The Will of the People

If you’ve been listening to the President’s defenders, you’ve probably noticed a common theme. Trump’s supporters say – over and over – the Democrats are trying to reverse the will of the people. To undo the vote. To overturn the election.

But here’s the thing: Trump didn’t win the election. He won the Electoral College. And that’s something very different.

In real terms, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by nearly 3 million. In other words, Americans elected Clinton President… and the system overruled the election results.

Which is exactly how the last two Republican presidents came into office. Not by the will of the people… but by the will of an outmoded system.

That’s why the GOP doesn’t want to mess with the Electoral College. But here’s why we should…

A (Sort of) Good Idea Gone Bad

It’s the end of the 18thcentury. A new Republic is getting its first footing. But there are challenges. According to some sources, election logistics were the major issue.

The 13 colonies covered a vast territory in a time when traveling 20 miles a day was admirable. There were no phones… no telegraph… no mass communication. How could you get election results from New Hampshire or South Carolina to the Capital in short order?

The simple answer: Consolidate. Don’t deliver results from every podunk town and village to the capital. Just deliver the state results.

Meet the Electoral College.

The Electoral College boiled every hamlet and village’s votes into a state-by-state result. Which made the final tally quick and simple.

Other sources say the College began as a compromise. Some Founding Fathers felt Congress should choose the President – instead of the average bumpkin landowner. Others felt it should be left entirely to the will of the people. The Electoral College system gave something to both sides.

For those who didn’t trust the average farmer or craftsman to make good decisions, the College diluted the bad choices of individuals. But it would still ensure – usually – that the candidate with the greatest overall support would win.

Still others point to concerns over big state advantages. Just three colonies – Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts – had nearly half the population of the original colonies. These three could have effectively decided any presidential election… mooting the votes of most of the other colonies.

The thing is, we’re not in the 18thcentury any more. None of these arguments hold water in today’s world. The Electoral College has become more hinderance than help. Because the person with the most votes doesn’t win… the person with the most Electors does.

And, as the last two Republican victories show, this means America may choose one candidate, but their opponent wins the election.

The Electoral College Is Anti-Democratic… and Anti-American

The Electoral College effectively negates the “one-person, one-vote” concept. With electors awarded on a winner-take-all basis in 48 states, narrow victories for one party in key states can easily hand the election over to the loser of the popular vote.

That’s how Donald Trump and George W. Bush both wound up in the Oval Office.

The College has become little more than a way to legally steal elections. Now it’s time for it to go away. Because Democracy matters.

Of course, you won’t get much support for this idea from the GOP. They’ve learned how to twist Electoral College results to their benefit. To ensure the will of the majority of voters doesn’t count.

Which has led to handing the Oval Office over to a dangerous clown like Donald Trump.

Trump, who’s alienated most of our key allies… aligned himself with dictators and oligarchs… used his office to enrich himself… and altered tax laws to favor his cronies.

Trump, who’s elevated crooks and incompetents to Cabinet-level positions… promoted white nationalism… and dismantled environmental protections.

Trump, who’s lied to voters over 16,000 times in just 3 years… used his office to damage political rivals… and spent 20% of his time in office golfing.

All accomplished with 3 million fewer votes than Hillary.

It’s Time to Bid the Electoral College Good-Bye

The Electoral College doesn’t serve America’s best interests. It’s become little more than a tool for cynical politicians to “game” the system.

Narrow victories in swing states, like Florida, can hand an election to the popular vote’s loser. And overrulethe will of the people.

Far more voters identify with the Democrats’ platform. Yet manipulation of a flawed system hands elections to the minority party. And our government has begun to look less and less like the one voters say they want.

Trump’s tax breaks for the rich come with calls for cuts to programs that support Americas poorest and most vulnerable citizens.

“Give me your tired, your poor,” Emma Lazarus wrote in The New Colossus, “Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” Today’s GOP leadership complains about immigration from “sh*thole nations,” and wonders why more Norwegians don’t move here.

Republicans use “massive voter fraud” as an excuse to enact laws making voting harder for minorities and the poor. Yet the only cases of large-scale voter fraud in recent years have been perpetrated by pro-GOP forces.

This is why every eligible voter must exercise their rights. Why every election matters. And why the Electoral College has to go.

