Saturday, August 1, 2020

Republicans, Conservative Groups, Veterans and Donors Opposing Trump's Reelection

Veterans and conservative groups are criticizing Trump calling him a failure and a traitor. Even some Republicans are openly disagreeing with him for the first time. Trump is the most consistently unpopular president in the history of the republic and his support is eroding even among the minority that make up his base*. Trump's support is collapsing because he is on the wrong side of all the major issues of the day. His strategy divides Americans with culture wars, systemic racism, secret police, portraying protestors as terrorists, disinformation, conspiracy theories, corruption, nepotism, cronyism, disparaging popular media and rejection of science.

One of the most troubling trends for those who support the Constitution and America's democracy is Trump's misuse of Bill Barr who acts more like the president's personal legal council than an attorney general.

Trump is often the last person to see the writing on the wall but he seems to understand the mood of the country. At a recent press conference Trump said, "nobody likes me," conceding "It can only be my personality." Many American voters disapprove of Trump due to his ineptitude on a wide range of issues but his mismanagement of the coronavirus is at the top of the list.

Corona incompetence

Trump has exacerbated serious fault lines exposed by the pandemic. When Trump is not ignoring the problem or offering an insanely optimistic assessment of COVID-19, he is telling Americans to take hydroxychloroquine or ingest disinfectants. The president's mismanagement of the federal response to the pandemic includes bungled testing and containment efforts. This is an American tragedy that as of the end of July has contributed to the deaths of more than 152,000 Americans. Trump's environmental rollbacks have also contributed to this death toll.

While most other nations are seeing significant declines in infection rates, in the U.S. these rates are on the increase with no end in site. In an MSNBC interview Republican campaign organizer Steve Schmidt explained Trump's failure to manage the virus as follows:
"[T]he man who said he would make the country great again. And he's brought death, suffering, and economic collapse on truly an epic scale. And let's be clear. This isn't happening in every country around the world. This place. Our place. Our home. Our country. The United States. We are the epicenter. We are the place where you're the most likely to die from this disease. We're the ones with the most shattered economy. And we are because of the fool that sits in the Oval Office behind the Resolute Desk."
Some of the most scathing criticisms of Trump's mismanagement of the pandemic have come from a group of Republican critics known as the Lincoln Project.

Republican lawmakers and governors are breaking ranks

Republicans have been stalwart supporters of this president but his failure to manage the pandemic is pushing some to openly disagree. In a bid to try to protect their own political fortunes some Republicans have summoned the courage to disagree with Trump publicly.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has broken ranks with Mr. Trump over issues like wearing a mask in public, the failure to heed the advice of health experts, and criticisms of Dr. Anthony Fauci. McConnell has embraced and promoted mask-wearing as the "single most important thing" people can do weeks before Trump finally tweeted his support for mask-wearing. Other Republican senators have also publicly disagreed with Trump.

Nearly every Republican lawmaker has rejected Trump's suggestion that the election be delayed. "Never in the history of the country, through wars, depressions and the Civil War, have we ever not had a federally scheduled election on time. We'll find a way to do that again this November 3rd," the majority leader said in an interview with WNKY. "I don't think that's a particularly good idea," said Republican Sen. and Trump sycophant Lindsey Graham.Fearing the loss of control of the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is encouraging Republican Senate candidates to distance themselves from Trump. However, there is reason to believe that after years of shielding him, it may be too late. The die may be cast for GOP lawmakers as many are predicting that Democrats will increase their majority in the House and may even take control of the Senate.

Nor is Trump is getting GOP support for his unsubstantiated concerns about mail-in-ballot fraud. The evidence clearly disputes Trump's attempt to dis-inform and this view was reiterated in a closed door hearing at the end of July that included intelligence officials working in Trump's own administration.

Trump's hostility towards voting rights is particularly egregious in the context of the recent passing of John Lewis. "In the America John Lewis fought for, and the America I believe in, differences of opinion are inevitable elements and evidence of democracy in action," said George Bush, during his eulogy for the civil rights titan.

