Mission imperative: Come November, Trump must go

In case you needed a reminder, the pandemic reveals everything rancid about this presidency.

There must be one mission above all, one goal supreme: Vote this monster out of the White House. And along with him, tow to the nearest dump the clown car of malefactors who gave him license to cripple our republic.

Donald Trump’s defeat and the defeat of those in Congress who have enabled him with nary a word of protest are Priorities Number 1 through 100. Focus. Don’t be diverted by ideological hairsplitting and intraparty squabbling. Drive this creature and his army of creeps, leeches and miscreants back to the wet market from which they came.

Little else matters until this goal is accomplished in November. And even after that, there could be trouble, because come Inauguration Day he may have to be dragged out like Saddam Hussein from his spider hole, screaming fraud and persecution all the way.

So now that I have your attention…

Yes, it is imperative that we emerge from our current catastrophe battered but unbowed. We must debate healthcare and racial, gender and wealth inequality. We desperately need to take action on climate change, infrastructure, education and student debt, immigration, right-wing extremism, privacy, the right to choose and much more. Plus, progressives have plenty to criticize in the Democratic Party, lots that has to change about a hidebound institution that too often ignores the working class and diverse base that traditionally brought it success.

But right now, failure is not an option. Four more years of this—a president, cabinet and Republican Party bent on nihilistic destruction in the name of greed, power and corruption—and there will be an ash heap where a democracy used to stand. It’s like the old joke my mother used to tell about bananas—you throw away the skin and the bone and there’s nothing left.

The pandemic tragedy has crystalized much of what’s wrong with this White House and the Republican Party.  As death and disease have devastated the United States and the world, they woefully have mishandled the crisis with a calamitous mix of ignorance, incompetence, blindness to reality, and the careless and dangerous rhetoric that always have characterized this administration and its minions in Congress, states and towns. Add to all this a willingness to sacrifice lives in the name of the economy; this last insult solely to advance the reelection of themselves and the toddler-at-the-top who would rather tweet and rage maniacally than truly be our president.

In Rolling StoneTim Dickinson notes, “Academic research from Imperial College in London, modeling the U.S. response, estimates that up to 90 percent of COVID-19 deaths could have been prevented had the U.S. moved to shut down by March 2nd. Instead, administration leaders dragged their feet for another two weeks, as the virus continued a silent, exponential assault.”

To which Donald Trump replies, “These models have been so wrong from day one, both on the low side and the upside. They’ve been so wrong; they’ve been so out of whack. And they keep making new models, new models and they’re wrong.”

And: “If we did very little testing, [America] wouldn’t have the most cases. So, in a way, by doing all of this testing, we make ourselves look bad.”

And: “I feel about vaccines like I feel about tests. This is going to go away without a vaccine. It’s going to go away and it’s, we’re not going to see it again, hopefully, after a period of time.”

And: “If people want to get tested, they get tested. But for the most part, they shouldn’t want to get tested.”

Now he says, when it comes to testing, “We have met the moment and have prevailed.” What?

In the midst of this disingenuous verbal jabberwocky, countless stories continue to appear of bickering among White House staff and medical experts, the blocking of evidence and health recommendations, massive shortfalls in testing and the delivery of needed supplies, attempts to make a fast buck off the suffering of others. All of these media reports have emerged despite Trump’s attempts to suppress or distract from the truth.  Meanwhile, we quickly approach 100,000 dead in these United States.

Further, Trump pushes coronavirus conspiracy theories and miracle cures, contravenes his own government’s guidelines as he encourages states to reopen prematurely—setting them up to take the blame if it all goes wrong—and eggs on protesters who storm statehouses and beaches demanding their right to party on.

This is the “transition to greatness” that’s his new mantra, the current iteration of saying anything, no matter how bat soup crazy, to hold onto his phony baloney job.

“It will work for some people, but he can’t get over the fact that many, many people are dying—and they’re dying on his watch,” political scientist Max Skidmore, author of Presidents, Pandemics and Politics, told The Washington Post. “Too many people are dying, and that’s the fact that he can’t cover up however much he tries.”

With the news that COVID-19 has now crept into the corridors of the White House itself, and that staffers have been ordered to wear masks (except for the Cheeto-in-Chief, of course), I’ve tried to restrain my inclination toward schadenfreude. But it’s very near impossible, when on top of all its other pandemic-related malfeasance, this administration continues on a multitude of fronts to cynically use the disease as cover for its ongoing subversion of the general welfare of the people and destruction of constitutional government—whether it’s the 98 environmental rules being reversed, according to The New York Times, the trashing of the US Postal Service or Attorney General William Barr’s undermining of the Justice Department and an independent judiciary, all on Trump’s behalf.

Last week’s dismissal of charges against former Trump national security advisor Michael Flynn—despite his guilty plea for lying to the FBI—is the latest manifestation of Barr’s sabotage of the rule of law, part of the continuing effort to erase all evidence of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election, including the findings of the Mueller report—even though those efforts on the part of the former Soviet Union on Trump’s behalf continue into this year’s 2020 campaign.

Now Trump, with Barr ever his faithful sidekick, is cooking up a smear of Barack Obama, ramping up accusations of Obama illegally trying to use the Russia interference probe to frame Trump. Although the president seems uncertain as to what the scandal is exactly, this “OBAMAGATE!” mongering may be to damage Joe Biden, Obama’s vice president, or to retaliate for Obama’s weekend description of Trump’s handling of the COVID crisis as an “absolute chaotic disaster,” or just the never-ending petty resentment and jealousy of the popular African-American who preceded him that drive Trump mad.  Maybe all three. Whatever the reasons, this is ugly, sleazy stuff.

Many, myself included, have been fond of comparing Trump to Al Capone and other notorious gangsters. Certainly, throughout his career, Trump has tried to act like a wise guy, paying off hoodlums, manhandling foes and bragging about his street smarts, albeit with varying degrees of success.

But now, congratulations, pal. Donald Trump, you’ve outdone Capone and all the rest. There’s more blood on your hands than the mob itself could imagine—more, as you would say, Mr. President, than anyone has ever seen.

The thuggery has to stop. Donald Trump and his Republican accomplices must be voted out. Drop everything else and help make it happen. Then we can talk about a true transition to greatness.

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Michael Winship is the Schumann Senior Writing Fellow for Common Dreams. Previously, he was the Emmy Award-winning senior writer for Moyers & Company and BillMoyers.com, a past senior writing fellow at the policy and advocacy group Demos, and former president of the Writers Guild of America East. Follow him on Twitter: @MichaelWinship.

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