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Voter Support, Sound Policy Trump Muddy Waters Strategy

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President Donald John Trump expresses his distain for the D.C. swamp. It needs to be drained, he tells us, to protect upstanding Americans from rampant corruption.
The real estate developer and accidental president also claims he is aiming his ire at corruption in Ukraine. Almost a half-billion dollars in military aid -- approved by a bipartisan vote in Congress -- was held up because Trump asserts he wants to protect taxpayers. Trump says he knew nothing about a plot to exchange arms for fabricated dirt on Joe Biden, a potential Democratic opponent in the 2020 election. His July 25 phone call to the Ukrainian president was beautiful and perfect.
This slight-of-hand argument is tossed to the public as the AP reveals former Energy Secretary Rick Perry arranged a sweatheart energy deal in Ukraine for two campaign supporters. "Perry's efforts to influence Ukraine's energy policy came earlier this year, just as President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's new government was seeking military aid from the United States to defend against Russian aggression and allies of President Donald Trump were ramping up efforts to get the Ukrainians to investigate his Democratic rival Joe Biden," the AP says.
I haven't heard reporters ask Trump for comment on the swampy deal his former political appointee pulled off in Ukraine. But it's almost certain our president will blame the "fake news media" and "sick" reporters for distorting reality. I happen to side with the hardworking journalists who seek truth. However, I know many of my fellow Americans have been conditioned for decades to believe the "mainstream media" don't tell the truth.
More recently, Trump says knowingly that his supporters would back him if he shot someone on Fifth Avenue. A CNN panel discussion provides some context to show Trump knows his voters well. click here
The Hill reports, "Some members of a CNN panel of female voters from Pennsylvania on Wednesday would not rule out voting for President Trump, even if he shot someone.
"During a Q&A on "New Day," moderator Alisyn Camerota broached Trump's 2016 claim that his supporters would still vote for him if he shot someone in the middle of 5th Avenue in New York City.
"You'd have to know why he shot him," one panelist said.
"Yeah, why did he shoot him?" another panelist asked.
I wonder how many convicted felons would have loved to have those citizens on their jury.
Campaign operatives are drawing distinctions and casting spells in other ways. An ad run the night of the last World Series game continues part of the re-election theme, which is that a bridge over muddy waters will lead Trump back to the White House next year.
"He's no Mr. Nice Guy, but sometimes it takes a Donald Trump to change Washington," the ad declared to viewers during the Washington Nationals' title-clinching win over the Houston Astros," reports The Washington Post on Oct. 31.
The paper even quotes someone who helped a different politician become president and win a second term. "David Plouffe, the former campaign manager and senior White House adviser to President Barack Obama, called the ad 'quite strong.'"
"National TV ads in October of off year unprecedented," he wrote in a tweet.
Larry Sabato, a nationally-recognized expert on elections, points to another way muddy waters may decide who wins the 2020 presidential election.
"A good comparison is to look at the 2000 election, when George W. Bush narrowly defeated Al Gore, compared to the 2016 election," writes Sabato, a political science professor at the University of Virginia. "Both were very close: Clinton won the popular vote by 2.1 points in 2016 but lost the electoral vote count, and Gore won nationally by 0.5 points in 2000 but lost in an Electoral College squeaker because he lost Florida by less than 600 votes. Another similarity between the two years was that each had three serious third party contenders who won a total of 3.5% to 4.9% of the votes" (emphasis added). click here
There is no way to prove that Ralph Nader voters would have gone to Gore in 2000 if Nader had stayed on the sidelines. Nor can we say for certain whether Hillary Clinton would be president now if Jill Stein had not mounted a third party challenge in 2016.
But a third party run does muddy the waters in 2020, prompting one political pundit to warn the Green Party threatens Democrats next year. "Greens are steadily rising in other western democracies, and America has a well-established precedent of third-party candidates determining the outcome of presidential elections," writes J.T. Young in The Hill. "The opportunity awaits the zealous environmentalist or the ambitious independent politician to seize." click here
Depressing voter turnout and suppressing the vote are other ways politicians muddy the waters and turn a weak hand into victory at the polls. So, it came as no suprise when Robert Mueller warned Congress in summer testimony that Russia attacked our elections in 2016 and will do so again in 2020.
The bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee affirmed that Russia spread lies on social media to depress the black vote and hurt Hillary Clinton, among other nefarious actions. click here
I'm not a political operative or policy wonk. I am not sure how to deal with these problems. Still, my six decades on this planet tell me broadcasting popular policy positions won't be enough to send Trump home to Mara Lago. Passion may be just as important as policy next year.
And it is hard for some prospective Democratic voters to feel passionate if they believe the system is rigged against them in the form of voter suppression.
That's why I am heartened that the Democratic Party in Florida formed a unit to protect the rights of voters next year. The Sunshine State is the third most populous state in the nation, and is known for close and chaotic elections.
"In response to what they call the Republican Party of Florida's 'long history of voter suppression,' the Florida Democratic Party is forming a year-round 'voter protection' program as the 2020 election approaches," notes a May 20 article in Florida Phoenix.
click here
It is equally significant that Stacey Abrams has formed Fair Fight 2020. The organization gives citizens the protection they need as they seek to vote in our democracy. "The 2020 election will carry historic consequences. But foreign interference and sophisticated voter suppression threatens our ability to freely elect our leaders," the Fair Fight website says. "If we start early and work together, we will ensure that every American voter's voice is heard and that Democrats up and down the ballot win.
Trump and his minions and foreign forces will do everything they can to muddy the waters. Democrats can fight back with sound policy and pure passion to make sure every vote counts. Democrats need to give people a reason to vote for them; they also need to make sure people who want to cast a ballot have that ballot counted.

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Steve Schneider lives in Florida. He writes articles for Humor Times, Democracy Chronicles, The Satirist and OpEd News.

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