ELECTION 2020: DEMOCRATS CAN TURN LEMONS INTO SWEET LEMONADE
You Can Not Think Yourself Into Right Action, You Can Only Act Yourself Into Right Thinking
By Vic Gerami
2020 is a rollercoaster that will not stop, even after the election, surprising us at every corner, testing our will, and challenging us to keep going. Since 2017, America has suffered greatly under Donald Trump’s disastrous administration. The economy has deteriorated for average Americans, only making the rich even richer. Trump’s actions have eroded our reputation internationally and created many enemies. Corruption and fraud at the highest levels of government have chipped away people’s fate in the system. Racist and vigilante groups are emboldened by the President’s racist, xenophobic, homophobic, transphobic, sexist, and misogynist rhetoric. The US leads the world in COVID-19 (CoronaVirus) cases. Our troops and veterans have been insulted. Most Americans are fatigued, frustrated, and have reached their tipping point. The list goes on.
But how did this happen and where do we go from here?
It started with our so-called ‘president,’ or should I say the president of about 30-million right-wing Republicans? After inheriting a robust economy from President Obama, Trump spent four years dismantling the painstaking work that his predecessor had done.
He passed a bill giving tax breaks to the top %1 of Americans and corporations. He tried to overturn the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), but failed thanks to Senator John McCain. His Administration has significantly reduced funding for HIV/AIDS.
He overturned several laws and protections for the LGBTQ+ community, especially trans-Americans. He banned trans Americans from serving in the military, routinely spewing anti-trans rhetoric to justify his discrimination.
Trump managed to alienate all our allies, set us back decades in environmental protections, and scapegoat immigrants to appease his xenophobic base. All this while the White House was a revolving door of top officials being fired and resigning in protest.
His top henchmen aided and abetted their corrupt boss while committing fraud, treason, and crimes along the way.
Steve Bannon who worked on Trump’s presidential campaign and later worked as White House chief strategist, was charged with defrauding Trump supporters in a campaign to help build the president’s signature wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Roger Stone, Trump’s longtime friend, and adviser was convicted of lying under oath to lawmakers investigating Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. He was convicted on all seven criminal counts of obstruction of a congressional investigation, five counts of making false statements to Congress, and tampering with a witness.
A Washington jury in November 2019 convicted Stone on all seven criminal counts of obstruction of a congressional investigation, five counts of making false statements to Congress, and tampering with a witness. The day before Stone was due to report to prison to begin serving a sentence of three years and four months, Trump commuted his sentence.
Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman was found guilty of tax fraud and bank fraud in a jury trial in August 2018. A month later, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges related to money laundering, lobbying violations, and witness tampering. Prosecutors said he tried to conceal millions of dollars he was paid as a political consultant for pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians. He was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison and in May was released to finish his sentence at home due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer is serving a three-year prison sentence at home due to the coronavirus pandemic. He pleaded guilty in August 2018 to crimes including orchestrating ‘hush money’ payments before the 2016 election to women who had said they had sexual encounters with Trump.
Cohen also pleaded guilty in November 2018 to lying to Congress about negotiations concerning a proposed Trump Tower in Moscow, a project that never materialized. He said Trump implicitly directed him to lie about the project.
Michael Flynn, the retired Army lieutenant general served as Trump’s national security adviser for less than a month in 2017. He pleaded guilty that year to lying to the FBI about his interactions with Russia’s ambassador to the United States in the weeks before Trump took office.
He then accused the FBI of entrapping him and asked the judge to dismiss the charge. The Justice Department has denied the allegations of prosecutorial misconduct. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has yet to rule on the matter.
Rick Gates, the former deputy chairman of Trump’s campaign pleaded guilty in February 2018 to conspiracy against the United States and lying to investigators. Gates agreed to cooperate with former Special Counsel Robert Mueller and testified as a prosecution witness against Manafort, his former business partner, and Stone. Gates was sentenced in December 2019 to 45 days in jail.
George Nader, an informal Trump adviser on foreign policy and witness in the Mueller investigation, was sentenced in June to 10 years in prison by a federal judge in Virginia. He pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography and bringing a boy to the United States for sex.
George Papadopoulos, the former Trump campaign adviser was sentenced in September 2018 to 14 days in prison after pleading guilty in October 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials and a Maltese professor who told him the Russians had “dirt” on Clinton.
The ’Hoax’ That Killed 200,000+ Americans
Then came COVID-19 (CoronaVirus) at the beginning of the year. While the world was monitoring the spread of the disease, Trump and his cronies called it a ‘hoax.’
While other countries prepared, Trump continued to downplay the threat publicly — comparing it to the typical flu, insisting the virus would disappear quickly once the weather gets warmer. The president appeared committed to keeping the public focused on more upbeat matters such as the rising stock market.
It was revealed by veteran journalist Bob Woodward’s book, ‘Rage,’ and corresponding taped conversations with Trump that the seriousness of the virus was kept from the public. Trump privately told Woodward on Feb. 7 that the coronavirus was “deadly stuff” transmitted by air, a threat “more deadly” than the flu, the warnings around him had been rampant.