Every office in the land is filled by direct election… except the most important one. And the Right is using that exception to pervert Democracy. This must stop.

It’s time to end the Electoral College. To end what’s become a perversion of Democracy. And to hand our most important election over to the people.

The GOP Has Abandoned American Ideals

“You people with this phony Emoluments Clause.” That’s what Donald Trump said to reporters. A safeguard enshrined in the United States Constitution. And Trump calls it “phony.”

You’d think this would be the final straw for GOP lawmakers. The line none of them would cross.

You’d think. But you’d be wrong. Even after he’s attacked the Constitution itself, Republican leaders still back their boy. Another example of party before country.

But it’s not the only one. Not by a long shot.

For the GOP, Lies “Trump” Truth

GOP members of Congress recently forced their way into a closed committee meeting on impeachment. They demanded a more open and “transparent” process. The Dems, they claimed, were holding secret meetings… and keeping GOP members in the dark.

Never mind that half the committee is made up of Republicans – who could share info with their fellow Repubs. Never mind this was exactly the same policy followed by Trey Gowdy’s GOP Benghazi investigation.

And – most importantly – never mind the committees are following rules laid out by the GOP-majority Congress in 2015.

Now that a Republican is under scrutiny, the process is somehow unfair.

Here’s how insane this “protest” is…

Fox News commentator, Andrew Napolitano, called out the GOP Congressmen on their protest.

That’s right. A Fox News contributor told Conservative members of Congress they are wrong. That’s how far off the charts the GOP has gone.

A federal judge has also ruled the inquiry is legal. House rules allow for subpoenas – and standing committees can interview witnesses in secret – much like a grand jury.

Now that Dems control the process, GOP legislators protest. But they had no objections when Hillary Clinton was the subject of the Benghazi investigations.

Back then, closed committee hearings were critical. In defending closed hearings, GOP Rep. Gowdy said, “Interviews also allow the committee to safeguard the privacy of witnesses who may fear retaliation for cooperating or whose work requires anonymity, such as intelligence community operatives.”

Good reasons for closed-door meetings. Unless, of course, you’re a GOP Congressman trying to defend the indefensible. Then those safeguards become threats to democracy.

And an excuse to breach their own party’s rules…

The Twisted Logic of Matt Gaetz, et al

Perhaps no GOP rep encapsulates the insanity of “party-first” politics than Florida’s Matt Gaetz.

“The Democrats’ impeachment process deserves to be in front of the American people and not behind closed doors,” Gaetz tweeted. “I was proud to lead the charge for transparency with my Republican colleagues last week.”

Yup. Gaetz is proud to lead the charge against his own party’s rules. Proud to breach the sanctity of a secure Congressional hearing room. Proud to bring smart phones into a Congressional chamber where all outside electronics are banned. And probably proud of the pizza they ordered during their “protest.”

Yes… The brave GOP protestors sent out for pizza to sustain themselves during their protest.

According to Gaetz, “Schiff’s anarchic impeachment sham has devolved into mayhem and is entirely antithetical to constitutional principles.”

It’s anarchic, because… what? Because the majority of American voters favor impeachment? A sham because it’s enshrined in the Constitution?

It’s devolved into mayhem? Really? The only mayhem has been the assault on the secure Congressional hearing room by GOP reps. And it’s hard to imagine that a process enshrined in the Constitution is “entirely antithetical to constitutional principles.”

Keep in mind we’re talking about a president who’s used his office to enrich his family business time and again. Who’s uttered more than 13,000 recordedlies since taking office. And who set a quid pro quo to release funding Congress directed for a key ally.

He’s favored the word of a Russian oligarch over the findings of our combined intelligence community. He’s consistently praised dictators, while alienating our democratic allies. And he’s nominated ethically challenged cronies to the highest executive offices in the land.

Yet Gaetz and company consistently defend Trump. The GOP has abandoned American ideals. Winning for the party has become more important than serving their country. And “the party” represents – more and more – a shrinking base of wealthy white males.

The GOP Is Bringing Us Back to America’s Beginning

Our Founding Fathers had vision. But it was vision informed by a narrow view. Wealthy white men had controlled their world for as long as they knew. So, they established a nation with high ideals… but hampered by the view that wealthy white men were superior.

