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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 11/16/21

Redefining Reality

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"Even if it was loaded, and, you know, that's a weird thing, maybe he loaded it. Who would put a gun, 'Here, Alec [Baldwin], here's your gun,' 'Oh, good,' lift it up, point it at a person, and pull the trigger, and, 'Oh, man, a bullet came out,' she's dead. So there's something wrong with him, he's a sick guy." - Donald Trump

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Last week the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that an estimated 531,000 jobs were created in October. Since Biden became president the economy has added 5,583,000 jobs. This is almost twice as many jobs as his predecessor lost. On his way to causing the loss of 2,876,000 jobs, Trump was also responsible for ending the streak of monthly job gains that started early in the Obama administration. When Trump left office the unemployment rate was 1.6 percentage points higher than when his term began. So much for being "the greatest jobs president that god ever created."

On the same day that the October jobs numbers were released, Trump sent an email to "Go," one of his "top supporters," to whine about Biden's "un-American [vaccine] mandate," claiming that "our economy is HURTING." Both claims are about as real as "Go," as the courts have repeatedly upheld the constitutionality of vaccine mandates and a variety of economic indicators reflect that the economy is rebounding from the damage inflicted on it by the Trump administration. Not only were the latest employment indicators extremely positive, but the GDP is rising. Even Trump's favorite indicator, the stock market, is at record highs.

Jobs are not the only hole that Trump left Biden to dig out of. The trade deficit increased 40.5% from 2016. Three million people lost their health insurance during the Trump presidency. His promise to "get rid" of the national debt was broken as it actually went up by $7.8 trillion. The murder rate rose to the highest level since 1997.

Throughout his presidency and beyond Trump has counteracted these failures with propaganda worthy of a socialist dictator. Like a pusher who supplies the addicts that he helped to create, he fed his loyal followers an endless flow of lies that they eagerly accepted. No matter how outlandish the fictional tale, these supporters never even question the accuracy. Creating one of the most successful cults in history, he was able to form an alternate reality for his base and the results of these efforts could be seen in the election results in Virginia.

According to a FOX "News" exit poll, 35% of the voters in the state thought that economy and jobs were the most important issues, which should have worked in the Democratic candidates' favor. Another 17% were most concerned with COVID-19, another area where the country has shown vast improvement since the departure of Trump. Education was the most important issue for 14% of the electorate. With the COVID crisis waning and public schools funded at levels they have not seen in decades this should have also helped the Democrats.

Despite showing strong performance on issues the voters said were important, 64% of those who went to the polls thought that the country was headed in the wrong direction. Of these, 73% voted for the Republican candidate for governor. The blue team clearly has a messaging problem.

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Elections are complicated and the altered reality that Trump's fans are living in is not the sole reason for the Democrats' humiliating loss. Their candidate, Terry McAuliffe, is from the corporate wing of the party with strong ties to the Clintons, which surely tamped down excitement from progressives. He was also a horrible candidate who actually said during a debate that he did not "think parents should be telling schools what they should teach." That surely alienated parents of all persuasions who already feel they lack a voice in the education system.

With the midterm elections quickly approaching, the Democrats need to figure out how they are going to improve their messaging so that the electorate understands what is at stake when they enter the voting booth. Judging from the circling firing squad they are currently engaged in, that might be too much to ask for.

Carl Petersen is a parent advocate for students with special education needs and public education. He is an elected member of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council and serves as the Education Chair. As a Green Party candidate in LAUSD's District 2 School Board race, he was endorsed by Network for Public Education (NPE) Action. Dr. Diane Ravitch has called him "a valiant fighter for public schools in Los Angeles." For links to his blogs, please visit Opinions are his own.

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Carl Petersen is a parent, an advocate for students with special education needs, an elected member of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council, a member of the LAUSD's CAC, and was a Green Party candidate in LAUSD's District 2 School Board race. During the campaign, the Network for Public Education (NPE) Action endorsed him, and Dr. Diane Ravitch called him a " (more...)

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