The long, hot summer is just about over, but unfortunately we haven’t been able to avoid the daily barrage of political stories. Every time President Trump issues one of his tweets, the media calls it “breaking news,” even though clearly almost none of it is news, and none of its contents will make America great again. And when it comes to the 20-plus Democratic candidates, no matter what they say, the average voter isn’t paying attention.
The daily polls of voter sentiment continue to favor former Vice President Joe Biden, and trailing behind him are Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. I’ve concluded that there are two main reasons why Biden continues to be at the top of the polls. He has solid name recognition, and he appeals to the voters who want someone who will stop tweeting and get down to the job of running the country. It is also obvious that despite the efforts of the press to find fault with his missteps, Biden continues to get the most support.
There are many interesting people seeking the Democratic nomination, but I’m convinced that the best thing going for the Democrats is Donald J. Trump. I’ve been a political junkie since age 6, and at no time in my life has any president been as disruptive a force as the current one. No doubt, Richard Nixon disgraced his country and Bill Clinton embarrassed himself and his followers, but this president has yet to prove that he is even worthy to sit in the Oval Office.
Each day, starting at dawn, we’re treated to his avalanche of insults via his telephone, and distraction after distraction in the form of promises and pledges that are usually broken within hours after they’re pronounced. In the aftermath of the shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, Trump missed a golden opportunity to help America heal, however briefly. He is so self-absorbed that on his visit to a Dayton hospital, all he could do was brag to the first responders about the size of the crowd at a previous rally and flash a highly inappropriate smile for a photo with a baby who had just lost his parents. Clinton, Bush and Obama were consolers in chief. Trump is neither consoler nor chief.
It seems like it was only a few days ago that the president, appearing to show concern about mass gun slaughter, promised that he would support a law to mandate background checks for gun buyers, an idea that is supported by 93 percent of Americans. All it took for him to totally reverse himself was a few calls from the National Rifle Association. But given that he’s so erratic, it’s possible that he’ll switch positions a second time depending on his mood of the moment.
Are you happy with the economy? According to Trump, it’s never been better. But for whom? The tax cuts that were going to guarantee him another four years went to a small number of people, and the national deficit is now over $1 trillion. Promised manufacturing jobs have faded away, and small and large businesses are suffering from his ridiculous tariffs. Each day the man who was the subject of “The Art of the Deal” proves he is incapable of making any deals.
Remember the declaration that America had defeated ISIS? The bombing of a wedding in Afghanistan two weekends ago, in which 63 people were killed and 180 more were wounded, was the work of the same people that Trump said were dead and buried. ISIS is alive and well, and unfortunately itching to create turmoil near and far. So, like all of his other pronouncements, the president showed that he doesn’t have a clue about what’s going on anywhere at any time.
The gravest of his assaults on our society is his attempts to stir up religious resentment by questioning the loyalty of Jewish voters. Sowing ethnic distrust in the hope of getting Jewish Democrats to vote Republican is a sickening display from a man who has no scruples and who tries to manipulate public opinion as a campaign strategy.
Love him or not, Biden’s stature as the leading candidate is boosted every day by this president. And even if Biden doesn’t make it to the finish line, some other Democrat will benefit from the colossal blunders of Donald J. Trump.
Jerry Kremer was a state assemblyman for 23 years, and chaired the Assembly’s Ways and Means Committee for 12 years. He now heads Empire Government Strategies, a business development and legislative strategy firm. Comments about this column? JKremer@liherald.com.