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Monday, June 21, 2021

The Dumpster Fire We Know as the Trump Presidency Is Still Smoldering

  Those of us who saw Donald Trump for who he was must surely be amazed that his landslide defeat in the November election did not end his hold on the Republican Party that my parents, and maybe yours, loved and respected.

I certainly thought that I did not need to keep writing and paying to publish this column, but, as the headline states, the problem lingers on.

As Fareed Zakaria said on his Sunday program following Joe Biden’s European trip, “America is perceived once more as a constructive force in the world, with an astonishing rebound in its approval ratings across the globe…. But,” he continued, “the story is not entirely positive. One aspect of American power remains substantially diminished: its role as a beacon of democracy…. 57% of people said the U.S. is no longer the model for democracy it used to be…. The decay of American democracy is real.”

That decay can be laid at the feet of one person: Donald Trump. But the horde of his enablers cannot be overlooked, starting with Fox News and the Republican leadership in the U.S. Congress. Their collective grip on the thinking and actions of Trump loyalists is astounding and appalling. Is it not completely understandable that a president who never in his entire 4 years in office had an approval rating over 50% lost an election to a man who has yet to have an approval rating under 50%?

Yet, because Donald Trump refuses to accept that he lost the election which was certified by Republican-controlled states across the nation, the Big Lie lives on.

One has to wonder about the intelligence and patriotism of those who continue to stand behind this sad, egomaniacal man who drove into his followers’ minds from long before the election that the only way he could lose the election was if it was stolen from him.

I remember one pundit saying soon after Trump’s loss that the worst case scenario would be for Trump to run again in 2024 and lose, then maintaining that he was cheated again.

The next election, however, is not presidential. It is the mid-term election of 2022 when all Republican representatives and 20 Republican senators will face the voters. One can only hope, as I do, that the party’s blatant voter suppression will only further motivate the suppressed to turn out in record numbers and make those elected officials pay for their blind allegiance to a discredited president.

My father was a lifelong Republican and also a man of great integrity who would be appalled that any Republican would support a pathological liar like Donald Trump, much less repeat his lies as the truth — i.e., to lie him or herself. Yet that is what we see up and down the ranks of Republican elected officials who see support of Trump as key to something more important than country to them — their re-election.

Rupert Murdoch, the owner of Fox News, is a naturalized American citizen. I’ve found naturalized citizens to be some of the greatest patriots, harking back to a hero of mine, Danish immigrant Jacob Riis, the municipal reformer and journalist who wrote How the Other Half Lives in 1890. Yet, Rupert Murdoch allows his network to become a dishonest echo chamber for Donald Trump, further empowering and emboldening “Cult 45.”

I feel compassion for the Trump followers who stormed the Capitol on January 6th and had their lives and futures disrupted or destroyed out of their misplaced loyalty. They are the true victims of Donald Trump, more than you and I. They were willing to put their lives on the line, believing as they did that the election was stolen and that Communists were taking over the country. Who among us would put our lives on the line like that?

But they were misled and continue to be misled by one man, who could save our country from a continuing downward spiral if he would do what every losing presidential candidate has done in the past: concede.


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