OP-Ed: Trump Unmasked: Save Our Democracy. If You Don’t Like Biden, Vote Against Trump (Early Voting Has Commenced; It’s Now Up To You

A great Democracy

“A great democracy has got to be progressive or it will soon cease to be great or a democracy.” — Theodore Roosevelt.

(Author’s Note: This is the ninth in a series of political articles for CommPRO.biz that I’ll be writing leading up to Election Day. FYI – My first public relations job was with a political firm, where I worked on local, statewide and presidential campaigns. In this column, I opine why American democracy is at stake in this election and why, even though at one time I worked on Republican presidential campaigns at a GOP public relations firm, I have become a Never Trumper because of his lies, racist comments and disgraceful conduct, which began on the day he announced for the presidency and continues as you read this. The opinions in this article are entirely mine and do not reflect the beliefs of anyone on the ComPRO.biz staff) 

 Arthur Solomon

Many years ago, a Wall Street lawyer with whom I was acquainted, when I toiled at Burson-Marsteller, asked me why I was going to vote Democratic in a presidential election. I told him because of the Supreme Court. “But the great majority of Supreme Court decisions only affect business practices,” he said, “and all the talk about how Republicans are going to appoint judges whose decisions will affect individuals is nothing but political talk. You take politics too seriously,” he said. How times have changed.

Also, more recently, I was accused by a reader of my columns of being too immersed in politics and being a “Trump hater,” which is not true. Hate implies an emotional reaction to an individual. I certainly don’t hate Trump as a person. I have never met him and the only thing he has thus far done to affect me personally is to sign a tax bill that caused me financial harm, but I would have to have an ego bigger than the president to think that bill was signed just to injure me. 

So I am not “Trump hater.” I definitely do not wish him any personal harm, only that he is not re-elected and if found guilty of financial misdoings after he leaves office is treated like people without influence would be.

I admit that I am a political junkie. I always have been, probably because I am a student of history (and at one time considered becoming a history teacher). And as some people might know my first job in public relations was with a political PR firm, which represented Republican candidates. I strategized publicity approaches for a variety of candidates. I worked on statewide, congressional and presidential campaigns. I left that firm when I received an offer to manage a large division of a non-political firm, prior to being recruited by Burson-Marsteller.

A more accurate description of my feeling toward President Trump would be a “Trump policy detester,” and I readily admit that.  

I also believe that in the Age of Trump, people should take politics very seriously because I believe he has already shown that he is a threat to democracy. (His far right actions mirror those of the far left, both of whom think that only they are correct.)

Unlike most people, who political experts say grow more conservative as they age, I have become more liberal. But I am not a knee-jerk liberal. I still vote for some Republican candidates on the local level (but not too often, as the party has become way too conservative for me and even for the policies of the last GOP president I respected, until I didn’t respect him, Nixon. (If he wasn’t paranoid and trusted people he’d probably be considered one of our better presidents. But, alas, he was a crook.)

In three weeks, give or take a day, depending on when this is published, the future of the American Experiment in having people chose their presidents according to the Constitution will be at stake. 

Early voting has recently commenced in some states. In order to save our democracy, I urge an anti-Trump vote. As for myself, in this year’s election as I did in 2016, I will again enthusiastically cast my ballot against President Trump and for democracy.

Here’s why:

Just A Few Reasons 🙁 Space limitations prevent me from listing more.) 

