merit. Damn crazy Independent, I am.

One way to start changing the political dynamic in America: stop electing people such as Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, Richard Shelby, Nancy Pelosi, Dick Durbin, Patrick Leahy, and Chuck Schumer. Clear out those who espouse hate or represent political entitlement by returning to office again and again (and for no apparent good reason).

Let’s judge the Democrats on what they do NEXT year

The Democrats are saying and doing all the right things right now when it comes to paying attention to the left, but they’re playing with house money.

There will be no major legislative efforts regarding reining in police brutality, erasing inequality and more in the coming months. Politicians on both sides of the aisle are eager to hit the trail to support Donald Trump or Joe Biden, and a whole lot of them also are making their case for re-election.

Meanwhile, America remains distracted because of (or if you want to spin it positively you could say it’s focused on) coronavirus, protests about police actions, the intensity of the Black Lives Matter movement and that upcoming election. Not to mention a whole lot of the country appears determined to take that summer vacation, the explosion of coronavirus cases be damned!

For Democrats, the symbolism of kneeling in the Capitol, walking with protesters and addressing public or private events offers hope to left, inspires others who might fall in the center (or dare I say on the right) to join in the movement and provides a blueprint for what Democrats want to do through legislation.

If their words and actions in the summer and fall of 2020 translate to significant success at the ballot box on Nov. 3, the house money runs out. Especially from the left, there will be expectations of immediate and meaningful legislative success. (Whether those expectations align with how Congress works, well…) In addition, if Biden is sworn in in January as the next president, he’ll be spending significant time fixing the messes made by Trump at home and internationally.

Will the Democrats deliver the kind of legislation the loud and omnipresent protesters want? Will they also meet the expectations of Americans who aren’t walking the streets but who are committed to change?

Remember, Biden is not going to be an agent of change. He doesn’t inspire the electorate the way the two previous Democratic presidents did. In fact, a case could be made that his Vice President — who almost certainly will be a woman and who very likely will be African-American — might be the rock star on the campaign trail.

Biden would be an adult in the Oval Office, and he wouldn’t shame the Office of President of the United States the way the current person has. He might rely on his Vice President to rally Congressional Democrats and to engage with the public. That decision might increase the chances for success.

If you’re sensing I’m skeptical about how much major legislative action responding to the current protests we’ll see in 2021, you’re right. Democratic unity often is as stable as jello. Political action on coronavirus might be necessary (can you say stimulus?). Getting Americans back to work must be a priority.

Count me among those not yet convinced the Democrats will convert success at the ballot box to making America better.