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How to Stop Trumpism?--- VOTE, VOTE, VOTE Down the Line for “Team Blue” October 23, 2018

Iowa. The Hawkeye State. A proud part of the plain-speaking, “We don’t take guff from anyone” Midwestern heartland. Well, in 11/2016, Iowans were hornswoggled. They fell for Don the “Con” Trump’s glib talk about how he would bring jobs back to this region and “right” all its trade problems by getting tough with China, Europe, Mexico, and just about any other foreigners supposedly “taking” Iowans’ jobs. Iowa, which Obama had carried in 2008 by 7 points and by 4 in 2012, flipped into “Column Red” voting for Donald by 9 percentage points, giving him its 6 electoral votes (See Wash. Post, Johnson, J. 2/26/17, CQ 14 Political Almanac). Now, Iowa realizes that it has been had by the crude, unfit, and demagogic fellow living in the White House. Donald’s insane name-calling and off-the-wall governing by tweet barrage has violated all the norms of “Iowa” nice that Hawkeye voters expect from their elected leaders (See, Ball, theatlantic.com, Wash. Post, Rucker, 8/07/14). According to a Morning Consult Poll, Donald’s IA approval score has gone from 49% in 1/2017 to 44% in 8/2018. His disapproval rating during that same time interval has gone from 40% to 52%, a net -17 change (morningconsult.com).

True, Donald is not officially on the ballot in midterm Campaign 2018. However, his fellow GOPers in the House, in the Senate, in governor’s mansions, and in state legislative chambers throughout the country are. The highly respected Des Moines Register could not have stated better what is at stake in the 2018 midterms. In its 10/13/2018 editorial, that paper declared that it was abandoning its usual policy of considering each congressional race on its own merits before making endorsements between Democrats and Republicans. Instead, it told its readers to send home its three GOP Congressmen Reps. Rod Blum (IA 1st CD), David Young (IA-3rd CD), and Steve King (IA 4th CD), while re-electing 2nd CD Dem. Cong. Dave Loebsack (No IA U.S. Senators are on the ballot this year.). The Register rightfully ripped 4th CD GOP Cong. xenophobe Steve King, an individual who spends his time with European fascist leaders and retweeting neo-Nazis, those “fine” people we saw in action in Charlottesville, VA in 8/2017 (see desmoinesregister.com, 10/13/18). Why did the Des Moines Register take this stand? The Register stated it was calling for a vote for the entire Democratic ticket because the present GOP Congress (both House and Senate) has become the “party of Trump.” In the Register’s words, “the Republicans have forsaken traditional conservatism and given voters ‘no rational alternative’ to the Democrats. The party needs to be voted out of power and spend a few years becoming again the party of Lincoln, not the party of Trump.” The Register added that the GOP majority has “twiddled its thumbs” while Trump started a trade war with China. Trump’s imposition of tariffs has provoked Chinese retaliation that is hurting IA farmers by threatening its export markets. The paper noted that this GOP Congress even allowed the Farm Bill to expire, leaving town without resolving differences (desmoinesregister.com, 10/13/18).

The Des Moines Register could not have made it clearer. It rightly called out the GOP Congress for “abdicating its constitutional duty and failing to provide a check and balance to the executive branch.” Remember, congressional oversight has been part of our system since the time of Pres. Washington, when his own Federalist Party investigated problems involving that administration. During WWII, Democrat Harry Truman, with Dem. FDR in the White House, investigated abuses in awarding military contracts. Truman was not muzzled by FDR or his fellow majority Senate Democrats. He was not told to cover up such wrongdoing. Truman was, instead, rewarded with the Vice-Presidency in 1944 for this independent work and succeeded to the Oval Office when FDR died in 12/1945 (See McCullough, D., “Truman,” 1992).

