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Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Okay, Enough About Trump’s ‘Flaws.’ Let’s Look at His Policies & Goals

It’s easy to focus on the many personality flaws of President Trump, and his supporters keep telling me to focus instead on his wonderful policies and accomplishments. So here we go.

I was inspired by this email I got from a reader, Larry C.:

I wish you would try to explain just what these people think Trump has been so great in accomplishing, and what are the policies they so agree with. 

Tax cuts for the wealthy that have put the national debt into the stratosphere?

Appointing judges who, with few exceptions, will rule against the working class in favor of monied special interests?

Destroying environmental regulations that benefit only the energy companies. 

Trade policies that have raised prices for all of us while seriously hurting Midwest farmers?

Constantly kowtowing to Putin and other dictators as he works to destroy our NATO relationships?

    It can only be that they like his immigration position, and in that way they identify with Trump’s racism. That’s all there is to it.

What Larry didn’t mention, but is equally important, is Trump’s denial of climate change — not merely denial, but a policy of neglect toward mitigating the effects of climate change, which are becoming more real every day and every year. 

I remember hearing that right after Trump took office, he ordered that the words “climate change” be banned from the Environmental Protection Administration’s website. A search of epa.gov now shows over 20,000 mentions of the term (link)  It remains true, however, that the president pulled the United States out of the Paris Accord on Climate Change and has actually worked to promote fossil fuels which contribute to climate change. Because of the consequences of climate change, this policy will be among the worst legacies on the Trump administration, and the damage from failure to focus on the topic is already apparent in the wildfires and severe weather we are experiencing every year. Had you heard of “derecho” before this year? How about “polar vortex”? I lived on the east coast for 40 years and remember one or two hurricanes and no “super storms.” This is clearly a crisis requiring presidential leadership, not total neglect.

One of my first “Talking Turkey” columns had the headline, “Covid-19 Is Putting Trump’s Disdain for Science to the Test. How’s He Doing?” (link).

I think we know the answer now better than ever.

 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jim,

    I’ve been reading your column regarding Trump supporters and their unwavering support for Donald Trump regardless of his wrongdoings and divisive policies. You’ve also mentioned that they only get their news from Fox News and other conservative outlets. Therein lies the source for this phenomenon, which is Roger Ailes, the former CEO of Fox News. Ailes was a media consultant for Richard Nixon and invoked the “Southern Strategy” to get Nixon elected. Civil Rights was passed during Lyndon Johnson’s administration, and it was passed along state lines rather than party lines. So, to court the Southern Democrats, also known as “Dixiecrats”, Ailes’s strategy was to put out dog whistles which suggested that people of color were coming to take jobs, use their taxes for welfare, drive down property values, and drive up crime. Reagan and George H.W. Bush also used Ailes as a media consultant for their campaigns. While Nixon, Reagan, and Bush, campaigned using the Southern Strategy, they did not use it to govern.

    Then he was hired by Rupert Murdock to head up Fox News. I did some research on Fox News and found out that they paid $11 per subscriber to cable providers. Usually it’s the other way around for cable providers to pay networks. As a result, Fox News is on everywhere and not just in homes, but where business have TV’s on, like banks, hotels, athletic clubs, waiting areas for automobile service, and so on. At Fox, Ailes used the same strategy to help conservative politicians, and to ring fear to their white audience about people of color.

    Donald Trump, being the con man that he is, took advantage, and turned the dog whistles into blow horns. Now Fox News is state TV for the Trump Administration. At least the opinion side definitely is. There are some journalists on the news side who just try to report the news. There was an excellent video put out by Media Matters showing the lies put out by Sean Hannity and each one being debunked by Shep Smith. When Smith was asked about it, he said that the opinion side had a lot more leeway with the truth. Unfortunately, he left, because he couldn’t take it anymore.

    I agree with you that a lot of the Trump supporters are nice people, but they have had 25 years of propaganda. There have been some, who use critical thinking, and no longer follow Fox News. Now Trump wants to do away with the payroll tax, which will deplete Social Security by 2023, and do in financially, a lot of his supporters. I applaud you for trying to bring some light, because our democracy is in danger from a ruthless crime boss and his enablers who wants to be a dictator. There was supposed to be a system of checks and balances, but Trump has undermined these institutions and has put fixes in to help his cause. So, I think that the only way to stop him, is to encourage everyone else and especially those who hardly ever vote, to vote this time as if their lives depended on it, because they do.

    Thank You,
    Bob Romero

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