No reason to give Trump a second term

To the Editor:

Why? Why would anyone vote to re-elect Donald J. Trump? I believe this upcoming election will decide if the country remains a democracy or becomes an autocracy or dictatorship. Trump has told the country that he will not accept the results of the election if he loses, and will attempt to have the Supreme Court invalidate mail-in ballots. No state attorney general has declared absentee balloting fraudulent. Oregon has voted only absentee for years — should we go back and declare the results of the past 10 years of election results invalid? The right to choose who you want to vote for is a valuable part of our democracy. I will not tell anyone what candidate they should vote for, but will challenge the thought process that goes into that decision.

With our country so divided, I decided to put down in words the attributes and traits I believe the president of the most powerful nation in the world should possess. I believe this person should possess honesty, leadership, character, integrity, empathy, values, and morality. Donald J. Trump has none of these attributes.

The attributes Trump has: He is a pathological liar. The Washington Post has recorded more than 25,000 outright lies or misleading statements. He is a bully, and demeans the office of the presidency with his third grade bullying tactics and degrading language. He lacks morality, which shows in his misogynistic display captured on video bragging how he can grab women by their “pussy” because he is famous. He is an adulterer, and considers wives to be disposable when they no longer appeal to him. He has no set of values except the accumulation of wealth, and views the world as transactional. His comment before the 2016 election, “John McCain is no hero, he was captured. I like people that were not captured.” He has demonstrated a total lack of leadership, as evidenced with his monumental mishandling of the coronavirus. The U.S. has 25 percent of the deaths in the world, and 5 percent of the population. 

He is incapable of being commander in chief due to his total disrespect for the military with his comments: Americans who died in war are “losers and suckers,” “I don’t get it, what’s in it for them?” (referring to men and women who serve in the military). He does not respect our top military generals because “they only take us to war so they and their friends can profit from the companies that make war machinery.” This from a man who was a coward and took a deferment for bone spurs to avoid the Vietnam conflict. Is it any wonder that over 400 current and retired generals, CIA, and national security personnel (many of them Republicans) have declared they are supporting Biden. Moreover, Trump’s former Secretary of Defense, Gen. Jim Mattis, stated, “The country must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution.”

He is a sociopath, demonstrated by the following characteristics: He shows lack of remorse and is manipulative. He has a grandiose sense of self-importance, and exaggerates achievements and abilities. “I created the best economy the world has ever seen”; “I know more than the generals”; you could also include the scientists.

Most recently, we learned that Trump, whose net worth is estimated to be $240 billion, paid no federal income taxes in 10 of the past 15 years, and paid only $750 in 2017. Moreover, he has been fighting in court to not repay $70 million in refunds he collected. Is it any wonder that he would not release his income taxes? I personally pay much higher in federal taxes. Middle-class Americans pay far more than their president. I think he would call me a “loser and a sucker” for paying my taxes. I gladly do so for the privilege of living in this great country. I believe that if Trump is not re-elected, he will be charged with tax evasion, and most likely foreign money laundering, and will be indicted and hopefully serve prison time. Again, the nagging question: Why would anyone want to give this man another four years in office?

The answer must lie in other issues, such as policy issues, abortion, etc. Why else would other members of the electorate tolerate any of the above? From the polling numbers that I see, Trump has a higher favorability in handling the economy.

The economy was in good shape prior to the coronavirus — contrary to Trump’s false comment, “What a mess I inherited.” Trump inherited a thriving economy. Unemployment was 10 percent when Obama took office, and was at 4.7 percent when he left office. Trump continued to reduce unemployment to 3.5 percent until the coronavirus hit, and then his complete lack of leadership dramatically increased the unemployment numbers. Obama created more jobs, 8.1 million jobs in the last three years of his administration, and Trump, 6.6 million in his first three years in office. Trump promised GDP growth of 6 percent; he never reached 4 percent. Obama hit 4 percent in 2015; Trump grew GDP from 2 percent in 2017 to 3.2 percent in 2018. It dropped back to 2 percent in 2019. Trump promised he would eliminate the national debt, but instead he increased it from $19.75 trillion at the end of 2016 to $26.48 trillion at the end of the second quarter of 2020. Kiplinger’s magazine notes that Ives Tech Research states that since 1928, annualized S&P 500 returns have averaged 13.3 percent under Democrats and 7.7 percent under Republicans. 

In the final analysis, it is not about party or policy. I believe our democracy is threatened. When a sitting president tells us he is not going to accept the outcome of the election if he is not the winner, we are facing a constitutional crisis never seen before. I urge all to contemplate the consequences before casting your vote. I have mailed this opinion because I believe our democracy is worth fighting for, and hope you agree!

 

Richard Steves
Chilmark