Top administration health officials largely sought to soothe the public, repeatedly insisting that the “immediate threat” to the nation was low and encouraging people to take only basic preventative measures.
More than 200,000 Americans died from COVID-19 by late September 2020. As a result of the virus and Trump’s lack of leadership, the US economy is devastated, with more than 40-million Americans unemployed or under-employed.
The Tax Returns Expose
In September 2020, New York Times reported that President Donald Trump paid just $750 in federal income tax the year he entered the White House — and no income tax at all in 11 of the 18 years that the Times reviewed — served to raise doubts about Trump’s self-image as a shrewd and successful businessman.
Trump also financed an extravagant lifestyle with the sue of business expenses. From his homes, his aircraft — and $70,000 on hairstyling during his television show “The Apprentice” — Trump has capitalized on the cost incurred from his businesses to finance a luxurious lifestyle.
The Last Power Grab-The Supreme Court
In 2016, Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked President Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court seat after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, arguing that it was an election year. Almost 8 months were left before the election, yet McConnell and Lindsey Graham blocked the appointment.
After the death of Justice Right Bader Ginsburg, McConnell and Senate Republicans are rushing to replace her, days before Nov 3 and while many states have started voting. President Trump nominated far-right conservative Judge Amy Coney Barrett with a history of anti-LGBTQ, ACA, Marriage Equality, and a woman’s right to choose.
McConnell won’t adhere to the principle he invented, that the Senate should not fill an open seat in an election year before a new president is sworn in. But Mr. McConnell is determined to secure a conservative majority on the court regardless of his own treatment of Judge Garland. A 6-3 conservative Supreme Court would be catastrophic for America in decades to come. The addition of a sixth conservative justice will shift the court’s center further to the right, changing the dynamics of coalition-building and the justice who occupies the key position as the swing vote who casts decisive votes on hot button issues, legal experts said.
The Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), Roe vs. Wade, LGBTQ+ rights, and much more are at stake if the Democrats are unable to block the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett.
Plan B: Cheat the Election-AGAIN
Donald Trump regularly breaks with democratic norms and values and is now openly suggesting that he might manipulate the electoral system to help him win a second term. With studies showing that 2/3 of Democrats plan to vote by mail, while 2/3 of Republicans will vote in person, Trump appointed his grossly underqualified friend and donor, Louis DeJoy as Postmaster General to make it harder for people to vote by mail.
Over the summer, the Postal Service began taking 671 high-speed mail sorters offline and removing and sometimes relocating dozens of mailboxes in Oregon, Montana, Arizona, Ohio, Pennsylvania, California, and other states. The moves sparked an outcry from Democrats and voting rights watchdogs, who worried about potential mail slowdowns heading into the election. 90 House Democrats have called for DeJoy’s resignation.
Trump aides are exploring executive actions to curb voting by mail. Trump’s final safety net is to challenge the election results should he lose, so that it ends up in the Supreme Court like in 2000. With the realities of the current court and the possible confirmation of Barrett, the writing is on the wall.
What We Can Do
Forget Al Gore vs. George W. Bush or any other election since. This is the election of our life that will either put us on a long and challenging road to recovery with Biden/Harris or dismantle what is left of democracy and decency in America.
Let’s Flip The Senate
Democrats have an excellent chance of keeping the House and flipping the Senate. You can support candidates who are running against Republican Senators in key states. Jaime Harrison has a good chance of defeating Republican Lindsey Graham in South Carolina. Sara Gideon has a lead over Republican Susan Collins in Maine. Cal Cunningham can beat Republican Thom Tillis in North Carolina. Theresa Greenfield has a good chance to defeat Republican Joni Ernst. Mark Kelly could defeat Republican Martha McSally. And Amy McGrath can use all the support to beat Republican Mitch McConnell in Kentucky.
Register To Vote + Check Your Vote Registration
Election Day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020. The deadline to register online to vote is Monday, October 19. The deadline for registering by mail to vote is (postmarked by) Monday, October 19. The deadline to register in-person to vote is Tuesday, November 3. The early voting period runs from Monday, October 5 to Monday, November 2, but dates and hours may vary based on where you live. You can also register and vote on Election Day. VOTE.org.
From Advocate To Activist
Much more work can be done as we head toward the election. Key campaign and Democratic organizations can use much-needed donations. You can also volunteer for phone-banks at various organizations. Contact the below organizations in Southern California or contact the Democratic National Committee if you live outside of Southern CA.
Democratic National Committee
Westside Democratic Headquarters
Grassroots Democrats Headquarters
Santa Monica Democratic Club
Heart of L.A. Democratic Club
I interview members of Congress, as well as leaders from various Democratic organizations to bring you election coverage on national, regional, and local levels, coast to coast, and A to Z. Tune-in on Mondays, at 7:00 AM (PT), to KPFK 90.7 FM and Livestream at KPFK.org. Show archives are available on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and Spotify.