In a "Meet the Press" interview on NBC, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio, refused to answer a question about whether he supports Trump’s crisis leadership. Senator Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska called for more public health updates from the federal government and condemned the open animosity toward Dr. Fauci by administration officials. Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri said: "The more they turn the briefings over to the professionals, the better."

The law and order president?

Efforts to portray Trump as the law and order president appear to be failing. It is hard to sell this narrative given that his campaign manager, deputy campaign manager, national security advisor, foreign policy advisor, and personal lawyer are all convicted felons. As explained in another Lincoln Project video, Trump is not running a campaign he is running a criminal enterprise.

Donors abandoning Trump

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is not only ahead of Trump in the polls, the challenger's fundraising efforts are outperforming Trump's reelection campaign. Republican donors are abandoning Trump and this includes the Mercers, Trump’s biggest backers in 2016. With their ties to Steve Bannon, Breitbart, and Cambridge Analytica, Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah have been credited for Trump's win in 2016. As reported by Vanity Fair: "Mercer and his wife, Diana, donated $15.5 million to a variety of different organizations to help elect Trump, and they put up another $1 million for the inaugural committee. They also provided substantial support to Breitbart, which at times seemed to function as an extra arm of the Trump campaign. The Washington Post reported that altogether in 2016, the Mercer's spent almost $50 million on political activities.

Republican voters having a change of heart

As former Trump supporters explain in this video, they are having a change of heart. "I thought I'd be a Republican all of my life, but Donald J. Trump has broken my faith in the Republican party," one voter said.

Accommodating Russian dictator Vladimir Putin

More recently Schmidt said Trump's failure to respond to Russia paying bounties for American troops in Afghanistan "is the greatest dereliction of duty in the history of the United States by anybody charged with responsibility".

A veterans group called Trump "Traitor" over his failure to respond to the bounties for American soldiers issued by the Russian military in Afghanistan. "Putin owns Donald Trump," the organization wrote on Twitter, along with the #TRE45SON hashtag that went viral. The group also released a new video: "Intelligence reports on his desk. He says nothing to his master. Takes no action to protect us," the voiceover stated. "If you’re going to act like a traitor, you don’t get to thank us for our service."

In the MSNBC interview Schmidt offered the following brutal assessment of Donald Trump:
"Donald Trump has been the worst president this country has ever had. And I don't say that hyperbolically. He is....And he has brought this country in three short years to a place of weakness that is simply unimaginable if you were pondering where we are today from the day where Barack Obama left office... But this is a moment of unparalleled national humiliation, of weakness. When you listen to the President, these are the musings of an imbecile. An idiot. And I don't use those words to name call. I use them because they are the precise words of the English language to describe his behavior. His comportment. His actions. We've never seen a level of incompetence, a level of ineptitude so staggering on a daily basis by anybody in the history of the country whose ever been charged with substantial responsibilities....It's just astonishing that this man is president of the United States. The man, the con man, from New York City. Many bankruptcies, failed businesses, a reality show, that branded him as something that he never was. A successful businessman."
The situation is even more serious than many realize. An impending economic collapse made worse by Trump's failures as well as his climate denial and war against nature are contributing to the collapse of civilization.

However, there is hope in the midst of this despair. BLM protests have augured important changes, and the courts have stymied the Trump administration's destructive ambitions. The coronavirus has also increased interest in the facts and science. Perhaps most importantly, Democratic presidential challenger Joe Biden leads Trump by 14 points nationally in the most recent CNN poll and this lead extends to many important battleground states. All signs suggest that the end of the Trump presidency is in sight and this will pave the way to the road to recovery.

Trump will not accept the democratic will of Americans and he is already trying to preemptively de-legitimize and undermine an election that he will likely lose. Without any respect for the law, precedent or the well-being of Americans, this president can be expected to do everything he can to stay in power.

*At the end of June a Hill-Harris X poll found he had an 82 percent approval rating among Republicans, down from 91 percent in May.

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