November 2020, like November 2016 offers Americans a stark choice—do we want to continue going down or do we want to reverse course. Much that was good about America has been destroyed in less than four years. While almost nothing has been accomplished to make life better for most Americans. Ironically, those in the Red states who voted for Trump are now worse off than they were before with little hope for a better future. Farmers have lost their markets and now depend on government handouts. Rural hospitals are fewer and going under. Rural poverty is growing.
A report card on the last three years on the leadership of Donald J. Trump as President demonstrates that rule by whim and tweet backed by a Republican controlled Senate under Mitch McConnell has provided little besides acrimony and a coarsening of our public debate along with the downgrading of many of our most vital institutions. https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/12/2/20970521/trump-administration-achievements
HEALTHCARE. In 2020, fewer Americans have access to healthcare. Republicans support repealing Obamacare and refuse to offer anything to replace it. They have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to declare it unconstitutional. Meanwhile, Americans pay the highest prices in the world for prescriptions and it is illegal for Americans to buy the same drugs in Canada or Mexico at half the cost. Medicare is prohibited from bargaining with drug companies for lower prices. Hospitals in rural areas are closing. The U.S recently withdrew from the World Health Organization “WHO”.
Grade “F”. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/26/opinion/republicans-really-hate-healthcare.html
ENVIRONMENT. Over the last three years, lobbyists for industry have been put in charge of the EPA and repealed by executive order nearly one hundred environmental laws intended to ensure clean air and clean water. The law requiring less pollution from power plants has been eliminated as have rules to require lower pollution for autos. The U.S. has withdrawn from the Paris accords on Climate Change. The ice caps are melting at an ever-faster rate and there are no plans to address flooding as oceans rise.
Grade “F”. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/climate/trump-environment-rollbacks.html
FAIR ELECTIONS. That a foreign power, Russia, interfered in the 2016 election is undisputed by all except President Donald Trump the primary beneficiary of it. Efforts to prevent interference in 2020 have been blocked by the Republican Senate. The Republican Supreme Court has declined to address blatant gerrymandering of elections to rig the outcome in favor of Republicans. Meanwhile, Red states have continued efforts to reduce the access to voting by Democrats by any means possible.
Grade “F”. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/18/us/Voting-republicans-trump.html https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/05/magazine/voting-by-mail-2020-covid.html?action=click&module=RelatedLinks&pgtype=Article
INTERNATIONAL PEACE. North Korea proceeds to build more nuclear weapons and the rockets to deliver them on U.S. cities. Trump has praised the dictator shaking his hand. Russia’s Putin enjoys unparalleled access to private communications with President Trump which has helped Russia in their fight against Ukraine, our ally, and in support of Assad in Syria, our enemy. Saudi Arabia has received nuclear weapons assistance, Iran is again enriching uranium after Trump reneged on the Iran Nuclear agreement and peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine have collapsed. China has replaced the U.S. in economic leadership in the Far East and appears soon to do so in terms of military power in the region. Our once powerful relationships with NATO are fraying, and various arms control treaties have been downgraded or repealed. We were once widely admired and the undisputed leader of the free world. We are now in retreat around the globe.
Grade “F” https://www.cfr.org/timeline/trumps-foreign-policy-moments
ECONOMY. Trump inherited an economy adding jobs and growing steadily after the near collapse under President Bush. He and the Republican Senate “juiced” the recovery underway by giving away one trillion dollars to the wealthiest Americans and lowering their taxes, thus creating a huge increase in the deficit. The promised 6% growth never materialized because, as predicted, little of the money trickled down from the rich. Instead, they pocketed the extra money in the form of corporate buy backs and dividends. The U.S. deficit has gone up even more as revenue dropped due to lower taxes and increased spending on defense plus the emergency response to Covid 19 has required more deficit spending. Wages have barely kept pace with inflation.
Grade “D” https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/new-reports-show-that-trumps-economic-promises-were-empty
INFRASTRUCTURE. America’s roads, bridges, and electrical grid have been neglected for years. Everyone left and right has called for making the necessary upgrades, especially now when people need work and capital investment would be far less expensive than when interest rates return to something higher than their current historically low rates. But like everything else, the do-nothing Republican Senate sits on legislation to do that.
Grade “F”. https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/trumpometer/promise/1348/invest-550-billion-infrastructure-and-create-infra/
JUSTICE. Probably nothing is more disheartening than seeing a widely respected judiciary and Justice Department, the bulwark of liberty, in America dismantled to serve the partisan interests of one-party led by a lying and thieving President. History will not be kind to Majority leader McConnell who claims as his greatest achievement converting a judiciary known for quality and competence to one loaded with doctrinaire and often second rate jurists, appointed from an exclusive list of far-right adherents to an extremely narrow view of our Constitutional liberties. The result is a court whose decisions are mostly predictable by whether the judge has an “R” for Republican on their resume rather than their intellectual acumen. The U.S. Justice Department has become the lawyer for the President rather than the lawyer for America. It is a sad day for a gloried and vital institution.
Grade “F”. http://www.sigurdsonpost.com/2020/04/26/the-decline-of-the-rule-of-law-experiencing-the-unimaginable-in-western-society-economic-and-social-inequality-has-the-power-to-dramatically-reshape-democracies/
EDUCATION. Universal public education allowed everyone the opportunity to achieve a life for themselves limited only by their ambition and allowed America to create a unique nation populated by people of all faiths who arrived here speaking different languages. Our public and private colleges and universities are the envy of the world. Both have suffered under an education secretary with her thumb on the scale favoring private religious education over public education.
Grade “F”. https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/01/betsy-devos-christian-schools-vouchers-charter-education-secretary/
FINAL REPORT CARD—FOUR MORE YEARS NOT RECOMMENDED
Since the election of Donald Trump In 2016, our democracy and the institutions which underpin it, have been under sustained assault by an administration bent on turning American in to two countries, one for the privileged elite and one for the masses. The heart and soul of a free nation, equal opportunity and a just and fair society have been replaced a government animated by greed and power. It will take a generation to undo all that has been squandered in a few short years. If our country continues down the current path of dictatorship by one man and one party, America’s two-hundred-year experiment in Democracy will be remembered for what it once was.
It is up to us, at this critical moment in our history, to stand against the insanity of the last three years and restore America’s fundamental values of honesty, hard work, integrity, and justice. If we all vote, and if we contact every person we know, and urge them to turn out of office those who have shown such contempt for our institutions, for the free press, for free public education, decent health care, and fairness for all, we can ensure America lives up to its promise and our children and grandchildren have the opportunities we had and everyone deserves.
Let us do everything we can to make a difference in 2020.
Jerry and Penny Scribner