The Election and Personality Versus Policy
The official Election Day is fast approaching, and many people have already voted through early voting or mail-in voting. I am one of those who sent my ballot in last week. In listening to all of the arguments for electing Trump for four more years, I am struck by the large number of his supporters who say they don’t like the man or his behavior, but they like his policies. I am not sure you can really separate the two.
President Trump has had a policy of America first, which I believe reflects his personality of self-first. And I believe his immigration policies also reflect that personality. His lack of a health-care plan for the United States shows his unconcern for the many dependent on Obamacare. He has claimed for almost four years that the Republican’s plan will be superior to the current Obamacare in all regards, but a plan is still not forthcoming. But he still tries to kill Obama Care with no replacement. What is his health care policy?
Our response to the coronavirus has desperately needed a national policy. There is none. Even now, President Trump holds large rallies with thousands seated side-by-side with few masks. The most effective means for slowing the virus, which includes physical distancing and the use of masks, has been spurned by Trump from the beginning. He has no plan for dealing with the virus other than a vaccine, which for most Americans will not be available until next spring. And then it will be some time before enough people are inoculated to be effective in slowing the spread of the virus.
President Trump is dealing with climate change the same way he dealt with the coronavirus. His policy is to mostly ignore it and hope it will go away. But climate change is not going away and this country desperately needs to prepare for it through a national plan. As the destruction from storms, droughts, and flooding increases, there will be no vaccine for preventing nature’s fury. The recent fires in California and Colorado are directly attributed to a warming climate and longer dry season. And so is the record number of named storms this year. We need a plan to address climate change; we need a plan for feeding, clothing, and providing housing for the displaced.
I believe that we have already passed the tipping point and some of the changes we will experience this decade cannot be avoided. We must prepare for major climate-related effects on our livelihoods and quality of life. As Joe Biden stated in the final debate, it is an existential threat. Without a plan, when nature’s full fury is felt, it will be too late to help many in dire circumstances.
President Trump has been busy undoing many of the regulations put in place by President Obama to protect the American people. He sees them as a hindrance to businesses and a drain on the economy. Of course, he is not drinking polluted water or watching his children die from the effects of toxic chemicals.
I think that when most people say they like Trumps policies they really mean they believe they personally are better off economically with him as president. They don’t think climate change is a big threat to them, they probably have health insurance, and they care little about letting more immigrants into this country. Some fear that they will lose their right to choose their own doctors under the Democrats, their taxes will increase, and that lazy people will get handouts from the government. They believe that President Trump has been great for job growth. He would have you believe he has been the best with the greatest economy ever. If you believe that, I suggest you read the Forbes’s article titled Obama’s Last Three Years Of Job Growth All Beat Trump’s Best Year by Chuck Jones published on February 7, 2020.
Donald Trump has a way of exaggerating his accomplishments to make you think they were the greatest ever. The reality is usually much different. As far as jobs and the economy are concerned, his tax cuts gave us nearly a trillion dollar budget deficits prior to the coronavirus during a time when we were not in a recession. The deficit should have been brought down. The reason given for the tax cuts was to grow the economy (GDP) at above 4 percent. This never happened. The GDP growth has been between 2 and 3 percent.
The budget deficit for the government’s fiscal year just completed was $3.1 trillion dollars because of tax cuts and the coronavirus. We will probably need to add several trillion more in the current fiscal year to prevent a recession. The national debt is growing to a level many consider dangerous. As the US experiences trillions of dollars in losses from climate change, where will the money come from to address these costs? Many states are already bankrupt because of the coronavirus.
Let’s consider his trade policies and foreign relations. Even what he considers a phase one with China is questionable. China has yet to meet their commitments, although they have recently increased their grain purchases. Now his attacks on China over the coronavirus are putting any further progress at risk. And the loss of leadership in the world arena by the US under Trump may have long lasting effects. Our allies no longer trust the US as being dependable, which limits our future influence.
I believe that all of President Trump’s key policies are a reflection of him as a man. He cares little for other people and everything he does he makes about him. I don’t need to put a label on his personality; others have already done that. I think it is a big mistake to think you can separate the policies from the man. Those who are disturbed by his behavior as a man, but support his policies, need to take a closer look at what his policies really mean for the long-term health of this country. Other countries will see and judge the behavior of the US much as we see and judge the behavior of Donald Trump as a man because the policies will reflect the personality of the man.
We are all united in a fundamental and deep way. Those who do not recognize this should not be in a position of responsibility and leadership for an entire nation. A humane leader of the most powerful nation on earth casts a benevolent influence over the entire world; an inhumane US leader casts a cloud of animosity and disharmony over the world. As a nation, we need to tell the world that lying, cheating, and stealing are not the values of the American people. We are a people who stand for honesty and fairness, and individuals without those values should not represent us.
Both President Trump and Joe Biden made their points in the final debate. I think the American people were able to see the clear differences between their values and vision for America. Joe Biden gave a beautiful summary of his vision when answering the final question. In contrast, Trump used a scare tactic by claiming the US would experience monumental recession under Joe Biden.
After listening to many pundits and reading numerous articles, it seems clear that the coronavirus is the key issue going into the final days of the election. Voters have to decide if Trump did a good job in his coronavirus response or demonstrated a complete lack of leadership.
I remind people that the medical experts are consistent in their recommendation that each American do three things: wear a mask in public, socially distance, and frequently wash their hands. President Trump has never addressed the American people to emphasize the importance of these actions. In fact, as stated previously, he is now conducting rallies in Florida where I live with images of people packed together with few wearing masks. For many months, he refused to even wear a mask himself. His core supporters still believe that wearing a mask and social distancing aren’t necessary because that is the message they got from him.
I consider Trump’s actions irresponsible and the most grievous failure of leadership during a crisis. He has continuously fed disinformation to the American public and must bear the direct responsibility for the more than 200,000 deaths. The simple act of the President of the United States addressing the American people, holding up a mask, and explaining the necessity for all Americans to follow the three recommendations from the experts could have saves thousands of lives.
I am an independent voter and do not agree with all of the positions of either major party. But I see four more years of Trump creating a division in this country from which we may never recover. And I believe that four more years of a lack of response to global warming will be catastrophic for this country. Trump has no background in science, but he thinks he knows best. Beware of the person who never admits a mistake and claims to know everything better than the experts do. Do you want a petulant 12-year-old or and adult running the country?