I Worry About the Health of Our Democracy

I recently received two Facebook posts blaming President Clinton for Trump’s hard line separation of immigrant families. I replied to both senders that the posts themselves were dishonest hate literature intentionally misrepresenting the truth. In response one of the senders accused me of being a socialist. Not sure exactly how he drew that correlation but it is a perfect example of trying to shift the debate from facts to political bias. Regardless, I decided to outline some of my real fears and frustration with Trump specifically and the Republican Party more generally in this and two companion blog posts.

First, I am not a socialist as this one individual charged, or a Democrat for that matter. I was a loyal Republican for more than 40 years until the Party abandoned all my moderately conservative values. For several years after the Party left me I called myself a “recovering Republican” (a term I borrowed from Alcoholics Anonymous). I am now happy to report that since Trump’s election, his behavior as president, and that of his Republican legislative supporters, I am fully cured.  Today I am an Independent, so I feel free to speak critically of either party.

In truth neither party is serving its constituents or the country well these days of hyper-partisanship. There is no longer any question however about which party better represents Western democracy or more accurately reflects American values. In the past 30 years the Republican party has moved dramatically from moderate conservative to the extreme right.

The Republican Party has totally reversed its century old balanced budget and free trade economic credentials, and become complicit in, supportive of, or protectors for individuals and organizations that promote racism, white nationalism, xenophobia, and ethnocentrism.  Republicans under the Trump banner even seem to be moving toward espousing at least a version of fascist ideology. A recent Pew Research poll found that a rapidly growing number of Republicans (43%) think it would be better if the president were free of accountability from Congress and the Courts. That view is up from 27% just last year. Even President Reagan wouldn’t recognize today’s Republican Party.

Meanwhile the Democratic Party as a whole, always liberal but mostly moderate, has remained pretty much where it has been for the past 80 plus years. There is a massive abundance of research to prove what I am saying here for anyone who actually cares about facts. The rise of social media with Trump’s and the alt-right’s smart use of it though has helped them to undermine facts, truth, reality, and rational political dialogue to project a false political picture of the two parties in a way that’s historic (Democrats are socialists; Republicans are defenders of democracy).

I admit I was not a fan of Donald Trump long before he decided to run for president. I have known him for more than 30 years. He is and has been a fraud his entire professional life. I was first exposed to him and his father in the middle 80s when I was trying to lease building space in New York City for Sprint’s long distance telecom network. On the advice of my corporate legal counsel I chose to avoid any relationship with their company. The word in the New York business community at the time was that neither could be trusted to honor any agreement. Since then there is endless documented evidence of unethical, racist, and extra-legal business activities on the part of the Trumps.

I have a whole litany of reasons for opposing the Trump Presidency and his Republican Party, but in one companion post titled “Applied Republican Economic Theory” I will briefly focus on the insanity of the party’s endorsed economic policies. In the other piece titled “Dangers to our Democracy and the World Order” I will explore Trump’s personal authoritarian behavior.

In closing this post:

The US is currently in a political and economic mess. Under the Trump Administration and Republican Senate it is getting messier by the day. Regardless of whether Democrats or Republicans win the presidency and/or Senate, Americans are in for a rough ride in the coming decade, maybe longer.

The 2020 presidential election will likely hinge on the economy unless some catastrophic event occurs. If the stock market and employment remain strong Trump will be hard to beat. A worldwide recession before the election, including a significant economic downturn in the US, would be a catastrophic event that could change the basic election math. In that scenario Trump and the Republicans would be seriously vulnerable.

In any case it seems to me that if Democrats have any chance of defeating Trump and making inroads in the Senate they must launch a disciplined exploitation of current economic inequality as well as healthcare and immigration policies. They need to present aggressive but balanced and well considered plans that demonstrate what a Democratic administration and Congressional leadership would look like . Either way, as of August of 2019 I don’t think the Democrats are united enough yet to prepare for the brutal 2020 political contest. I hope they get their act together soon.

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