I have noticed headlines stating Biden still leads the presidential race. Behind titles like that, one can sense a fear that in the last weeks before Election Day, recovered from COVID-19, Trump again will pull some magic and win. In reference to the famous Access Hollywood tapes released in October 2016, a few weeks before the previous presidential election, I call it the October surprise syndrome. For a prudent person, it was obvious to foresee that video as the end of the political career of Donald J. Trump. How could such a vulgar man bragging about groping women – which is disgusting, immoral, and illegal – ever be elected president? A few days later, Trump supporters did not want to talk about this matter.
Since then, a gallery of people who worked with Trump have come out with testimonies confirming what everyone can conclude from what Trump tweets or says publicly: that he is incompetent as president and despicable as a person. Despite that, Trump has received unquestioning support from the GOP and is just a few points behind Joe Biden in opinion polls. What is Trump’s sorcery that makes him immune to faults that would have destroyed any other politician a long time ago?
We can find out by listening to Trump’s adversaries. For example, Mollie Gray decided to separate from her Trump-supporting family. She sees them as “ignorant, selfish, racist, and bigoted deplorables,” despite the fact that they have faces she “loved all her life.” It disgusts her that they ignore all her moral arguments against Trump, but she feels justified in her dismissal of their assertions that it is about the economy. Meaningfully, she mentions with disapproval that her family was highly critical of President Obama. Ms. Gray was not curious to find out why decent people “she loved” considered Obama a worse president than Trump.
The question in front of us is whether a person of dubious morals could be a good president? Bill Clinton got away with his womanizing. After all, we elect a leader, not a saint.
Immigration, Trump’s Achilles’ heel
From day one, Trump has been against immigration. Immigrants made America great. But from the very beginnings of the republic, many of them, as soon as they got in, advocated for shutting the gate behind them so that no more immigrants would be arriving. That nativistic trend always appealed to the worst aspects of human nature: racism, religious biases, and xenophobia. About one hundred years ago, that orientation prevailed, culminating in the Immigration Act of 1924. With modifications, the key provisions of that law are still the core of our immigration policy. It is un-American in its concept, it is harmful to our economy, and it is disrespectful for those foreigners who aspire to become Americans. As a result, our immigration law is unenforceable, and we have millions of illegal immigrants.
To prosper, the United States requires more immigrants than its immigration law allows. Presently, about 45 million Americans are foreign-born, which is about 14% of the population. That number is estimated because about one-quarter of immigrants are undocumented ones, and there is a controversy about how many of them are in the United States. In Canada, legal immigrants are about 22% of the population; they are almost 30% in Australia. To match Canada’s immigration level, the United States would need to admit an additional 22 million new immigrants and legalize all the presently undocumented ones. There is no politician in the United States brave enough to tell his or her voters the truth that we need many more immigrants.
The failed immigration reform in 2006 proposed a mild increase in legal immigration. Nativists opposed it vividly. They got support from a few pro-union Democratic senators, including Barack Obama and independent Bernie Sanders, killing a humble attempt to make our immigration policy more realistic.
For more than a century, Americans have been brainwashed into how great our immigration policy is. They do not know that our immigration rules are a bunch of nonsense, but it infuriates them that we do not enforce the law. Trump’s ornery claims about immigration resonated with these frustrations. The family members of Mollie Gray, like most Americans, are angry with our immigration mess. Trump told them that the kid-gloves method used by the preceding administrations is the problem. He took a “gloves are off” approach, which appeals to people who get their hands dirty at work.
The current administration uses brute force to impose our immigration law, allowing us to see clearly how inhumane and silly it is. This makes Trump vulnerable as supporting this nonsense. For Ms. Gray, it could be an opportunity to demonstrate to her father that Trump is wrong on economic grounds.
Ms. Gray fails to recognize that her family members are not the only ones deceived by a century of systematic disinformation. On immigration, revered by her, Barack Obama is deluded as well. So are left-leaning Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. In their immigration policy proposals, there were no mentions about increasing immigration. They are for using kid gloves again in the implementation of our inhuman immigration policy.
Trump won the election as the leader of the deceived. Troubleshooting immigration from a business point of view tells us that Trump’s immigration policy follows the master of deception’s demagogy. His flagship project of building the border wall is as realistic as politicians being able to make 2+2=5. I bring the links to my previous writings on the subject to underline that our critique of immigration policy is as old as the policy itself. I did not come up with anything new there; I reported publicly known facts and arguments.
However, Ms. Gray could not find this kind of reasoning in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, or The Atlantic, or by listening to NPR or watching CNN. Medium did not promote articles with these kinds of ideas, either. Trump won his presidency mostly due to his ruthless immigration policy. He has a real chance to get four more years because, to satisfy their political agenda, his opponents have not scrutinized the concepts of our immigration policy and did not prepare a better alternative.
Obamacare, the revenge
It is another example of Trump playing on the failures of his opponents.
