Yesterday I suddenly felt exhausted. The Trump administration had just announced the ODNI (Office of the Director of National Intelligence) would no longer give in-person briefings to our legislators. Here we go again. It’s another one of Trump’s dirty tricks to cheat to get himself elected by keeping us in the dark about Russia’s involvement to help him win re-election.

Then I saw that Trump has had a two point bounce in his approval ratings after 4 days of a relentless, fact free RNC lie fest extravaganza that ran roughshod over the Hatch Act, illegally turning our People’s House, (White House) into a Trump property with garish signage on the lawn and 1500 cheering cult members enthusiastically participating in a super spreader event. Trump could be gaining traction with his “law and order” pitch.

It’s exhausting.  Trump’s endless cons are exhausting. And that’s the goal. To exhaust us.

We know that if Trump wins again we can kiss our democracy goodbye.  We know Trump has the power of incumbency and he has systematically removed a lot of ethical people in government, replacing them over time with loyalists and sycophants who will do his bidding.

It is easier and safer to stay silent, but if you are as sick and tired of this administration as I am, there is only one thing to do – we gotta keep keepin on. As Dory the fish says in Saving Nemo, “Just keep swimming.” Don’t give up. We gotta keep swimming. It’s 64 days until this friggin’ election and early voting is right around the corner!

Trump is a Russian Asset

The most recent abomination that got me into a funk is that our Director of National Security, John Ratcliffe, a Trump loyalist, has announced he will no longer brief Congress in person, only in writing. That means that our elected officials in the House and Senate will not be able to ask questions of the DNI to clarify and understand what Russia is doing to infect our election in November to help Trump win. We will be kept in the dark.

Why did Trump make this change to protocol? Bill Evanina, NCSC director, used to give Congressional leaders in-person briefings. But the last time he did that he let the cat out of the bag in response to questioning, telling legislators that Russia is hard at work right now in devious ways actively trying to get Trump elected again but that though China and Iran have expressed their wish that Biden win the election, they are not actively undermining our election the way Russia is.

Trump pumped the brakes after this honest reveal. Trump is hot to portray China and Iran as equally bad actors so that he can claim Biden is being helped by those two countries to counter the Senate Intelligence Committee Report that recently came out and exposed the shocking extensive coordination and collusion (yes, I said collusion because that’s what it was) between the Trump campaign and the Russian GRU (Putin) in 2016. Trump is trying for a false equivalency argument for 2020. To succeed, he has to suppress information coming from the Director of National Security.

Does anyone with a brain doubt that Trump is the Manchurian president? He’s clearly a Russian asset in the White House whether he started off that way or not. He is far more dangerous now than in 2016 because he has accumulated power, positioned his protectors (Bill Barr and others) and suppressed opposition at this point in his presidency. He is poised to become the first American authoritarian dictator. No one should doubt that that is his goal. Those strange unrecorded, secret conversations Trump has by phone with Vladimir Putin are Trump’s tutoring sessions with Putin about how to become the authoritarian leader of the United States while pretending our democracy is still intact.

How Trump Wins

With 183,000 Americans dead from this pandemic, 1,000 of us dying every day, no unified national strategy, a quarter of a million of us on track to die by December, and an economy in terrible shape with rising unemployment, evictions, food insecurity, and astronomical debt, Trump has to keep the attention of Americans off of the pandemic to win. He wants to keep everyone’s attention on “law and order”, anarchy, the cities and suburbs under threat, and find ways to work behind the scenes to get even more pop up civil wars going across the country. He is doing just that with the help of the right-wing vigilante groups, Russia, Fox News hosts and the silence of complicit Republicans.  To the extent he can scare white Americans about the threat from black and brown Americans, he can win.

How the Dems Win

The Dems need to keep attention on the pandemic and the failing economy that has resulted from Trump’s mismanagement. Biden needs to show up in hot spots around the country like Portland and Kenosha to be an example of leadership. Biden can show us how he would lead if he were our president instead of Trump, a model of calm, good values, ethics and pragmatism.

What Can We Do

As Americans who want to keep our democracy there are things that we can and should do to work on achieving a blue tsunami.

  1. Push Back on Cynicism

Trump rose to power in part because many Americans are very very cynical.  To the extent that people think change is hopeless, Trump wins.  To the extent that we believe we can do better and we have hope, Biden wins.

Many people have been brainwashed by their news-feeds and by the difficulties of understanding what is going on in DC, to feel hopeless and to think that all lawmakers are corrupt. They think it does not matter who is running the country because “they are all bad”.  That is simply not true.  There is a huge difference between the House Dems and the Republicans.  The Dems have passed 400 pieces of legislation that would be very helpful for our country including everything from election protection to lower prescription drug prices, gun control and climate change measures.  About half of the legislation was passed by a bipartisan vote- Democrats and Republicans both signing on.

What became of these bills?  Mitch McConnell kept these measures from coming up for a vote in the Senate which means that no matter how hard the Dems in the House have worked to help the American people to have health care, affordable drugs, gun control and so much more, those bills went to the Senate to die on Mitch’s desk.  It is not all legislators who are not doing their jobs.  It is Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans who are not doing their jobs.

2.  Speak Up 

Engage in conversations with people you encounter and push back against rampant cynicism.  Even Uber drivers. Your neighbors. Your relatives.  Social media.  Facebook commentary.  Anyone and everyone.  Engage and push back but not with personal attacks and vitriol, with facts and information.

I often start a conversation by saying, “I don’t know your politics but I hope you plan to vote.”  That’s when most people express their cynicism about politics in general and lawmakers in general without differentiating between them.

