A lot of people would tell you not to bother trying to explain why the 45th president of the United States was such a danger to democracy and our country.
Perhaps I’m an optimist. Or perhaps I don’t stereotype. I don’t think everyone who voted for Donald Trump is part of a cult. Many of them? Sure. But not all.
I’ve learned to accept that, in the words of the old warden in Cool Hand Luke, there are some people you can’t reach. You can’t argue with fervent believers and convert them in short order. They have to come to question the movement, whether it’s Scientology or Fox, on their own terms and their own time.
I have two reasonable goals:
- To humanize “liberals” so that these people will at least govern with basic kindness and decency as long as they’re in power. “Liberals” (and “progressives” — who, in our imprecise political terminology would be farther “left” than “liberals” and would veer toward a watered-down version of “socialism”) aren’t power-mad anti-Christian reverse-racist violence-spewing cancel-culturalists. Most people on the “left” are guided by empathy. Maybe the specific policies don’t work, but that’s not a reason to treat leftists as an enemy.
- To get everyone else to vote.
It’s especially important for Millennials, who’ll be on this planet longer than those of us pushing 50 and have not traditionally turned up at the polls — though maybe that’s changing.
And I want to get across a point here: Good people are terrified. You may have your stereotypes of know-it-all Northeast/California/urban people, and some of them are true. But their motives are good. They’re often voting against their own self-interest.
Look, I’m a white cis hetero male with a lot of stock holdings. The GOP takes less of my money in taxes and does its best to improve my bank accounts. I don’t f—ing care. They make me rich while allowing massive inequities that leave a lot of unfortunate people trapped in poverty. (Yes, so do many Democrats, which is why the “progressive” wing is speaking up so loudly — again, sometimes with ridiculous impracticalities like dissing Obama, of all people, but with the best of intents.) They rack up massive deficits and climate destruction that will cost our kids money and health. They spread hatred toward “others” — other races, people in academia and the media — who are completely undeserving of such hate.
I’m not going to my grave knowing that I made money off the misery of others. Neither should you.
Some people kept extensive lists of Trump’s shortcomings and malevolent acts. I’ve tried to keep this shorter while still doing justice to the atrocious term of our worst president in at least 100 years. Aside from leaving the door open for more Jan. 6 relevations, I intend to be done with this.
- Owning the “libs,” as insufferable as they can be at times, is a poor way to go through life and elections
- Tons of links on the impeachment (it should’ve led to conviction), corruption, hatred, dictator-ish behavior, the compliant GOP, bullshit (separate page), immigration, guns, health care, climate change, foreign policy, mock religion, debt, veterans/military and basic competence
Incompetence, ignorance and consequences
Get the whole story. And another.
- Budget cuts added to our lack of preparedness.
- Trump second-guesses experts, leading to harmful misinformation
- Wrecked team that could’ve helped
- Resisted suspending travel with China because he didn’t want to upset trade deal
- Kept insisting it would go away
- Berated aides for scaring the stock market
- Has floated his own ignorant solutions such as ingesting bleach and using UV light internally
- Insistence on hydrochloroquine led to one man ingesting chloroquine and dying
- Fired director of federal vaccine agency, Rick Bright, who then filed whistleblower complaint
- His disdain of expertise extends to the military, and he simply won’t listen. Corroboration from the author of Black Hawk Down, based on plentiful interviews.
- We abandoned the Kurds, our allies
- Incoherence in important global meetings
- Trump’s foreign policy: Piss off the rest of the free world
- Remember Puerto Rico, which Trump later said he wanted to sell
- The Economist: Donald Trump has no grasp of what it means to be president
- Kevin D. Williamson at conservative National Review: “Trump is the political version of a pickup artist, and Republicans — and America — went to bed with him convinced that he was something other than what he is.”
Jan. 6 / Election tampering / Farewell to office (This may be updated)
- A “Christian fundraising site” is helping the Proud Boys, whom Trump has helped legitimize
- “Ochs was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of unlawful entry stemming from his presence inside the Capitol on Jan 6, according to court documents. The Los Angeles Times reported that he filmed videos of the insurrection for a California right-wing news outlet called “Murder the Media.” With Ochs’s criminal case pending as he sat behind bars in Hawaii, a new GiveSendGo page popped up: the “Legal fees for Nick Ochs” fund. As of Sunday, it had raised nearly $20,000, but the ability to donate had been disabled. Asked by email to comment, Ochs responded, “Shut up nerd.”