Bit by bit, America grew. We slowly accepted that blacks, Native Americans, and women were equal to white males. We fought past open racism… past segregation… past immigration quotas… past religious barriers… and past prejudices against women.

Black Americans counted as more than 3/5 of a person. Women won the right to vote. Native Americans were counted as citizens. We made progress.

The GOP wants to change all that.

Their immigration policies favor rich whites. And ban “undesirables.” Their tax plan – already enacted – favors the rich. Who are mostly white.

They want to control women’s reproductive choices. They want to expand a prison system already the most extensive in the world. They want to slowly strangle Social Security and Medicare – in favor of a bloated military budget.

The GOP wants to take us back to a time when wealthy white men controlled everything. Essentially, back to the beginning of our Republic. But with no chance for growth.

Which is why we have to stand firm. To fight every regressive step the GOP champions. To call out anti-Americans like Matt Gaetz for what they are: Regressives.

The GOP has no interest in progress. Just the opposite. Their goal is to turn the clock back. Back to a time when all the power was in the hands of a few rich white men.

It’s Time for America to Wake Up!

Note: I completed the original version of this article yesterday, then went online to find Nancy Pelosi’s announcement.

The Trump administration is out of control. Every time they manage to circumvent the law, they rise to a higher level of contempt for our Democracy. It’s gotten so bad, they’re almost not even trying to hide it. Just look at Rudy Giuliani’s most recent turn on the Sunday talk shows.

On CNN, he denied pressuring Ukraine’s president to “investigate” Joe Biden and his son. (Hunter Biden had a business relationship with a Ukrainian gas company.) Just 30 seconds later, Giuliani admitted it was true.

Then he called the claim he’d applied pressure “ridiculous” – immediately followed by saying he was proud for doing it – and then said once again the claim was “ridiculous.”

Now, we may be used to this sort of insanity from Giuliani – the President’s personal lawyer. But is it normal? Is it sane? Not by a long shot.

But Giuliani’s insanity offers good cover for his boss’s “admission creep.”

No… Maybe… Yes, But Who Cares?

Donald Trump has a style for making admissions. First, he denies he did something. Next, he waffles. Then he makes a low-key admission… and finally harps about “who cares?” Deny, suggest, minimize.

It’s worked pretty well for Trump so far. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise he used this tactic when faced with claims about pressuring Ukraine’s newly elected president to dig up dirt on Trump’s leading foe in the 2020 election.

First, he didn’t bring up Biden. Then he did, but there was no pressure. Now we know he may have brought up the topic as many as eight times during a single call.

And when combined with the way he held up sorely needed aid to Ukraine… well, let’s just say it’s suspicious.

Because Trump appears to have held hundreds of millions of dollars hostage to his investigation demands.

And now his administration is doing all it can to prevent Congress from exercising its Constitutional oversight duty.

Another pattern we’ve seen over and over.

  • Trump allies stonewall Congressional committee investigations
  • Cabinet heads refuse to comply with laws requiring them to turn information over to Congress
  • Trump’s Justice Department refuses to prosecute those charged with contempt of Congress

The result is an Executive Branch that has effectively removed itself from any checks and balances on its whims. And this lawlessness is aided and abetted by “Moscow Mitch” McConnell and his Congressional cronies. Who back Trump’s actions… no matter how outrageous.

But this latest affront to our Democracy may be the last straw… or the last gasp.

Has Trump Finally Awakened the Sleeping Giant?

Yesterday (09/23/19), seven Democrats called out this latest Trump misadventure in an op-ed piece in the Washington Post. What makes this article stand out is this:

  • The authors are all freshmen members of Congress – usually a quiet bunch
  • None of them are members of “The Squad”
  • All of them have a background in the military, defense, or intelligence.

And they’ve plainly stated the allegations against Trump are an impeachable offense… the withholding of the whistleblower complaint from Congress is illegal… and that Congress must take immediate action.

But will it? Nancy Pelosi hasn’t been open to calling for impeachment. Maybe she thinks it will mobilize Trump’s base. Could she be facing a mutiny?

If she refuses to take Trump to account for his blatant flouting of the law, she should. Yes; she’d rather see him in prison… blah, blah, blah. But her only control is over the here and now in Congress. So, this is her one chance to act.

