Editorial: Dems not the same as GOP!

In the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, a popular lament among voters was that both political parties were equally bad, and that Democrats were not that much different from Republicans. Many voters cast a pox on both parties and Republicans, in particular, rejected 16 other candidates in their primary to pick one of the least experienced, least credible, least informed and most caustic candidates in the nation’s history.
Two years later, much has changed, including a dramatically clearer distinction between the two major political parties.
Let’s count the ways:
• Tax cuts: Republican majorities in the House and Senate sided with Trump to pass tax cuts that will mostly benefit wealthy Americans and corporations. Forget the lip-service to tax cuts for the lower- and middle-class Americans, some middleclass ratepayers may get a few nickels on the dollar but the bulk of the tax cuts go to the rich.
Democrats argued fruitlessly (no hearings on the tax cuts were held, preventing any public airing of the pros and cons of the Republican bills) for greater tax cuts to help the middle class and poor, but were shut out of any legislative participation.
The contrast couldn’t be clearer: While Republicans stand for tax cuts that benefit the rich, Democrats stand for keeping higher taxes on the wealthiest few, and using taxation to help bridge the wealth gap and provide programs to help move more Americans into higher income households.
• Fiscal discipline. It’s obvious that the Republican Party has none. After years of complaining about President Barack Obama’s fiscal stimulus programs, which were necessary to jump-start an economy that was stopped dead in its tracks by the 2008 Great Recession, the GOP just added a trillion dollars to the deficit and will get nothing in return (except more campaign contributions to get re-elected).
In 2008, when President Obama added billions of dollars to the deficit he was juicing the economy with infrastructure projects and other longer-lasting investments that would lay the foundation for a more robust economy. (He took a while but it’s the foundation that Trump is now benefiting from.) Obama saved hundreds of thousands of autoworker jobs at General Motors and Dodge-Buick-Chrysler, bailed out banks too big to fail, and protected hundreds of thousands of additional jobs.
Trump’s plan, on the other hand, just cuts the taxes of rich people. There is no requirement to create a single job with those trillions of dollars in tax cuts. There is no investment in infrastructure, no plan to improve the job market for laborers going forward.
That’s a big difference between the principles of both parties, and in the specifics of how they govern.
• The environment: Trump has led his Republican party into an all-out assault on efforts to curtain climate change. Rather, he and his fellow Republicans have adopted a drill-baby-drill attitude across the board. Particularly egregious is that includes environmentally sensitive areas like above the Arctic Circle. As an energy policy it’s shortsighted; environmentally it’s killing the planet.
• Health care: President Obama and Democrats spent much political capital on landmark legislation to create a health care system in which tens of millions more lower and middle class Americans were covered by health care insurance. Republicans have spent the past year trying to take that coverage away, as well as sabotage the financial underpinnings of the Exchange. If they are successful, they will have taken away health care to millions, caused health care insurance rates to skyrocket, and, in general, made health care more uncertain, unreliable and more confusing that ever before, while also putting Medicare and Medicaid coverage in jeopardy.
• While Democrats have long supported social programs — like Social Security, Medicare, federal aid for special education students, student aid for school loans, etc. — Republicans will soon use the tax cut legislation to sound the call of “irresponsible deficit spending” and attempt to cut the very programs that benefit the lower and middle classes.
• Women’s rights, human rights: Democrats have long championed equality among all Americans. Too many Republicans, led by Mr. Trump, have most recently embraced a racist, sexist, xenophobic outlook toward others who do not represent a white, Christian-based profile.
• Crime and guns: Mr. Trump and too many Republicans increasingly define their party as a law-and-order regime that finds it uncomfortable to even discuss sane gun policies, like placing some limits on rapid-fire weapons (used to kill high numbers of people at recent concerts.) Democrats have argued that Americans can be secure in the second amendment rights, while also supporting saner gun safety rules.
• Lies and hypocrisy: Trump is supreme in one thing, his willingness to lie repeatedly and his willingness to hide his business interests, taxes, and how he and his family members are benefitting financially from his reign in the White House. Rather than drain the swamp, he has increased its size and its inhabitants ten-fold.
Democrats need to hammer that theme over and over throughout the upcoming year.
Angelo Lynn

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