  • He refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election. That is enough of a reason to vote for his removal, but wait, there are more reasons.
  • His rhetoric has resulted in a divided country not seen since the Civil War.
  • He has turned the government into a family business, giving important assignments to his daughter and son-in-law.
  • He has totalitarian instincts.
  • His remarks, tweets and public relations initiatives are similar to those used by fascists and dictators.
  • He fires advisors who don’t agree with him.
  • He has hindered our military preparedness because of his monumental ego. Remember when he said, “I know more about ISIS than the generals do.” Well, he obviously also feels that he knows more about the Navy than the admirals do. An August 17 Wall Street Journal story reminded me that he has had four Navy secretaries in a year, hurting planning for a “beefed up military presence to challenge Beijing’s claims in Asia.”
  • He has fired Inspector Generals of various governmental agencies to stifle their investigations of him.
  • He has attacked our democratic allies and praised our totalitarian enemies.
  • He accuses people who disagree with him as being un-American,  members of his imagined “deep state,” or being unpatriotic, even though he received five deferments during the Vietnam War, and his lawyer said Trump concocted a fake injury to avoid going to Nam saying, “You think I’m stupid, I wasn’t going to Vietnam.”
  • He attempts to show his patriotism by lying that he is the only president who has refused a presidential salary, even though Herbert Hoover and John Kennedy did the same.  (JFK also refused a salary as a member of the House and Senate.)
  • He has consistently attacked government institutions like the FBI, and our intelligence agencies because he doesn’t like their findings.
  • He has attacked our judicial system.
  • He has advocated criminal prosecutions of his political enemies.
  • He has used his pardon power to reward his political allies who have broken the law.
  • He has threatened the freedom of the press by suggesting new libel laws because he doesn’t like some of their reporting.
  • He has revoked the press credentials of White House correspondents whose coverage is critical of him.
  • He celebrated when Ali Velshi of CNN was injured while covering a protest, saying it was a “beautiful thing,” thus encouraging physical violence against media he disagrees with.
  • He has attempted to prevent the publication of books that criticize him.
  • In addition to being vindictive, he is childish and petty, removing pictures of presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton from the White House’s Grand Foyer into a little used room, breaking a tradition that the most recent presidents’ official portraits are displayed in the most prominent places. 
  • He has used military style tactics against peaceful protesters.
  • He has defended anti-Semitic, neo-Nazi and white supremist groups, saying they include good people.
  • He said that American citizens who are protesting racial injustice are comparable to Nazis, fascists, communists and terrorists.
  • He is a racist by his actions and comments.
  • He has revived the “birther” movement by questioning if Kamala Harris meets the constitutional requirement to run as vice-president.
  • He has berated institutions like NASCAR that has decided to ban the Confederate flag, the battle flag of a rebellion against the U.S. at its venues.
  • His rants are about saving the statues of dead Confederates who fought against the U.S., ignoring the Americans who have died during the coronavirus pandemic and those who have survived.
  • He believes that he is above the law.  
  • He deliberately attempts to divide the nation among rich and poor, whites and people of color, resulting in culture wars. 
  • Just as Putin did when he sent invading troops to Crimea in 2014 without identifying insignia, Trump, in a classic totalitarian move, ordered armed federal agents in military camouflage, without identifying insignias, using batons against protesters and pulling others into unmarked vehicles without telling them the reason for detaining them, against the wishes of elected local officials, fomenting what might be the long- predicted constitutional crisis because of Trump’s authoritarian- like actions.
  • He ignored intelligence reports that the Russians were paying bounties for killing American troops in Afghanistan. 
  • He is a compulsive liar.
  • He is incapable of telling the truth. According to the Washington Post fact checkers, he has lied or made misleading statements more than 20,000 times. (It’s safe to say that when he tells the truth it’s “Fake News.”) (Some of his lies are so outrageous that it appears he adopted The Big Lie propaganda technique that Adolf Hitler described in his 1925 book Mein Kampf; about the use of a lie so outrageous that no one would believe it wasn’t true. At least the president didn’t say what would have been his biggest lie: “I am not a lair.”)
  • He has revived the evils of McCarthyism by attacking anyone who disagrees with him as “enemies within.”

    He refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election.

    He encourages violence by his supporters. Examples:

    • Tweeting insurrection against state governments by exhorting people to “liberate” their states, and tweeting a video showing one of his supporters yelling “white power” at a political rally. (“White power” is the phrase used by white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups. The racist video showed a man in a golf cart bearing “Trump 2020” and “America first” signs, according to the New York Times. The tweet also received coverage in the conservative Wall Street Journal and many other media venues.)
    • He has encouraged supporters at his rallies to rough up    hecklers by saying, “I will pay for your court costs.”
    • He has told police to not be so gentle with people they arrest.
    • He makes and tweets inflammatory statements.
    • He has encouraged his supporters to engage in violence, and has increased racial tensions, lauding the efforts of his supporters during a clash in Portland, Ore., during which a person was killed. 
    • He has refused to heed the pleas of local officials to stay away from cities in which there were protests because his presence will inflame the situation.
    • He has said that intelligence reports abut Russians paying bounties to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan is a hoax, as he has done many times, brushing aside intelligence reports pointing a finger at Putin.
    • He believes what totalitarian rulers like Putin tell him rather than our own intelligence sources.
    • He is a disseminator of conspiracy falsehoods. When asked for specifics he always says “they are under investigations.”