- Trump may well be prosecuted in Georgia
- The New York Post, very much not part of the “liberal media,” blasted Trump for fighting election loss, pushing false voter fraud claims. (I like the King Lear reference.)
- The end of Trump’s term was marked by questionable pardons of former congressmen convicted of federal crimes
Impeachment / Ukraine
The facts clearly show Trump withheld aid to Ukraine for personal gain. Retroactively changing the story to make it about a far-fetched election-interference story won’t change the facts.
If you think impeachment wasn’t warranted, ask yourself these questions:
- If you think he had a legitimate policy reason to withhold the aid, may we ask why he hasn’t done it with nations that have documented human rights and corruption issues? Saudi Arabia springs to mind.
- Why is the GOP fighting back so hard on the process and not the facts?
- Related: Why is the GOP fighting to keep so many people, especially John Bolton, from testifying?
- Why is this supposed interest in forcing Ukraine to fight corruption so heavily focused on the Bidens? (Also note the Feb. 11, 2016 entry here if you’re buying into the notion that Joe Biden was trying to keep Ukraine investigators from doing their jobs. Also note Burisma was indeed investigated.)
- Was it coincidence that the Ukraine aid was finally released right after the House started investigating?
- Why are we seeing so many talking points that have been easily refuted?
More reading on the topic:
- Mona Charen at conservative National Review: Impeachment vote shows GOP senators have “no appetite for the truth”
- Harvard Law professor Nikolas Bowie at The New York Times: Yes, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress are crimes
- Christianity Today carried a piece urging Trump’s removal from office
- There’s plenty of evidence that the majority of the Senate acquitted Trump out of fear
- Read Mitt Romney’s statement
Mueller report / Russia
The Mueller Report most definitely did not exonerate Trump.
the report sets out evidence on both sides of the question and leaves unresolved what the Special Counsel views as “difficult issues” of law and fact concerning whether the President’s actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction. The Special Counsel states that “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
And Mueller’s investigation has sent many Trump associates to prison. It also netted a considerable amount of money for the government.
- Brett Kavanaugh’s problems (not just sexual abuse) were swept under the rug
Other Trump legal proceedings
- $25 million to settle Trump University fraud case
- Trump goes to great lengths to hide tax records from investigators
Authoritarianism and propaganda
- A short checklist of authoritarianism: removal of those who aren’t “loyal,” made-up charges against those who disagree with him (like Joe Scarborough)
- Another general take
- 20,000 false or misleading claims — even if you argue with, say, 2,000 of them, that’s 18,000
- Trump embraced Alex Jones
- Trump embraced QAnon
Vote suppression and the Post Office
- It’s pretty brazen
- Trump bragged about it
- And no, women aren’t OK with it — check the list of women who have accused him of sexual misconduct
- The accusations against Biden were investigated (and no, “believe women” does not mean “completely and without question”)
- While we’re at it, in case any QAnon types come after you equating the Democrat Party with pedophilia, feel free to show them a list of Republican pedophiles and remind them about Trump’s “wish her well” comment on Ghislaine Maxwell. Also, their paranoia is starting to get dangerous.
- Nine-figure tab for his golf habit, far exceeding what he criticized Obama for
- Money shifted from campaign to businesses
Violence and racism
- Armed militias feel emboldened by Trump
- As does the organizer of the white supremacy rally in Charlottesville in which Heather Heyer was killed
- Trump praised a politician who physically attacked a reporter
- Trump practices “white identity politics“
Treatment of veterans and the military
- His disdain of expertise extends to the military, and he simply won’t listen (repeated from above)
- VFW and other veterans groups called for him to apologize for comments about brain injuries
- A commander lost his post for his concern over COVID-19 on his ship
- He was downright cruel to John McCain, mocking him for being captured
- The notion that immigrants commit more crime than everyone else is a lie, as confirmed by an investigation of the Justice Department
- Immigrants help the economy
- We invited them here, and we lose out when they’re deported
- Making immigrants suffer, including widespread separation of families, is a deliberate strategy
- We sent them back to face death and abuse
- We support legal status, no matter what we’re told
- Bottom line: Those who scapegoat immigrants are lying or dead wrong at every turn
- The Wall is ineffective, drug smuggling comes through ports of entry, people can tunnel under it or climb over it, we’re disrupting Native American burial sites and the ecosystem around the border, and it’s being paid for not by Mexico but out of the Pentagon’s budget.
