In the decades I have been writing for Greek American publications, I have never been shy about expressing my views, but I have never endorsed a political candidate. I am doing so this year. I believe President Trump has become a menace to our national health, welfare, environment, and democratic institutions. I do not base my evaluation on Trump’s offensive personality, but his presidential record. Even single-issue voters tempted to vote for Trump need to examine the entire Trump political package, all of whose consequences they will have to endure.
Trump is not responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, but he is responsible for our disastrous national response. Our daily COVID-19 death rate exceeds the annual total in many comparable nations. Currently, infection rates are spiking and the daily death toll is again topping 1,000. Nonetheless, the President has the audacity to tell the nation that the virus is “disappearing” and continues to operate in an irresponsible manner. Biden, in contrast, has followed the Center for Disease Control guidelines and pledges to adopt a national COVID-19 policy similar to those of nations that have successfully stemmed the pandemic.
The economic impact of the virus, magnified by its prolonged intensity and duration, has been devastating. The wealth of the super-rich has increased during the past year, but on Main Street, the picture is quite different. Businesses with less than 100 employees provide 50% of the nation’s jobs. One out of every three such enterprises closed last year. Now, fast food chains estimate 35,000 of their franchise units will be shut down shortly. About 38,000 hotels/motels that employ 1.6 million Americans also are closing. Moreover, massive payroll cuts are scheduled by the airline and entertainment industries. The government reports 23 million Americans are currently unemployed. That number includes part-time workers but does not count millions who have exhausted their benefits.
Shortly after his COVID-19 infection, Trump declared any economic stimulus package would be put off until he was re-elected. Wall Street tanked, and Trump immediately reversed himself. He spoke of a stimulus bill even larger than that proposed by Democrats, but his actual offer was considerably less. He is now too busy campaigning to bother meeting with Congressional leaders who can make the stimulus happen.
The President declined to reject the support of xenophobes and racists when invited to do so by Biden in the presidential debate. He has not proposed any legislation actions to calm the racial tensions evoked by police criminal misconduct. He has labeled the Black Lives Matter movement a Marxist conspiracy and derides Kamala Harris, the first black woman to run for Vice-President, as a monster and a Communist.
Biden’s position is that all violent rioting is unacceptable, but that the right to social protest is a priceless cornerstone of American democracy. He supports legislation to ban choke holds and other practices inappropriate for proper policework.
September was the warmest month in human history, capping the warmest decade in human history. Warming ocean waters have fed increasing vicious hurricanes while spectacular Artic meltdowns are raising shorelines, threatening the viability of seaside centers such as Miami Beach. The dry weather also has fed the historic fires in the West and the draught in the Southwest. Trump, stubbornly refusing to call this climate change, champions legislation that subsidizes fossil fuels and relaxes environmental regulations. Biden’s perspective involves a thirty-year plan prioritizing alternative energy and retraining fossil fuel workers to handle the new technology at hand.
Trump has alienated major allies such as Germany, France, Canada, and Mexico while embracing vile dictators in Brazil, North Korea, and the Philippines. He praises Turkey’s Erdogan and has assisted Turkey in seizing territory in northern Syria. His impulsive, last-minute election promise to leave Afghanistan by Christmas has brought him the endorsement of the Taliban who will take power when the United States leaves. Trump’s Iranian policies have resulted in Iran rapidly moving toward having a nuclear bomb. North Korea’s response to Trump’s praise has been to display a new missile capable of reaching America. Biden promises to restore our credibility with traditional allies and specifically castigates leaders such as Erdogan. His view is that America first does not mean America isolated.
The COVID-19 epidemic has strained our electoral system. Rather than aid states to address this unique challenge by facilitating mail voting and early in person voting, Trump has deepened the crisis with various means aimed at curtailing voting. Not coincidently, he has stated that he fears he will lose if there is a big turnout. He also is setting up a claim that the election has been rigged.
Unlike 2016, voters can judge Donald Trump by his performance rather than his promises and showmanship. A decade was needed to recover from Bush’s Great Recession. Much longer will be needed to recover from the damage Trump has already done. Healing can begin with the election of Joe Biden as President of the United States.