We can’t allow the corruption to continue. Congressional leadership must step up. The Trump administration’s assault on Democracy could do permanent damage. For goodness sake, the man “jokes” about staying in office beyond two terms.

And he’s openly stated he might question any election result that doesn’t put him on top. Is it any wonder he’s courted the favor of well-armed white supremacists?

Congress must act now. If they don’t treat this scandal as the last straw, it may become our Democracy’s last gasp.

Addendum: A Reason for Hope?

So much has happened since I began this article. Trump released the “transcript” of his call… The Senate unanimously called for the administration to release the whistleblower report to the appropriate committees… Nancy Pelosi had finally had enough and got the impeachment ball rolling.

Perhaps most heartening of all, there were darn few Republican lawmakers on the attack. Even Lindsey Graham seemed muted in his response.

Sure, Graham said the move to impeach is “insane,” but he didn’t have any of his usual swagger and righteous indignation. Instead he looked sweaty and tired. There was no conviction in his voice.

What Graham should keep in mind is that this isn’t the only reason to start impeachment proceedings. Just the one that broke the camel’s back.

Mueller outlined 10 times Trump likely obstructed justice during the Russia probe. There’s the sudden jump in Air Force personnel staying at his Turnberry golf resort… putting thousands into Trump’s personal coffers. There’s the influx of foreign dignitaries staying at Trump properties.

There’s the “unindicted co-conspirator” issue with paying off mistresses to remain silent. Don’t forget: His fixer went to jail over these illegal campaign contributions. And Trump was in the mess up to his neck.

And, of course, there are the other issues in the whistleblower complaint that we don’t even know yet.

If Congress is smart, they’ll charge Trump with everything applicable. Which could make letting him off the hook political suicide for his die-hard supporters in the Senate.

So, maybe – just maybe – we have reason for hope.

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Cisneros, G., et al, “Seven freshman Democrats: These allegations are a threat to all we have sworn to protect,” Washington Post. Sep 23, 2019.

“Entitlement” Shouldn’t Be a Dirty Word

The Right likes to lump all social welfare programs together… and label them “entitlement programs.” The implication is that people feel entitled to giveaways.

Food stamps, Medicaid, welfare, Medicare, and Social Security. According to the Right, these entitlement programs are draining money needed for other important programs. So, it’s only fair that when America feels the pinch, those on entitlement programs should, too.

But – as so often is the case – the Right has misrepresented the situation. Here’s the truth they don’t want you to know…

Social Security Is Really a Government-Backed IRA

Most of today’s adults have been paying into the Social Security system their entire working lives. It’s a legal requirement for most of us. And if you’re self-employed, you’ve been paying double what others pay.

You’ve been setting aside money for your retirement. But, in this case, your “IRA” – your Individual Retirement Account – is with Uncle Sam. When you retire, Uncle Sam is supposed to pay you back for all those savings… with interest. Just like an IRA would.

This is a true entitlement program… because you are entitled to that money. That is, you earned it… you set it aside… and you should get it back when you retire. It’s not that you feel you should get something you didn’t earn. You have a right to that money. Because it’s yours.

Medicare is similar. You’ve been paying to fund your Medicare coverage for most – or all – of your adult life. You’ve been making regular payments against an insurance policy for your retirement years.

Medicare isn’t a government handout. It’s an insurance policy you bought and paid for during a career that probably spanned 45 years or more.

Social Security and Medicare are true entitlement programs. They aren’t a giveaway from a benevolent government. You’ve earned the right to collect by investing your hard-earned income in these programs.

But here’s where things go wrong.

Your Retirement Fund Has Become Congress’s Personal Piggy Bank

Members of Congress have a sweet deal. They earn an above-average income. They’re vested in their pension plan after just 5 years. And the average annual Congressional retirement benefit is over $60,000 a year. But it’s not Social Security.

Of course, since the system is rigged to favor incumbents, many members of Congress pad their pension payouts for decades. In 2014, CNN Money found 617 former members of Congress collecting pensions.

Meanwhile, what has Congress been doing with your retirement fund?

Using it to cover budget shortfalls. That’s right: Congress has been spending your retirement nest egg to make up for their inability to make tough budget decisions. And to curry favor to ensure re-election. (To earn bigger pensions for themselves.)

