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America hits rock bottom with President Donald Trump

America is like an alcoholic waking up face-down in the gutter. We wonder how we became a fearful nation with 100,000 dead from COVID-19 as the disease spreads from big cities into small towns. Major corporations are going bankrupt right and left, while a third of small businesses are at risk of failure. Our unemployment rate approaches Great Depression levels, and we face our first multi-trillion-dollar federal deficit. Our nation is at rock bottom, yet the situation may worsen. How could this happen?

Anti-government Republicanism

Nearly four decades ago, our nation embraced an anti-government ethos, beguiled by then-President Ronald Reagan’s statement, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”

Since then, we have moved generally in the direction of anti-government Republicanism, driven by the bias and misrepresentations of profit-driven Fox News and other conservative media that constantly vilify all things government. Other than the anomaly of President Barack Obama’s “Obamacare” — made possible by President George W. Bush’s two endless wars, his botched response to Hurricane Katrina and his Great Recession — we have empowered and enriched the wealthy while obstructing and dismantling government. In sectors as diverse as education, prisons, health care and postal services, anti-government Republicans seek to obstruct and dismantle government functions in favor of the market or the military as solutions for every problem.

Trump before COVID-19, and Trumpism

Donald Trump did not run for president as a traditional anti-government Republican. However, he has consistently pursued their priorities — slashing taxes and regulations, growing the military and appointing conservative judges. Trump’s approach to governance, embraced or allowed by anti-government Republicans in Congress, has been based on a set of false premises that might be referred to as Trumpism:

¯ Corruption, bigotry, misogyny, incompetence, secrecy, lies, personal insults, nepotism and favoritism are all characteristics of good government.

¯ Anything that benefits Trump is good for the nation.

¯ Our longtime friends and trading partners are now our enemies, tariff wars are “easy to win,” and murderous autocrats are our friends.

¯ International refugees should be treated worse than pigs.

¯ Large federal budget deficits are OK under a Republican president but criminal under Democrats.

¯ Global climate change, smoggy air and polluted water are OK.

¯ Republicans are “advocates for health care” by working to abolish Obamacare with nothing to replace it.

¯ An impartial Justice Department, congressional oversight, and other constitutional checks and balances are for losers, and the power of the president is absolute.

COVID-19, a stress test for Trump

President Trump did not cause COVID-19, but it represents an ongoing stress test for his leadership. Trump initially claimed, “We have (COVID-19) totally under control.” He golfed and held political rallies while the virus spread rapidly, and his early inaction caused an additional 36,000 American COVID-19 deaths (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/20/us/coronavirus-cases-deaths.html). When Trump finally engaged regarding COVID-19, he claimed total authority, denied responsibility, refused to wear a mask, and touted use of an unproven deadly drug and bleach as treatments. His administration failed to develop reliable tests and distribute emergency medical supplies while his inane musings distracted and undermined efforts by public health experts to limit spread of the disease.

Anti-government Republicans and COVID-19

Many anti-government Republican Trumpist governors have also engaged in irresponsible talk and actions. Congressional Republicans lean heavily in the direction of anti-government Republicanism and Trumpism, supporting initial efforts to protect our economy from COVID-19 but then recommending bankruptcy for states under COVID-19-related economic distress while they defend Trump’s failures. Meanwhile, the Republican-dominated Supreme Court declined to rule against anti-democratic initiatives by anti-government Republicans, including campaign finance abuses, gerrymandering and voter suppression.

Failure of anti-government Republicans and Trumpists

COVID-19 has stressed every nation, but America has many more deaths than any other nation and a higher rate of COVID-19 deaths than all but 10 nations across the entire globe, despite our world-class health care system (https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/data/mortality). As the grip of COVID-19 has tightened, it has choked off our economy.

A pandemic requires early government intervention to limit its spread, but Trump’s passivity and failure with COVID-19 have exposed the inability of anti-government Republicans and Trumpists to deal with such a complex and challenging situation. Obedience to Fox News in sending anti-government Republicans to Washington and statehouses to obstruct and dismantle government invited the catastrophe we now face.

After rock bottom, recovery is possible

Hopefully, we are awakening from our long national nightmare of anti-government Republicanism and Trumpism. Donald Trump won Arizona in 2016 by 3.5% over Hillary Clinton, but he now trails Joe Biden by 7 points in Arizona (https://www.politico.com/news/2020/05/21/trump-senate-mcsally-arizona-273555). If Trump can’t again carry Arizona, his prospects for reelection are grim, but the fight for our nation’s future is only beginning. Trump will likely resort to gut punches and eye gouges in pursuit of reelection, since a second term would protect Trump from facing accusations of fraud, hush money, perjury and tax evasion as he and anti-government Republican Trumpists in Congress and statehouses pursue his chokehold on autocratic power. We must not allow that to happen.

Act to end anti-government Republicanism and Trumpism

Ending anti-government Republicanism and Trumpism begins by voting out Donald Trump and anti-government Republicans and Trumpists in Congress and statehouses. For example, U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik once presented herself as a middle-of-the-road Republican, but she then betrayed her NY-21 constituents by grabbing national attention as a very vocal advocate for Trump.

We will soon have the opportunity to vote for Joe Biden, who has been a national leader for as long as Donald Trump has allegedly been a crooked businessman. NY-21 candidate Tedra Cobb offers an impressive record as educator, businesswoman and public servant. Joe Biden and Tedra Cobb will work to fight anti-government Republicanism and Trumpism, and to put us on the path to renewal of America.

Forward this call to action to your friends, and mobilize to end anti-government Republicanism and Trumpism, and begin renewal of America!

David Banks is a former resident of Lake Clear, now residing in Rockville, Maryland.

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