3. When you hear “Every politician is a crook.  They are all corrupt”, push back.

I say this: “I have personally met many many politicians and they are NOT all corrupt.  Just like people you know, some have good values and others don’t.  The ones who are good lawmakers really care about this country and they are trying to help you and your family. Those lawmakers are all Democrats at this point- up and down the ticket.  So it’s easy- just vote for all the Democrats.

The Dems in the House have passed  legislation that would help you and your family have better lives.  Everything from health care to gun control to election protection and more.  Do you know what happened to those bills passed by the House?  They are sitting on Mitch McConnell’s desk.  Mitch is the Republican leader in the Senate and calls himself the grim reaper because all of those bills that would help you and your family go to his desk to die. Mitch thinks that’s funny. It’s not. It’s terrible. We need to get Democrats into the Senate so that they can pass legislation our country needs.”

4. When you hear “Trump is strong on our economy,” push back. 

Make these points: The stock market is on a sugar high because Trump  goosed the stock market for his rich buddies by passing the tax cut for the rich that made the 1% richer but didn’t help the 99%.  Trump has gotten the Fed to keep interest rates super low to keep the stock market high so he can get re-elected. 

His trade war was a disaster for farmers and small businesses causing hundreds of companies and farms to go bankrupt across the country and especially in the heartland that voted for Trump. 6 out of the last 10 presidents have had stronger economies and GDP growth than Trump. Under Trump our country has a 984 billion dollar deficit.

By failing to lead our country after the pandemic happened, Trump has wrecked the strong economy he inherited from the Obama/ Biden administration. Just like what Trump did with the millions of dollars from his father, he mismanaged things and went bankrupt 6 times. If he had done what all the other advanced nations did to contain the pandemic our country would not be in the mess we are in. Our kids can’t go to school. We are stuck at home. We are not able to travel abroad. America is failing to contain the pandemic compared to other countries because of Trump’s mismanagement.

Biden led our country out of the recession in 2008 to 2010. Biden led our country’s response to Ebola which could have been a pandemic but wasn’t thanks to our response. NO AMERICANS DIED because the virus was contained by our country working and leading the response with other countries. Biden knows what to do and if he is elected he will get our country back on track again.

5. When you hear “I might as well vote for Trump because he is doing a good job,” push back.

“What do you call a good job?  Would it make a difference to you if you knew that this president is trying to destroy your health care because he is- even during this pandemic. His lawyers are in court trying to kill Obamacare. 

Does it matter to you that he is corrupt?  Because he is.  Do you know how much you are paying for his golf outings and for all the government workers who are spending money at his golf clubs because he forces them to do that?  $109 million dollars is a conservative estimate.  It’s probably much higher.  Do you know that secret service agents are forced to spend $650 a night per person to stay at Trump properties when they travel with him?  That’s taxpayer money!  We are paying that.  Do you know that we are paying for all of his golf outings?  You and your children and grandchildren are paying for his corruption. 

Do you know what’s going on with the national debt?  In the three years Trump has been in office he increased the national debt by over 3 trillion dollars.  Your children and grandchildren are going to have that burden on their shoulders all their lives. Do you want that for them?

And how about climate change?  Trump pretends there is no such thing even with all the huge fires in Australia and California, Hurricane Laura, the ice caps melting like crazy.  Don’t you want a president that will do something about the climate crisis?”

6. Control over the Senate is the key to ending Trump’s power even if he somehow gets re-elected, so do what you can to get these Dems elected. 
Defeat Susan Collins in Maine. Support Sara Gideon.
Defeat Cory Gardner in Colorado. Support John Hickenlooper.
Defeat Thom Tillis in North Carolina. Support Calvin Cunningham.
Defeat Martha Mc Sally in Arizona. Support Mark Kelly
Defeat Lindsay Graham in South Carolina. Support Jaime Harrison.
In Iowa support Teresa Greenfield.
In Kansas support Barbara Bollier.
In Montana support Steve Bullock.
In Georgia support John Ossof.
In Alaska support Dr. Al Gross.
These Senate hopefuls all have a good chance to win depending on how high the blue wave goes.
Flipping the Senate is the best way to get Mitch out of power since he is not likely to lose his election to Amy McGrath (sorry, guys, she did not win a House seat in a more favorable district in 2018, so it is not likely she will win in a Senate race against Mitch,
 because Trump will fully endorse McConnell in Kentucky, a state that loves Trump so much most people who live there would lick Trump’s shoes to polish them.)
If Trump finds a way to get re-elected but the Senate flips and we keep the House, it will only be a matter of time until Trump is impeached again because the guy violates the law with impunity. This time he would be removed if the Senate has eliminated the filibuster and has the majority.
7. Get off the bench NOW and help to register people in the key battleground states and get out the vote. (Here is the link to join Rust Belt Rising. Click on it and JOIN IN!)  
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO LIVE IN THE RUST BELT TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS INITIATIVE. I know that Rust Belt Rising is a good group and can vouch for them.  This effort will make a difference. Rust Belt Rising has a series of training sessions in the next few weeks that you can sign up for today!
Support Joe Biden and Kamala Harris at whatever level you can!
This next election will be close.  Trump has the advantage of incumbency and a huge targeted digital advertising machine spewing massive amounts of disinformation propaganda across multiple platforms especially on Facebook, Fox News and conservative talk radio.
But we are the majority.  If we get out the vote especially in the battleground states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, Trump will lose.  (Why do you think he is ginning up vigilantes in Kenosha, Wisconsin!?)
There is only one presidential winner. It is all or nothing. If you are exhausted now; if you think Trump is divisive now and you are sick of him, just wait!! It will not get better if Trump gets 4 more years.  We must have a full rebuke of the Republicans to rid ourselves of Trumpism. We need the biggest blue tsunami we can muster.
Join up! Become a foot soldier for our democracy!  Every single voter matters!
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