How else do you explain Alaska’s infamous “bridge to nowhere”? Or programs like the Osprey – an aircraft the military never wanted?

And – in their ultimate display of cynicism – the Right wants to cut the retirement benefits you’ve already paid for to make up for the tax breaks they’ve given to America’s wealthiest individuals.

Warren Buffet once pointed out he paid a lower effective tax rate than his secretary. Even though his earnings were in the billions. And that was before the crippling Trump tax cuts!

It’s All About the Racism… and Greed

Here’s a shocker: The beneficiaries of programs like Medicaid and food stamps are overwhelmingly white. More than twice as many white families get Medicaid benefits than black families… and they collect food stamps at a 50% higher rate than blacks, as well.

A report from NBC News suggests Trump isn’t able to wrap his head around this. After one proposed cut to welfare programs, a member of Congress told Trump the cuts would harm non-black constituents. His response? “Really? Then what are they?”

Forty years after the Reagan presidency, his “welfare queen” myth still persists on the Right.

Some Americans may have advanced since Reagan took office… But it seems pretty clear his racist ideology is alive and well on the Right today.

Congress ensured their own retirement while throwing away the average American’s savings. Then, the Right blamed it all on African Americans.

Now they’ve screwed you again by giving big tax breaks to the rich… while saying they need to cut the retirement benefits you’ve already paid for.

If that sounds obscene… it’s because it is. Enrich the already rich… and blame any pain on non-whites. This scenario has worked well for the Right for so long.

It’s why the wealth gap has grown to such ridiculous proportions. Congress has helped the rich grow richer at your expense… and then gone along with the story that it’s all because of racial minorities getting a few bucks to feed their kids.

The truth is… Rightists in Congress have won re-election by wasting your retirement fund on questionable projects. Then blaming a relatively small number of people of color for the financial shortfall that results.

Here’s the bottom line: You’ve earned your retirement by paying into it year after year… Any shortfalls are due to Congress using your retirement fund to pay for their own boondoggles… And blaming social welfare programs as a cover for Congress’ failure to act in your best interest.

Dock the Thieves; Not the Victims

Members of Congress stole your retirement fund… not members of some ethnic group. When CNN Money reviewed Congressional pensions in 2014, they found 617 former members were collecting an average of $60,250 a year.

Why should these clowns – who enjoyed perks and benefits throughout their time in Washington – live a lavish lifestyle at your expense? Especially when they stole your retirement to make up for their inability to make tough budget decisions.

Now these crooks expect you to make do with macaroni… while they enjoy filet mignon.

You earned your retirement benefits. You paid faithfully into a system that Congress systematically raped. It’s time for a reckoning.

Demand your rights – and your retirement. Don’t let the Right rob you again… to fund their own cushy retirement.

Let your representatives in Washington know: You’re sick of their B.S. You’ve invested in your retirement for decades. If anyone should pay a penalty, it should be those who stole your savings.

Find out how to contact your Representative and Senators at https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials. Then tell them how you really feel.

Because, if you don’t, you can kiss your retirement investment good-bye.

Donald Trump Is Not the Problem

Recently, Donald Trump used a tried and true racist attack against four members of Congress: “Go back where you came from.”

Racists have been shouting this at people who are “different” for generations. In exactly the same way Trump used it.

It was no coincidence the four members of Congress Trump leveled this attack against are women of color. In Trump’s eyes, America is white. People of color are all from somewhere else.

Democratic lawmakers rightly condemned Trump’s words. Even some Republicans took cautious exception to their leader’s openly racist rant.

And, within days, his base was chanting, “Send her back! Send her back!” at a Trump rally.

But Donald Trump isn’t the problem. He’s the result. The fact of President Trump stems from a much deeper rot that’s eating at the heart of our great nation. And we have to confront it if we have any hope of saving our Democracy.

And that moral rot is coming from several quarters. Most surprisingly…

The Religious Right

Conservative Christians fervently support Trump. Even though he’s the polar opposite of their most sacred beliefs.

Trump is a serial adulterer who’s been married three times. He lies constantly, espouses violence, openly sympathizes with racist and nationalist causes, and shows contempt for women and minorities.

He openly promoted gambling for years – until his casinos went belly up. He’s been cited for racial discrimination in housing. And has virtually no background in faith at all.