      He refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election.

      He is a poor example of a human being. Examples:

      • He has mocked people with disabilities.
      • He has insulted parents of American soldiers killed in action because of their race.
      • He has insulted American prisoners of war by saying about the late Sen. John McCain, He’s not a war hero,”

      (Trump said of McCain at an event in Iowa in 2015. “He (McCain) was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”)

      He refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election.

      He has said that the coronavirus is a Democratic hoax. Examples:

      • He has lied about the extent of the coronavirus and mismanaged the response to it.
      • He is responsible for the deaths of countless thousands of people by disseminating his fabulist medical advice and misinformation about the virus.
      • He is responsible for countless deaths from the virus by encouraging people to disregard the advice of medical/scientists. (As of this writing on October 14, 216, 632 Americans have died from Covid-19 and 7, 907, 677 have been infected by it, according to the John Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.)
      • He has encouraged people to attend his rallies during times that the virus was spreading.
      • He has blocked Dr. Anthony Fauci, America’s top infectious disease expert from testifying at a Congressional hearing and from doing TV interviews because he doesn’t like what Fauci says about the spread of the coronavirius.
      • He has prevented the head of the CDC from testifying before Congress.
      • He has suspended telecasts of the White House coronavirus task force because the comments of medical scientists contradict his statements that the virus is under control and subsiding, even though it was spreading in Western and Southern states.
      • He is a hypocrite: He gets tested multiple times daily, it has been reported, for the coronavirus but publicly says that testing is overrated.
      • In the midst of the worst health outbreak in recent history he has attempted to outlaw Obamacare, which would leave many citizens without health insurance.
      • He continually disseminates untruths about the extent and severity of people infected with the conornvirus, (like saying that 99% of the cases are harmless) despite statistics and scientific evidence to the contrary. 
      • He has put his supporters at the risk of being infected by the coronavirus by urging them to attend his rallies without requiring social distancing or wearing masks, while saying he is not afraid of being infected because he is not close to those attending.
      • He has officially notified the World Health Organization that the U.S. will withdraw from it, when international cooperation is necessary to eradicate the coronavirus.
      • He has made stupid comments about the coronavirus:
      • He said that drinking disinfectants could destroy the virus. (If you mix it with vodka, your breath won’t have an after drink odor, if you have a breath left in your body).
      • He said that the reason for the virus uptick in Western and Southern states was because of increased testing.  (That’ like saying if you don’t go to a doctor you won’t get sick.)
      • It wasn’t until July 21, after more than 150,000 Americans died and more than six months since the first coronavirus case was reported in the U.S. that he said we are developing a very powerful plan to fight the virus.
      • He has endangered the lives of young children by telling his followers to send children to school because, “It’s incredible how the — it’s very unique how the children aren’t affected,” despite medical scientists disagreeing.
      • His administration has pushed for the CDC to alter its scientific research reports in a manner that is favorable to the president.
      • He has pushed medical scientists to declare that the virus is under control and that a vaccine will be available “soon,” (saying he will have a surprise by Election Day) even though the scientists continually say that is highly unlikely, once again proving that Trump’s concern is about his re-election and not the American people. (His optimistically inaccurate statements have caused the vaccine producers to publicly say they will not ask for government approval of a vaccine until it has been proven scientifically safe. In a lengthy September 1 article, that began on page one and continued for an entire inside page, even the conservative pro-Trump Wall Street Journal criticized the president for his mishandling of the coronavirus. The article was headlined ‘Try Getting It Yourselves’: How Administration Sowed Supply Chaos. (causing problems that persist.)

      He refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election.

