It’s November 4, 2020. So, we Spirited Reasoners are looking back, wondering why the man who squeaked through the Electoral College in 2016 failed to build on that accomplishment à la George W. Bush in 2004.
Three words say it all: Selfishness, Fear, and Hate
Soon after he took office in 2017, President Trump had a choice. Enjoying majority support in both the U. S. Senate and House of Representatives, he could have chosen for his first policy initiative an infrastructure bill that would have gained him two huge political bargaining chips, each worth millions of votes in the 2020 election. First, many of those projects, being of enormous scope (roads, bridges, dams, railroads, airports, etc.), would still be works in progress, employing Americans in red and blue districts across the nation. Second, a huge infrastructure bill would have enabled him to work across the aisle, attracting Democratic Party support, because taxpayer dollars would now be flowing into every district regardless of party.
What did he do instead? He forgot about infrastructure and pushed forward a tax cut aimed at lining his own pockets. Then, he chose to wait until Democrats won back the House of Representatives, at which point he played to the basest members of his base. [Redundancy intended.] He chose to “build that wall,” that big, beautiful wall aimed at keeping out all those murderers and rapists, not to mention all of their children who apparently deserved to be ripped from the arms of their parents, who were kept in cages.
Then, when vote after vote failed to overturn the Affordable Care Act, he chose to challenge key provisions of that statute in court, this despite the fact that millions of Americans were testing positive for the novel COVID-19.
Finally (for purposes of this post, but definitely not the last in the litany of his failures), President Trump faced a moment that could have led to the beginning of a healing process so many of us deeply crave, and which might have saved his re-election. In the face of the death of George Floyd, he could have called for a federal initiative aimed at enhancing the training and professionalism of police forces in towns and cities, small and large, across the nation.
What did he do instead? He doubled down on the remarks he made during the invasion of Charlottesville, Virginia by white supremacists. He chose to declare that folks who believed Black Lives Matter were pawns of an extremist, terrorist organization.
To be successful, President-elect Joe Biden need only build (or rebuild) what President Trump has neglected or destroyed. By championing infrastructure legislation, expansion of the Affordable Care Act, and racial inclusion, he will be prioritizing compassion over selfishness, hope over fear, and love over hate. Not a bad agenda for the next four years.
But … what’s that you say? … today’s date is October 10, 2020. It’s not November at all.
Guess all this could be premature. Or inaccurate. Might depend on what we Spirited Reasoners choose to do on Election Day.