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Democrats — Please Don’t Blow This Election

One thing that has been lost in the furor of the Democratic primary contest is that Trump’s approval ratings are slowly creeping upwards. A brand new NBC News/WSJ poll indicated that Trump’s job rating is now 47 percent — tied for his all-time high in the survey. Moreover, 53 percent approve of his handling of the economy.

Similarly, Trump’s approval rating in the Gallup poll has been at 49% for the second month in a row. Trump’s approval rating in the Real Clear Politics average is now 46% approve with 51% disapprove. I hate to say it but Trump looks stronger than he did six months ago. Trump could win the all important electoral college with 46% of the popular vote — just like he did in 2016.

Trump’s ascent in the polls has historical parallels in previous election years. When an incumbent president is presiding over a decent economy and begins to be compared to the opposition, his approval ratings tend to rise.

In 1971, Nixon’s approval ratings were in the 40s and the economy was mired in a recession. By 1972, the economy was improving and Nixon looked good compared to the Democrats. While Nixon was hobnobbing with the Chinese leaders in Beijing, the Democrats were engaged in a circular firing squad in New Hampshire and Wisconsin. Nixon’s approval ratings broke 50% and he was easily re-elected.

Similarly, in 1995, Bill Clinton had been wounded by the 1994 GOP landslide and his approval ratings were below 50%. Subsequently, the Republicans shutdown the government two times, nominated the dull Bob Dole and the economy took off. Clinton was re-elected in 1996 by a margin of 379 to 169 in the electoral college.

Obama followed a similar trajectory during the 2011–12 cycle. In mid 2011, Obama’s approval ratings were in the low 40s and the economy was sluggish. By 2012, the economy was getting better and the GOP nominated a corporate raider who got extremely wealthy by firing people and looting companies. As we all know, Obama was re-elected by a 332 to 206 margin in the electoral college over Mitt Romney.

Don’t think that history can’t repeat itself in 2020. The economy is slowly improving and the Democratic primary is messy. The Republicans will try to win this election by touting the economy and contending that the Democratic nominee’s (imaginary) extremism will allegedly wreck the economy.

What we need to do as Democrats is to point out (correctly) that Trump is the true extremist in the race. Trump’s positions on health care, the economy and executive power are well outside of the mainstream. We can’t let the voters forget that. Amnesia is the GOP’s ally.

Trump’s extremism is most pronounced in the area of health care. In 2016, Trump promised to “insure everybody” and “great health care at a tiny fraction of the cost.” Trump broke that promise in 2017 when he tried to ram through the Trump Care bill in the middle of the night when few people were paying attention. Trump Care would have taken away insurance from 20 million Americans and gutted pre-existing condition protections.

After Trump failed to get his way in the elected branches, he filed a lawsuit in the hopes that unelected judges would take away health care from millions of Americans. The current Trump-Ricketts lawsuit is aimed at throwing out Obama Care in its entirety without a replacement plan. If Trump, Rickets and Nebraska’s Congressional delegation “win” this case, 20 million Americans will lose insurance and pre-existing condition protections will be eliminated.

Trump’s health care radicalism has been enshrined in his budgets. The Trump budget would cut Medicare and Medicaid by hundreds of billions of dollars. Those same budgets would also cut Social Security.

The former TV reality star’s economic policies are also out of the mainstream. The failed Trump tax cut will add $2 trillion to the national debt and 80% of the benefits will go to the top 1%. The tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations are permanent and the middle class tax cuts are temporary and tiny.

Trump’s views and actions on executive power are equally radical. Last year, Trump claimed that: “I have an article II, where I have the right to do whatever I want as president.” Since he made that statement, Trump has spent money by executive fiat for his wall after the Congress rejected that appropriation. The former TV reality star has illegally and routinely defied Congressional subpoenas for witnesses and documents. And earlier this week, Trump abused his pardon power by selling a pardon for over $400,000 in campaign cash.

A re-elected Trump will be even more dangerous. There is no doubt he would feel unchained and would further abuse his power. The very concepts of democracy and the rule of law would be placed in serious jeopardy.

And that’s not all. At the billionaire’s conference in Davos, Trump promised to cut Social Security and Medicare in a second term. A second Trump term would be a disaster. It would probably be even worse than George W. Bush’s second term.

The stakes couldn’t be any higher this year. A united Democratic Party can win. On the other hand, a divided Democratic Party would hand Trump a second term. It’s clear that about 55% of the voters oppose Trump. Will they show up to vote? Will they be allowed to vote? Those questions will decide the election.

Trump can’t win this election but we Democrats could lose it. We can’t let that happen. United we are strong. United we will win. Don’t forget that!

I’m a trial lawyer, a Democratic activist and a sports fan.

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