Tuesday, August 16, 2022
Aug. 16, 2022

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Press Talk: The Trump mess

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“There must be some kind of way outta here. Said the joker to the thief. There’s too much confusion. I can’t get no relief.”

— Written by Bob Dylan and made famous by Jimi Hendrix

It’s all unraveling now.

Not quite two years into the nightmare, the boorish bully with his ever-present cold pout, sees his presidency in peril.

With his henchmen uttering goofball phrases like “alternative facts” and “truth isn’t truth,” with a list of his chosen appointees looking more like the 10 Most Wanted list on the post office wall, Donald Trump sees it all slipping away. It’s even money now that he doesn’t make it to the end of his first term. But even if he manages that, there is no chance he could win a second term.

Don’t fret, Mr. Dylan and Hendrix. Relief is indeed on the way.

• • •

But what are some takeaways as the country tries to outlast a man who is the new poster boy for the ultimate “stunad.”

Who elected Trump?

Before there was Trump, we saw this entire bad act, this chaos, this media-hating strongman play out right here in River City. But how do guys like Trump and our very own former Clark County Councilor David Madore gain traction?

Who’s the main culprit? Well, my Democratic friends might be pointing their righteous finger at the Confederate-flag-waving, white-hoodie-wearing crowd. But if they were being honestly reflective, they’d turn that finger around and point it directly at themselves.

You heard that right, my liberal friends. The Democrats elect guys like Trump. You see, when the middle class feels like they’re being ignored, when they feel like the government is searching for causes to spend money on, when they feel like public-sector employees are getting much more than private-sector working stiffs, they get angry.

And when someone shows up on the scene and says, I’m not part of that governmental cabal and I will listen to you, welcome to the Trump nightmare.

It was all a lie, of course. Trump doesn’t give a rat’s behind about you and me. But the middle class was so desperate to be represented by someone — anyone — they rejected the Democrats and took a chance on some snake oil.

And that leads to the likes of Trump. And Madore.

When you think about it, these two guys are a lot alike.

• No political experience.

• Successful businessman.

• Rich.

• Talk a very good game.

• Most importantly, promise to shake things up.

Madore — like Trump — was elected not because of what he stood for, but rather what he didn’t stand for: the same ol’ same ol’ from a career politician.

But both men are terribly flawed. They appear to be listening, but what they’re really doing is waiting for you to shut your pie hole so they can tell you how it’s going to be.

In the end, Madore was one and done. Just like Trump will be.

Is good, good enough?

This is mostly about Trump today. Madore is long gone, at least publicly. And to be fair to Trump, he has done some good things.

The stock market continues to go up. He is correctly pushing our allies to pay more for their defense (we don’t need to always be the world’s cops). We’ll get better trade deals, and rogue countries are sleeping with one eye open because our president could do something crazy at any moment.

Still — for me and many others — that’s not enough to keep a guy like Trump around. Trump has simply done too much stupid stuff, like putting us on a path to destroy our environment. Who needs to wait 1.45 billion years for the tectonic plates to grind to a halt to kill us all? Trump can do it now.

But Trump’s real fatal flaw — the coup de gr?ce — is his character. I’ve got some intelligent friends who are Trump supporters who simply dismiss his character flaws. Politics is politics, they will say. They believe the end justifies the means. Well, they … are … wrong.

There are lines not to be crossed when it comes to acting in an irresponsible manner, and Trump crosses them daily.

So who pays?

Who knows if Trump can last out his first term but, for now, we can’t get to him. But voters still have a way of reaching out and touching him. And that’s called guilt by association. And Republicans are associated with him.

Look, I get that in off-year elections, the party that holds the White House often loses seats down ticket. But Trump has created an avalanche. And you can see it here locally.

U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, our Republican incumbent, should have been in a position to cakewalk her way to re-election. Ever since she won the seat eight years ago, she has appeared untouchable. The Democratic Party would spend no real money on the race and would force token opposition to run against her.

Everyone assumed it would be business as usual again this year. Someone by the name of Carolyn Long, a political neophyte who has spent much of her time across the river in Portland, thought she’d give it a whirl. She’s bright, energetic, a WSU Vancouver professor of politics and — frankly — knows her stuff. Of course all of that — plus $3 — still won’t get you a cup of joe at Starbucks or many votes in this district.

Or will it?

After the primary — amazingly — Long beat Herrera Beutler in Clark County. Now, this district is more than just Clark County, so when you include the other, more conservative areas, Herrera Beutler is ahead 42 to 35 percent. But this race should not be this close. It should be 2 to 1 Herrera Beutler. The Democrats believe it’s now in play. But why? Do I need to say it again? Trump.

There are several other local races that show the same. Democrat Kathy Gillespie beat Republican Larry Hoff in the 18th District state representative primary. Really? This is the seat that hard-right Liz Pike held and a Democrat is leading?

Oh my again!

My wish

So this great American experiment — called democracy — will play out once again. It’s often ugly and flawed and awkward. But it’s still the best thing going. And someday — who knows — there will be conservative-leaning Democrats and liberal-leaning Republicans, and they’ll get together and solve all our problems.

But in the meantime, there’s an election in a couple of months. And something needs to be done now.

Will someone pay the price because of Trump? I think so.

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