So why does the Religious Right support Trump so fervently? Because he flipped from pro-choice to anti-abortion. And they’re willing to overlook almost anything in a candidate who agrees on their pet issue.

Even if he’s open racist.

White Nationalists

This is a no-brainer.

White Nationalists don’t gloss over core beliefs in favor of one issue. They’re willing to support anyone who makes their position more “normal.”

White hoods and burning crosses have given way to polo shirts and tiki torches. But the message is still the same… even if it’s not as openly violent. “Jews will not replace us,” they chanted at their “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville.

It’s not much of a stretch to go from “They will not replace us” to “Send her back.”

Unlike the Religious Right, white nationalists don’t believe Trump is necessarily on their side. But they’re more than happy to accept anything he says and does that adds legitimacy to their cause.

Disaffected White Voters

The rise of technology has left many Americans behind. Once upon a time, a high school education could land you a job in a factory. As a working class American, you could afford a house. Your wife could stay home with the kids. And you could even take a nice little vacation once a year.

But technology has displaced many unskilled and semi-skilled workers. Labor-intensive jobs have fled overseas. At the same time, the only route out – a college education – has become crushingly expensive.

For many people, the American dream has become unattainable.

Along comes Donald Trump. Who points at immigrants and blames them for stealing “our” jobs… for committing crimes… for pretty much everything that’s wrong in America.

Trump uses inflammatory words to demonize non-white immigrants. He depicts them as mostly strapping young men – mostly criminals – looking to rape, rob, and plunder. He calls migrants at the border an “invasion.” And he claims – with no evidence – that terrorists are sneaking in with them.

Trump gives these voters an easy answer to all their problems. Is it any wonder disaffected white voters rally behind him?

But Trump’s most fervent allies are the very people who should most oppose his words and actions. I’m talking about…

The United States Congress

No president can force his will on our nation alone. Our forefathers wisely created three co-equal branches of government. Congress provides a check on the Executive… and the judiciary provides a check on both of the others.

What our Forefathers didn’t foresee was a waning party willing to subvert our Constitution to maintain power.

Through gerrymandering, voter suppression, and packing the courts, the Republican party has managed to maintain remarkable power. In spite of a dwindling base of support.

And – as long as he moves their agenda forward – the GOP seems willing to accept almost any level of racism from Trump.

When confronted with Trump’s racist rant, Republican legislators duck into elevators, claim they were out of town, or make other excuses. Even those who disagree with the words, mostly refuse to say they’re racist.

And when the House of Representatives voted to condemn Trump’s racist diatribe, only four Republicans had the courage to agree.

So, is it any wonder that racist acts are on the rise in the U.S.?

We Are Better Than This

Most of us have grown since the founding of our nation. We can acknowledge our Founding Fathers – as foresighted as they were – were also imperfect. Some owned slaves. Most viewed Native Americans as lesser beings. And they didn’t believe women could cast an educated vote.

But we ended slavery in the 1860s. Women got the right to vote in 1920. And, four years later, even Native Americans were granted citizenship rights. Civil Rights legislation in the 1960s further marginalized racist America.

But – as Donald Trump so clearly demonstrated – we haven’t achieved the ideal yet. Trump can still incite racist hate. Even against sitting members of Congress.

Just watch the video of his latest rally. For 13 long seconds, Trump basks in the glory of “Send her back!” And then continues his diatribe against four members of Congress.

But we are Americans. We are better than this. Most of us agree with the Democrats’ talking points – and oppose Trump’s hate-fueled agenda. Most of us want to end racism.

The first step? Turning out in massive numbers in November 2020… and sending Trump – and his allies – back to where they came from.

Trump’s Emergency: Where Have We Seen This Before?

Mostly harmless foreigners cross the U.S. border. The flames of hysteria – fed by an over-zealous nutcase – grip the citizenry. The nutcase demands a massive response. Chaos ensues.

Trump’s border emergency is so far out in left field, it could be the plot of a zany comedy.

Oh, wait… It is.

Does Trump Watch Too Much Classic TV?

Maybe he’s been watching Turner Classic Movies. Or tunes in to the mid-day movie on one of those off-brand digital networks. Or just likes to stream old movies. I’m not sure.