- Trump didn’t meet a lot of his campaign goals/promises, and a lot of the ones he did have made us worse off.
- It was already huge thanks to a tax cut that (A) wasn’t needed and (B) didn’t help many people, and now that we have to spend a lot due to the pandemic …
Growth was nothing more than Obama momentum and even lagged
- Even before the pandemic, growth had actually slowed slightly despite the heavy deficit spending (tax cut)
- See more numbers on growth, the deficit, the trade deficit, etc.
Inequality (especially taxes)
- Corporate America used tax cuts to buy its own stock
- The wealthiest 1% of Americans own 50% of stock, up from 39% in the late 80s
- CEOs 320, workers 1
- Worker earnings are far behind our European counterparts
- Tariffs hurt farmers. And Ford. And Harley-Davidson.
Yes, it’s real
- The 3% of papers denying it are all flawed
- Economists and big companies are sounding the alarm or taking action
- Also, the military
- A definitive response to deniers, with their arguments listed and refuted
The problems are immediate
- We’re killing our pollinators, and a lot of us like food
- And they can be market-based
Other important issues
- Ban Ki-moon: The U.S. system is immoral
- And it’s inefficient, to the point of us spending far more (percent of GDP) than our peers
- And we can end up with uninsured people because insurance is tied to employment
- And it can kill us, in part by leaving us unprepared for COVID-19
- We’re going against what an overwhelming majority of Americans want
Why conservatives should vote against Trump
Comprehensive takes from current or former Republicans
True conservative policy
- Mark Salter: “We believe we are acting in accord with John McCain’s charge to put ‘country first’ when we urge Americans to elect former vice president Biden and Sen. Harris the next president and vice president of the United States.”
- Stuart Stevens: Trump is “the most anti-conservative president of my lifetime”
- Peter Wehner: For Conservatives to Have Any Hope, Trump Has to Lose
- “(H)e has also given up on core conservative beliefs in limited government and responsible entitlement reform. He’s shredded federalism and embraced protectionism, both of which cut against conservative principles. It was also on Mr. Trump’s watch that, even before the pandemic hit, the United States set record annual deficits and exceeded $22 trillion in debt. “
- “The president’s conservative defenders point out that he has reduced unnecessary regulations on businesses, but they overlook the fact that he has proudly embraced crony capitalism and aggressively used the federal government to tilt the playing field and pick economic winners and losers.”
- Also: Mismanaged COVID-19, embraced “white identity politics,” used executive orders in ways for which he criticized Obama, undermined NATO, befriended authoritarians, betrayed Kurds, embraced conspiracy theories
- David Frum: The Platform the GOP is Too Scared to Publish
- Economic policy: Take care of rich people only
- Science: Coronavirus and climate change are overhyped
- Foreign policy: We don’t need all these allies
- Also Stevens: “What is happening now is the inevitable result of a party that embraced fear, weaponized xenophobia and regarded facts as dangerous, left-wing landmines that must be avoided.”
- James Mattis, Trumps’ former secretary of defense: “Militarizing our response, as we witnessed in Washington, D.C., sets up a conflict—a false conflict—between the military and civilian society. It erodes the moral ground that ensures a trusted bond between men and women in uniform and the society they are sworn to protect, and of which they themselves are a part.”
Lack of respect for truth and the rule of law
- Mona Charen at conservative National Review: Impeachment vote shows GOP senators have “no appetite for the truth” (repeated from above)
- Read Mitt Romney’s statement on impeachment
- Republican Voters Against Trump
- Republicans for the Rule of Law
- The Lincoln Project
- Republican Political Alliance for Integrity & Reform (led by former Trump administration officials)