The rule in democracy is that a given political formation can be governing today but could be in opposition after the next election. It means that any significant legislation needs to have the meaningful support of the opposition to withstand future challenges.
It was not the case with the Affordable Care Act. The Republicans were unanimously against it, and some Democrats were as well. Despite that, the Democrats managed to pass it with a razor-thin majority. The family members of Ms. Gray most likely had in mind that single act of betrayal of democratic traditions when condemning Obama. They probably did not read the Federalist Papers, but they felt in their bones that something was not right. In this sense, Democrats lost the previous presidential election because of Barack Obama, not Hillary Clinton.
Although Obamacare did not fulfill its promises, politicians did not sit down together to develop a workable solution acceptable to both sides. They continue their ego fights when Americans are suffering due to inferior healthcare. Had they agreed on a better healthcare policy, they could have a presidential candidate who could win against Trump. That candidate could be a Republican or a Democrat, but, for sure, better for America than Trump.
Now the family of Ms. Gray, as well as all Americans, has a tough choice. Should they stay with Trump, who opposes Obamacare, or should they risk going with the Democrats, who might care about democratic traditions as much as Obama did? Ms. Gray did not notice that this dilemma is real.
In the old times, when we had clocks with pointers, people used to say that even a broken clock shows time correctly twice a day. Almost everything Trump says, tweets, or does makes little sense, except his action on climate change. In general, he is correct on this matter.
In major media, the dominant mantra is that our civilization will collapse soon if we do not spend in short order all the money we have and all the money we can borrow to fight the human-caused climate change. It got my attention because that massive spending would affect my quality of life. After looking closer at the science and money in the climate change debate, I concluded that it is not about climate and it is not change. It is more like going with a hoe against the Sun because it is the biggest swindle of the century.
I offer links to my writing on the subject, but in them, I only report what I found reasonable and convincing in the public domain. Again, Ms. Gray could not find these kinds of reasons in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, or The Atlantic, or by listening to NPR or watching CNN. Medium does not promote articles with these kinds of ideas, either. A few Medium members blocked me when I tried to engage them in a debate. I guess that the family members of Ms. Gray are among about half of Americans who at least have an ear for the voice of skeptics.
Most people should not need to devote all their leisure time to studying our political dilemmas, as I do. Why should they? This is the job of media. But, intuitively, people sense that something is wrong with that climate change alarmist message when they see the silencing of scientists who oppose the majority’s views.
The logical conclusion is that Trump is on to something when claiming the elites try to screw up the masses by media manipulation. Ms. Gray does not see this connection; she blames her family. And about half of Americans.
It is a joke of the century when President Trump claims that he will protect us from socialism. For starters, our current immigration policy is a purely socialistic concept. By defending it and brutally enforcing it, he is the socialist in charge. However, Trump is not a socialist from the camp of Bernie Sanders. He is more like Benito Mussolini or Juan Perón. Narrow-minded nationalism is his agenda; populism is the venue.
With the political chaos and economic stagnation in the United States, many young Americans see socialism as a valid alternative. Other Americans fear socialism as the end of their freedoms. For someone who lived in a socialistic country, studied socialism, and fought it, the whole American affair with socialism is a tragicomedy. Having relatively little education on political matters, both supporters and opponents of socialism in America have one thing in common; they have a vague knowledge of what socialism is.
For Trump, it is an opportunity to convince about half of Americans fearing socialism that he can protect them from the other half of Americans who look at socialism more favorably. Again, his opponents, especially those from under the banners of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, cannot call him a socialist because this would mean acknowledging that socialism is evil.
Had the media conducted open public debates about the potential benefits and risks of socialism, a better-educated society would not fall for either side’s demagogy. Instead of discussions, we have political fights. Trump knows how to win by ramming the juggernaut of his demagogy throughout our messy politics.
Family members of Ms. Gray and many other Americans may buy it not because they found Trump convincing or likable. They may calculate that with his incompetence, he is not effective in implementing his ridiculous ideas. Courts block his rulings left and right. But, from a long-term perspective, Trump’s incompetence might be less damaging to the nation than governance by, often better educated, Democrats. Now strongly influenced by pro-socialistic factions, if winning the presidency, Democrats can manage to impose on the country more pro-socialistic solutions, which could be as ineffective, as costly, and as hard to reverse as Obamacare. This would put the United States on the same path as Argentina took about a century ago.
Ms. Gray did not think about this possibility when cutting her ties with her family. She would not find this suggestion in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, or The Atlantic, or by listening to NPR or watching CNN.
The above speculations have little use in the upcoming election. With so many leading politicians at an advanced age, with COVID-19 roaming around, we cannot exclude the possibility of unexpected turns before the inauguration of the newly elected Congress and president. Regardless who it will be, the problems before us will be the same. Unless we address them head-on, we will start anew the enchanted circle of political nonsense, but with new actors and different music.