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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 11/2/18

What We Are Fighting For

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If you are reading this, it's very likely that you are going to vote. The purpose of this column is not to convince you to vote but rather to urge you to convince every eligible voter you know to cast their vote. This is a crucial election. Let's consider what Democrats are fighting for and why it's so important that we turn out every eligible voter we can reach.

The results of this election will determine the future of our country, the viability of our democracy. Two years of Donald Trump have demonstrated that his basic instincts are non-democratic and that congressional Republicans will not stand up to him.

Trump is a dreadful person. Nonetheless, it is theoretically possible for Trump to be a jerk and still be a champion of democracy. Sadly, this is not the case.

Donald Trump is a tyrant. His basic instincts are undemocratic -- he's focussed on what's best for him and absolutely willing to trample on the right of others in order to accomplish his objectives. For Trump, winning is everything; he believes the ends justify the means and that might makes right.

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But it's not only Trump's operational style that is undemocratic, Donald's morality is similarly warped. Trump's conduct demonstrates that he doesn't believe in the Golden Rule; nor does he spend any time seeking "win-win" solutions where everyone comes out ahead. Donald ruthlessly seeks wealth and power.

Trump lies. And lies. And lies. On October 30th, the Washington Post reported that in 649 days in office, Trump made 6420 "false or misleading claims." (https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/trump-claims-database/? ) The average number of false claims per day keeps climbing the longer Trump stays in office. Since June the number has escalated. On September 7, the president reached a new daily high of 125 false and misleading claims. In October, Trump , made more than 1000 false claims

Trump lies in order to further his ambition. He will say and do anything to win. And he will attack anyone that gets in his way.

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It goes without saying that Trump is a sexist. (He's an unrepentant sexual predator.) He's also a racist. These traits are consistent with his dominant behavior as a full-throttle bully. Trump doesn't believe in collaboration or compromise; he believes in running over people. As President, he has made no attempt to reach out to Democrats or to those who did not vote for him. Donald's entire focus has been to motivate his base. He is not President for all the people, only those he perceives as being on his side.

Therefore, it is true that this election is about Trump. But it's also true that Trump is not on the ballot. In state after state, Democrats are going after Republican incumbents because they will not stand up to Trump -- they will not defend Democracy.

After the presidential election, many of us hoped that congressional Republicans would stand up to Trump; we hoped that they would limit his most egregious actions. Our hopes were dashed. Republicans have united behind Trump -- with a few notable exceptions such as the late Senator John McCain.

A recent NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist poll asked voters about what their top issues were, heading in the 2018 midterm election. 20 percent responded "Economy, jobs;" 17 percent healthcare; 17 percent immigration; 9 percent "taxes, spending:" 7 percent climate change; and 5 percent guns. Trump and the GOP are on the wrong side of all these issues.

On August 11th, Forbes magazine (https://www.forbes.com/sites/chuckjones/2018/08/11/trumps-economic-scorecard-higher-inflation-flat-wages-and-a-ballooning-federal-deficit/#55feedfe22fa ) noted that Trump's economic legacy is "higher inflation, flat wages, and a ballooning federal deficit." Trump has managed the economy to benefit himself and his wealthy supporters.

Trump campaigned on the promise to "repeal and replace Obamacare." Republicans came within one vote of completely repealing Obamacare. (The latest Kaiser Poll (https://www.kff.org/interactive/kaiser-health-tracking-poll-the-publics-views-on-the-aca/#? ) finds that 50 percent of respondents support Obamacare and 40 percent oppose it.) Trump and Republicans continue to attack Obamacare but have offered no replacement and no protection for 0those with pre-existing medical conditions.

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Trump's signature issue is immigration. At the conclusion of his midterm campaigning, he's warning for an "Invasion" of immigrants from Central America and ordering thousands of troops to the border. Despite his strong rhetoric, Trump has had no impact on immigration. Mother Jones (https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2018/11/chart-of-the-day-ytd-border-apprehensions/) reported that under Trump "southwest Border Apprehensions" -- the proxy for border crossings -- are about the same as they've been for the last 10 years. (In 2018 the number will be around 400,000.)

Trump and his Republican cohorts passed a massive tax cut that benefits corporations and America's wealthiest one percent. As a consequence the national debt increased to more than $21 Trillion. The fiscal year deficit will be approximately $1 trillion.

Trump's attitude about climate change has softened. Originally he called it a hoax. In a recent 60 Minutes interview (https://www.theverge.com/2018/10/15/17977596/donald-trump-climate-change-hoax-60-minutes-interview ) he equivocated: "I think something's... changing and it'll change back again. I don't think it's a hoax... But I don't know that it's manmade... I don't want to give trillions and trillions of dollars. I don't want to lose millions and millions of jobs." He's not going to do anything.

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Bob Burnett is a Berkeley writer. In a previous life he was one of the executive founders of Cisco Systems.
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