      He puts his own interest above the interest of the country he has sworn to protect. Examples:

      • He uses the presidency as his own piggy bank.
      • He has asked the U.S. Ambassador to England to have the British Open played at his venue.
        He has attempted to have the Scottish Open played at one of his venues.
        He has had U.S. officials and other government employees stay at one of his resorts while on government business.
      • He has attempted to have international governmental meetings held as one of his proprieties.
      • He is consumed, in the midst of two major problems facing the U.S. – the coronavirus situation and the faltering economy – with the names of ball clubs. 
      • His thinking is like a man of the 1920’s, when this country desperately needs a person of the 2020’s.  
      • On August 13, Trump and Larry Kudlow, his economic adviser, both publicly said that they were against providing funds to enable people from voting from by mail during the pandemic because as Kudlow said on CNBC “that’s not our game.” Earlier in the day the president said the same thing, using different words, during a Fox Business interview. (Obviously their game is to limit the voting by denying people who are afraid to vote in person during a deadly pandemic by preventing mail-in ballots as much as possible.)
      • He has attempted to rig the election in his favor by withholding funds needed by the post office to ensure prompt delivery of mail-in ballots.
      • He has said mail-in ballots are fine in Republican-leaning states, but are being manipulated and used by false voters in states with Democratic governors.
      • As he did in 2016, prior to his being elected, he is again claiming that if he loses it will be because of a rigged election.
      • Alarmingly, as he did during the 2016 election, Trump said during Chris Wallace’s July 19 show, that if defeated he did not know whether he would accept the results of the current election.
      • On September 2, in a North Carolina speech, he said his voters should attempt to rig the system by attempting to vote twice, essentially encouraging them to commit a felony.

      He refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election.

      (Only space limitations prevent me from listing additional reasons to vote against Trump.)

      Why I Believe People Should Take Politics Seriously In The Age Of Trump:

      • I believe Trump is a threat to our democracy and should be defeated. 
      • Former veep Joe Biden was not my first choice to be the Democratic presidential candidate. He was not even my second choice. But I will vote for him enthusiastically because, even though I have disagreed with some of his political decisions over the years, he is a decent, caring person, who believes that liberty and justice belongs to everyone. Conversely, President Trump, who has used military style force against peaceful protesters, has urged his supporters to storm state houses by telling them “liberate your state,” and has repeatedly instructed members of his administration to violate the law by disregarding legal subpoenas. 

      I believe a second term Trump will be even worse than during his present term because he wouldn’t have to worry about re-election.

      Joe Biden, if elected, will respect our Constitution. And President Trump, by his speech and actions, shows that he has totalitarian instincts and doesn’t care about the Constitution.

      In 2016, many voters who did not like Hillary Clinton stayed home, resulting in Trump barely winning in enough states to give him an Electoral College victory. Many self-proclaimed progressives (self-proclaimed because the word progressives has different meanings to different people) are upset that Sen. Sanders did not win the nomination in 2016 and 2020. It’s essential that they do not stay home on November 3 or fail to vote by mail. (Anti-Trump voters should not make that mistake again. Just because in the 2018 election Democrats upset some GOP congressmen in strong Republican districts does not mean that will happen in 2020, when the vote turnout will be greater, as it always is in presidential elections. And even if the upsets occur again, it’s important to remember that does not necessarily mean that the entre state will vote Democratic. Trump can once again lose the popular vote and win in the Electoral College.) In 2016, Trump’s silent majority spoke in the assumed Democratic states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, winning him the presidency. If you’re a Biden supporter, don’t be part of the silent majority that believes the election is in the bag and stay home. Vote. 

      Above all, voters who are still undecided should not be taken in by the negative Trumpkin tropes that Biden is a captive of the “socialist elements” of the Democratic Party. That is a lie, as are the GOP tropes that the socialists now control the party. There are so few socialist/ democrats in the party that they couldn’t even field a baseball team.

      And the way Trump is attacking Biden’s age and health is ridiculous. By Election Day, the president will be close to 74½- years-old. In addition, he refuses to release his medical records and, maybe, is recovered from Covid-19. In June, 2020, Trump weighed 244 pounds, one pound more than when he had his last physical. At 6 feet, three inches tall that puts him over the threshold for obesity set by the U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, Bloomberg news reported. (As an individual who has battled a weight problem for years, adding a pound is not “the accepted method of losing weight,” a doctor once told me.)

