Jeanette Strong: Living in Trump’s America
“You won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America.” Trump campaign ad, showing clips of riots, burning buildings, and general unrest.
Much of President Donald Trump’s re-election strategy is based on his claim that if Vice President Joe Biden is elected president, America will be plunged into a nightmare of crime, economic failure, etc. The irony is that we aren’t living in Biden’s America; we’re living in Trump’s America. Whatever responsibility a president bears for what happens in our country, Trump bears it.
When Trump took office, unemployment was 4.8 percent. Millions of jobs had been created over the previous seven years. The stock market was setting records, starting in March 2009. The economic recovery, begun in July 2009, had been steady for 91 consecutive months. This record-breaking recovery continued for a total of 128 months. (Forbes, Feb. 17, 2020).
The United States had re-established its standing in the world. Tens of millions of Americans had access to affordable health insurance. This is what Trump inherited on Jan. 20, 2017.
Since then, unemployment has hit Depression-level highs. All of the jobs created over the previous 10 years, 22.2 million, evaporated in just two months, March and April 2020. Millions of people lost their health insurance when they lost their jobs.
Throughout his life, Trump has failed, through incompetence and mismanagement, in almost everything he’s attempted. Now he’s doing to the United States what he did to most of his businesses. Following are some of Trump’s recent failures and lies.
Economy: Under President Barack Obama, the highest unemployment rate hit 10 percent, in October 2009. In Trump’s America, in April 2020, the unemployment rate hit 14.7 percent. Through July 31, 2020, there were 20 straight weeks of first-time filings for unemployment benefits. More than 16 million people are now unemployed. Millions face eviction and homelessness because they can’t pay their mortgage or rent.
In the second quarter of 2020, the Gross Domestic Product dropped faster than in any other quarter of U.S. history, contracting at a 32.9 percent annualized rate. It will take years to recover from this historic collapse in GDP. (Economic Policy Institute, July 30, 2020).
Health care: In Trump’s America, COVID-19 is raging out of control, with tens of thousand of Americans dying every month. In 2009, the world was subjected to the H1N1 flu which killed 12,469 Americans in 13 months. Businesses and schools stayed open and the economy kept growing. Trump called Obama’s response to H1N1 “a complete and total disaster.” (Tweet, May 26, 2020)
As of Aug. 21, we’ve had 174,963 Americans die from COVID-19, in less than eight months, with the count still rising. Millions more lives have been ruined through illness, business failures, unemployment, school closures, and the stresses these events produce. And that beautiful, affordable health care plan Trump has been promising for 4½ years? Nowhere in sight.
The Constitution: Trump shows contempt for the Constitution in his handling of the Post Office and the census, both constitutionally mandated. He has tried to usurp the powers granted to Congress. He has worked repeatedly to weaken the First Amendment by changing libel laws, the right of assembly, and so on. He has sent anonymous federal troops to kidnap and tear-gas American citizens exercising their right to protest.
He said he wants to restrict the vote and delay the upcoming election, a classic authoritarian move. He’s invited foreign governments to interfere in our elections. He’s now promoting doubts about the integrity of the election in order to create more chaos. He’s embraced the totalitarianism of President Putin of Russia while ignoring the constitutional protections guaranteed to the American people.
Crime: Trump has a campaign ad claiming Joe Biden wants to defund the police. As usual, this is a lie. Biden has said many times he is opposed to defunding the police. (Washington Post, July 31, 2020)
To drum up fear, Trump also claims crime is out of control, but according to FBI data, violent crime has been dropping consistently since 1991, although under Trump, gun violence has increased.
Trump treats the federal government as a reality show run for his benefit, focusing on ratings and polls. As a consequence, Trump’s America is poorer, sicker, and weaker than we have been in decades. The world views us with pity. All this so-called “winning” and “making America great” is destroying our country.
Can we really survive four more years of this? This November, vote as if your life depends on it, because it very well may.
Jeanette Strong, whose column appears every other week, is a Nevada Press Association award-winning columnist. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.