A version of this was published in the Winter Park Times 10/2/20
A funny thing happened on Donald Trump’s way to November 3, election day. Ten months ago President Trump had everything under control, it appeared. “Everything” to him meant the stock market. He had even survived impeachment for using taxpayer funds to force a foreign government to get dirt on Joe Biden’s son. The economy was good though the 4% GDP growth needed to pay back his tax cuts to the rich had hovered around the Obama term of 2.2%, while Trump paid $750 to 0 taxes in most years. Unemployment had dropped to below 4%. Then mother nature and inflamed civil unrest struck in unanticipated ways that affected health, safety, financial security, and sense of well being to some degree of most Americans and exposed his ineptitude to do the job. First came COVID-19, followed by urban unrest in reaction to police racial bias and brutality while Trump was overtly spouting white nationalism, supporting and praising violent actors. The third strike was the death of a Supreme Court Justice leaving a vacancy to be filled by an ultra-conservative nominee resulting in a lopsided ideologically tilted Court that would likely cripple or kill Roe v Wade and take away affordable health care from millions. So here we are about a month away from the last day citizens can vote in the presidential election.
Except for the stock market, the economy crashed, unemployment rose to depression-era statistics, and then fell back to 2008 great recession levels. Businesses closed doors, many permanently, and any rebound awaits enough people getting vaccinations with a limited start hopefully in December and fully instituted to help the general population by next summer, with lots of pain and suffering in between. That Democrats' goal to close down business is crazy talk. Democrats simply want to make it safe to conduct business successfully and to help them survive financially. In my tourist-oriented small business community, common sense prevailed. Signs posted everywhere read wear your masks to keep our business open. If responsible customers and their employees do not feel safe from COVID they will not come. Keeping businesses open became the community goal and the result of good leadership and many adapted and survived helped by some government support and stimulus which dried up in August, with any more aid hung up in the GOP Senate.
Trump himself tried to keep public approval high for his response to COVID by lying to the public about down the danger of the virus and its effects. He knew better. Bob Woodward’s tapes and book RAGE exposed that he did understand how bad the coming plague would be, but he chose to call it just another flu, ridiculed wearing masks, blamed China, toyed with medical quackery and herd immunity theories, refused to institute the defense production act to force production of PPE, and more highly effective masks for the general public. He then put unqualified political flunkeys in charge of screwing with data and scientific findings to sync with his words. The result: the US is among the top per capita countries in the world for the rate of death per hundred thousand. Only worse were Brazil, Spain, and three other South American countries. Now, COVID is spiking again in 24 states, the beginning of forecasts by scientists of a fall season wave.
His nominee to the Supreme Court has publicly written she supported killing Obamacare (ACA) so the Court will have enough conservatives justices to do it, as well as to gut and /or destroy Roe v Wade. The only antidote is to elect Joe Biden and senators who are pledged to follow the science, are sworn to keep and expand the ACA, or will engineer a replacement to Obamacare if the Supreme Court votes to kill it. With Biden's plan, no private insurance is taken away and the public option is limited to lower-income people.
Trump has attempted to handle unrest on the urban streets by “suppression and domination” by “federal agents” and to deal with the political backlash by suppressing voters, sabotaging the post office’s ability to process mail-in ballots which is the voting method favored by Democrats in the time of COVID, and intimidating and inconveniencing minority voters who plan to vote in person. A second Trump term promises to be more of the same. He has tried to claim Biden would foster more violence, but Biden in June condemned violent protests, and in late August made clear arsonists, looters, and rioters should be treated as criminals. The violence supporter is Trump. and calling parading neo-Nazis and long gun-toting militias “fine people” and “patriots”. In the First Debate, Tuesday, Trump refused to condemn them and called on a violent organization, Proud Boys, identified by the FBI as such, to stand by, inferring they should be ready to strike if Trump lost. The FBI has also reported that the right-wing violent organizations were far more a threat than those on the left. How about just treating people honestly and fairly regardless of their race or political loyalties. What a concept, but it is one of Biden’s years of public service has shown he has followed. “Law and order Trump” refused to commit he would leave office peacefully if he lost the election, and he said there would only be a peaceful transition if he “got rid of the (mail-in) ballots” that citizens had not requested he claimed were fraud even before they were cast. Bye-by representative democracy. Since 2013 Colorado along with four other states have mailed unsolicited ballots to registered voters with no evidence of widespread fraud. The fraud is Trump's claim.