      In 1949, George Orwell wrote a fictionalized novel about a society whose rulers wanted to control everything. Today, proponents of democracy of the left and right, often equate the plot of the book with Trump’s actions. Since the Age of Trump, the book can be reclassified as “historical fiction.” For readers who prefer more recent books about the dangers to democracy that have been unleashed since the election of Trump, there are Surviving Autocracy, The Demagogue’s Playbook and Let Them Eat Tweets. All of these books provide reasons why now, more than ever, it is necessary for everyone who believes in our Constitution and Bill of Rights to always be on the guard against Trump-like candidates in the future, and to vote against Trump on November 3. Demagogues like Trump have been part of the American scene in the past and surely will again be in the future. 

      Polls have shown that many voters who are not fond of Biden will vote for him because they don’t think Trump merits a second term. But if you’re a voter who is thinking of staying home on Election Day, don’t do so. Even if you are not enamored of the former veep, if you want to protect our democracy, vote Biden. If not you might again help elect a totalitarian-inclined president whose admiration for totalitarian dictators is unquestioned.

      He refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election.

      Here’s what five true conservatives have said of Trump: (Space limitations prevents me from listing more.) 

      • In the July 4 New York Times, conservative columnist Bret Stephens, in just five words, said why I believe Trump must be defeated, when he described him as an “instinctual fascist, a wannabe autocrat.”
      • Steve Schmidt, who has become a vocal critic of President Trump despite his long history as a GOP strategist said, “The Republican Party is becoming the home to an amalgam of conspiracy theorists, fringe players, extremists and white nationalists that is out in the open in a startling way.”
      • Shortly prior to the opening of the Democratic Convention on August 17, Miles Taylor, the one of the highest former senior member in the Trump administration, endorsed Biden. Taylor, the former Department of Homeland Security chief of staff said that the president turned the DHS into “a tool for his political benefit” focusing on issues that Trump believed would help his re-election without giving consideration to the potential effects of his decisions. He said what he witnessed in the Trump administration was “terrifying,” and that the country was less secure as a direct result of the president’s actions.

        For many political junkies, including me, the most awaited aspect of the first night of the Democratic Convention was what former Congressman and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a major figure for many years in the Republican Party would say. Kasich compared the character difference between Trump and Biden, calling the president a divider and Biden a uniter, saying that the former vice-president is what the country needs at this time. He said the stakes in this election are greater than in any modern times. (Kasich was introduced by former GOP Congresswoman Susan Molinari.) 

        There is no longer a traditional living Republican Party. Trump killed it. The right of center Republicans and moderates and, yes, liberals, have retired or left the party. What is left is a far right radical party, disguised as the Republicans, that kowtows to an autocratic -inclined president who threatens the democratic traditions of our country.

        In my opinion, there are two distinct and different important issues that people should consider before voting.

        • The handling of the coronavirus, and
        • Protecting our democracy.

        If we lose our democracy the first bullet fades from importance.

        Trump said, “This is the most important election in our history.” He’s right. Save Our Democracy. If You Don’t Like Biden, Vote Against Trump

        Remember, he refused numerous times to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election.

        I began this column with a quote from a Republican named Roosevelt. Here’s a quote from a Democratic president named Roosevelt. “I venture the challenging statement that if American democracy ceases to move forward as a living force, seeking day and night by peaceful means to better the lot of our citizens, fascism will grow in strength in our land.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt.

         A belief of my own.

        A president who speaks fondly of totalitarian dictatorships can not be trusted to defend our democratic traditions. And President Trump fits the description.


        The Unspoken PR Tenet: Bad News Is Good News for Our Business By Arthur SolomonAbout the Author: Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller, and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles in some of the most significant national and international sports and non-sports programs. He also traveled internationally as a media adviser to high-ranking government officials. He now is a frequent contributor to public relations publications, consults on public relations projects and is on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr (at) juno.com and artsolomon4pr (at) optimum.net.