Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Trump Off and Running Leaves Me in Wonder

Inexplicably to me, the official start of Donald Trump’s reelection campaign began Tuesday night in Orlando. Silly me. I thought the dastardly deed had been baptized back on January 20, 2017, when papers were filed with the Federal Election Commission by the Trump campaign declaring his intention to run again. 

Why the rush when other presidents waited years to formally register? Follow the money, as we learned from Watergate. According to Huffington Post, “Trump’s paperwork renewing his campaign committee allowed him to collect donations and spend money for an election three years and 10 months away. It also permitted him to continue diverting some of those donations into his own private businesses, which he still controls and from which he still profits.

“In that same time period, the Republican National Committee, which Trump effectively took over at his nominating convention in 2016, spent $690,181 at Trump’s golf resort in Doral, Florida; $403,259 at his hotel in Washington, D.C.; and $289,335 at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach.

“In all, the Trump campaign and the RNC together have funneled $4,341,083 to Trump businesses since Trump took office, with some of that going directly into the president’s own pocket.”

There were some who held out hope Trump would tire of the demands of office. Ha! They didn’t compute Trump’s creative use of “executive time.” Nor did they appreciate how he could turn golfing into a government paid job. He clearly has shown Barack Obama was an amateur when it came to leisure world activity while the world heats up from man-made climate change and assorted tension spots. 

Some had hoped the Mueller Report and a Democratic House of Representatives would shame him into early retirement. How little they know the bully. He relishes combat, or should I say, verbal haranguing. He has debased our modern modes of political decorum (for the record, numerous presidential contests were much more rancorous in the 1800s). 

Trump has fashioned an extreme presidency that some, including myself, fear could result in the ultimate constitutional crisis. Should he lose the election he may well invoke emergency powers to challenge the legitimacy of the vote. After all, before the 2016 ballot he said he might not accept its validity if he lost. He has since repeatedly questioned the tally and has done nothing to protect the sanctity of the election process from interference. 

Prior to his Tuesday night rally, as I drove to one of my errands, I heard a Floridian interviewed by CBS News exult in Trump’s accomplishments. He is “looking out for the common people,” the man explained. 

I wondered, how does undermining Obamacare help the common people? Trump claims he has a great replacement with more coverage at less expense, but like snake oil salesmen who plied the country in the last two centuries he won’t reveal what’s in his elixir. 

I wondered how the common family was helped by a tax reform bill that gave the lion’s share of benefits to the one percenters and just crumbs to common working folks, especially those who relied on mortgage, state income tax and charitable contributions to reduce their tax burden. 

I wondered how common people would benefit from a change in the way the federal poverty line is computed. According to ThinkProgress, a progressive news site, “The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a progressive think tank, has released its analysis of a government proposal for updating the inflation rate that determines the federal poverty line. The study suggests that if authorities adopt a “chained Consumer Price Index” — which calculates the cost of living at a slower pace than the current method — millions of low-income Americans will lose health and food benefits within 10 years.

Who would suffer most? The technical change would disqualify 300,000 kids and pregnant women from receiving health coverage under the Children’s Health Insurance Program.”

I wondered for how long the American people will remain gullible and susceptible to re-education according to the Trump-is-great doctrine. Trump and his propagandists erase all mention of the positive economic performance under his predecessor. They only tout the rise in the stock market since Trump took office.

To put some perspective onto what has transpired economically, Fortune magazine recently compared how Wall Street fared during Obama’s and Trump’s respective first 28 months in office:

“So, how do the two presidents measure up in terms of growth in major indexes, measured between their inauguration and May 31 of their third year in office?

“The short answer is that Trump has quite a way to go. Under Obama, the S&P 500 grew by 56.4%. The Dow Jones Industrials Average was up 50.6% and the Nasdaq, 92.9%.
“The numbers under Trump were 21.4% for the S&P 500, 25.2% for the Dow, and 34.2% for Nasdaq.”

I wondered how common people would do better with dirtier air and water from Trump’s push for more fossil fuel use and lower pollution standards, how deregulation of health and labor safeguards would make their lives better.  

I wondered about a lot more before reaching my destination. I pondered the idea of a consecutive term for Trump before settling onto a variation of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s comment, “I don’t want to see him impeached, I want to see him in prison.” For me, “consecutive terms” would refer to consecutive prison terms.