The Des Moines Register aptly accused key GOPers of “being complicit in trying to obstruct and undermine the investigation of a foreign power’s interference in a U.S. election (Attention, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and California Congressmen Devin Nunes and Dana Rohrabacher).” The Register went on to state that by their silence they (the GOP Congress) have “tacitly endorsed Trump’s racism, misogyny, white nationalism, divisiveness, and cruelty.” The Register called the GOP trifecta, President, House, and Senate a failure on improving health care. All the GOP Congress wanted to do was repeal and dismantle Obama’s health care reform with no replacement of its own that a majority of Americans could support. The GOP Congress’ one “success?” Another colossal failure—passing a tax cut that would add $1.9 trillion to the debt, no way to put the nation on sound fiscal footing, a GOP theme. And then, IA’s three congressional GOPers voted in 9/2018 for another $3.8 trillion in tax cuts (desmoinesregister.com, 10/13/18). The GOP, the Register also noted, failed to enact comprehensive immigration reform. They allowed protection to expire on young undocumented immigrants brought here as children (DACA) and stood by as Trump tried to bar Muslims from certain countries from coming to the U.S. This same GOP Congress looked the other way when young children coming with their parents to this country were cruelly separated at the border and held in detention. There was no GOP congressional outcry when immigration authorities lost track of some of these youngsters. And this GOP Congress couldn’t even fund Donald’s border wall, his and their major obsession (see desmoinesregister.com, 10/13/18). The Register correctly noted that during the Obama years, the GOP deliberately employed partisan gridlock. Republicans then said all this gridlock and legislative failure would end if the public elected a President and Congress from the same party, theirs. As the saying goes, “Be careful what you wish for.” The “Team Red” trifecta got their chance to prove that they could govern but nothing changed. As the Register’s editorial title put it, “The GOP has failed to govern; give Democrats a chance (desmoinesregister.com, 10/13/18).”

The Des Moines Register editorial is no outlier. On 9/19/2018, a Los Angeles Times editorial also called midterm Campaign 2018 “different,” and more than about deciding whether Candidate A is better than Candidate B. In similar wording, the Times called the present 115th Republican Congress one that has “consistently failed to stand up to a dangerous and inexperienced demagogue (fellow GOP Oval Office occupant Trump).” The LA Times stated that this GOP Congress has “declined to call him (Trump) out when he has attacked democratic institutions, told lies, rejected science and attacked the news media or the judiciary.” The Times added a chilling comment, “The GOP leaders of the Senate and House, though they undoubtedly know better, have made the politically expedient but cynical decision not to act as a meaningful check on his misbehavior. That makes them (the GOP Congress) complicit in his misrule.” Exactly. The Times then stated that Trump’s ability to move the “worst pieces of his agenda, his ability to act with impunity, even his reelection may turn on which party controls Congress.” The LA Times aptly noted, “Society is better served by a Congress that acts as a bulwark of democracy and an antidote to demagoguery. And that hasn’t been the case under Republican control (latimes.com, 9/19/18).” Translation: It is time for a real check on Demagogue Donald.

No, no, and no, the congressional GOP has not in any way, shape, or form stood up to Trump’s demagoguery. Its political backbone is missing. The extremist MAGA (Make America Great) crowd are wagging the GOP congressional dog’s tail. To paraphrase Al Gore, “It is time for them to go.” The GOP Congress has aided and abetted Trump and will do so with impunity should Democrats fail to take back one of Congress’ two chambers. GOP governors and state legislators overwhelmingly tow the Trump line as well. On 11/06/2018, we must stop Trumpism in its tracks. How do we do that? There is only one way. VOTE, VOTE, VOTE in droves down the line, for Senators, members of Congress, Governors, and state legislators with the “D” after their names. Do not believe the talk of any GOPer who says he/she will be an “independent” voice against Donald. Those are just cheap campaign promises that history shows will be quickly broken. The totally owned Trump GOP from top to bottom must be given one big political whipping. This electoral punishment will then make “Team Red” understand that if it wants to be viable in 21st Century USA, it must totally divorce itself from Donald. Nothing else will do.