Whatever the case, we’ve seen the plot for Trump’s border crisis before. Because it’s eerily similar to the 1966 comedy The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!

In the movie, a Russian sub runs aground off the coast of Massachusetts. It’s not on a spy mission. The captain just wanted to get a better look at the U.S.A. But they’re stuck on a sandbar.

So a landing party heads ashore to find a boat to help free the sub. They don’t want trouble. They don’t want to hurt anyone. In fact, they don’t even want to be noticed.

But of course they are. And they’re mistaken for the first wave of an invasion. Soon, an over-zealous nutcase has organized patriotic citizens to defend against the invasion.

In the movie, sanity eventually prevails. The Russians help save a little boy, and the townspeople realize they mean no harm. The townsfolk then help the Russians escape. Humanity triumphs, and disaster is averted.

But I think Trump may have fallen asleep during the movie’s last 20 minutes. Because it doesn’t look like his version of this movie has the same ending.

Trump Doesn’t Want Happily Ever After

Trump has a notoriously short attention span. Some White House aides slip his name into briefing documents, because it’s the only way to keep him reading. Others use charts and graphs to make key points. Otherwise, the president won’t pay attention.

Trump may have stolen most of his border emergency plot from The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming! But he obviously didn’t watch to the end of the movie.

Because Trump’s version includes concertina wire… a massive troop build-up… and over-stepping his Constitutional authority to execute an end run around Congress.

Here are the facts:

  • A majority of Americans don’t want Trumps wall.
  • A majority in both houses of Congress doesn’t want the wall, either.
  • There is no legal way for Trump to finance the wall.

So Trump has taken a two-pronged approach to get his way.

Step One: Lie Through Your Teeth

Republicans controlled both houses of Congress during Trump’s first two years in office. Yet no new wall was built. There were some repairs. But new wall? Nope.

Now that Democrats control the House, Trump has taken a different approach: Lie, lie, lie.

His new “Finish the Wall” slogan is part of his PR plan to convince his base he’s been building the wall all along. Which he hasn’t.

He’s now taken to saying he’s completed significant sections of wall… and claiming the Democrats are trying to deny him the funds to complete his work. Because they want “open borders” and to let rapists and murderers overrun America.

Never mind the statistics show undocumented immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans.

Never mind that most undocumented immigrants arrived here legally and simply over-stayed their visas.

Never mind that most drugs are brought in through established checkpoints.

In Trump’s mind, belief is more important than reality. So he spews lies with no regard to what’s really happening.

Step Two: Demonize Anyone Who Dares Speak the Truth

“Fake news” has become Trump’s go-to attack on anyone who questions his claims. CNN – which has taken pains to verify Trump’s claims – is a frequent victim.

The Washington Post has fact-checked Trump from the beginning. They simply compare his claims to the verifiable facts. In Trump’s eyes, they’re “fake news,” too.

Any journalist or media outlet that dares to disagree is declared fake news” by our Liar-in-Chief.

It almost seems Trump is unaware most of his public statements over the last 40 or so years have been recorded…

Either he’s unaware, or he knows his base doesn’t care. As long as he holds to his racist agenda, they’ll swallow anything he spews out.

You Can Make a Difference

Reality is powerful. And the reality is that Trump lost the popular vote. By a margin of nearly 3 million. And that’s in spite of Republicans’ best efforts to suppress the votes of minority and poor Americans.

Speaking of minorities… Trump’s wall is supported by a minority. Most Americans want a citizenship path for DACA youth. We don’t want family separations. We don’t want asylum seekers sent back to Mexico.

Most Americans are humanitarians, not racists.

Because we outnumber Trump’s racist base, we have an opportunity. Your representatives in Washington know their jobs depend on votes. And if they think they’ll lose their cushy job in the next election cycle, watch how many of them decide to switch sides.

But a lot of us have to make our voices heard. We have to let our representatives in Congress know how we feel. And that’s easily done…

Just go to https://www.congress.gov/contact-us for their contact info. Then let your representative and senators know how you feel. Any elected official who thinks their job may be on the line will respond.

Members of Congress will stand with Trump only as long as they think it boosts their re-election chances. If backing him threatens their job, watch how quickly they can change their minds.

We don’t have to let Trump rewrite the ending to this story. Humanity can still win out over hate. You just have to act.