The most important election in USA history

There is only one goal in the 2020 presidential campaign: Defeating Donald J. Trump.

Therefore, there is one issue in the 2020 presidential campaign: Donald J. Trump.

While I do not agree with the policy solutions offered by senators Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders, if they become president I will find ways to oppose their solutions and offer better ones. That’s a better fight to me than fighting against what could be the ruination of this country as we know it under a second term of Trump.

Former Vice President Joe Biden so far seems to be fighting the battle on the issue of Trump. Sure he will have policy positions but, again, I’d rather fight over policy than over whether the President of the United States is a racist. Even though I think she is totally unqualified to even be a candidate for President, I’d rather get mad about Marianne Williamson’s focus on spiritualism as president than on arguing over Trump being in the pocket of the NRA.

Now that I think of it, I’d rather argue with a piece of gum over whether its flavor is spearmint, peppermint or bubble than argue about Donald Trump’s racist statements and splitting families apart on our southern border.

Don’t assume Trump can’t win election. He can.

If the battle is fought on issues, he could win because he has some good things to point to (the economy, regulations) and he will lie about anything if it helps him politically. If the battle is fought on how bad he is at appointing senior officials, he will blame others for their selection. If the economy peters out, it will be the Fed’s fault. If we can’t get a trade agreement with China, it will be because China won’t give us fair treatment. If it’s over crime, it’s because we let too many immigrants in or mental health. If it’s over gun control, it’s because guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

In short, he has an excuse for everything even if history or science or facts show otherwise. Example? Climate change. Every legitimate scientist in the world agrees climate change is happening and, despite what the President says, it will not change on its own like the weather.

He has enough that he can give shade to his record and maybe, again, fool enough of the people enough of the time.

But if the battle is fought on Donald Trump the Man, he loses. Most of the country has never approved of him personally, according to the polls. But if the question is job approval, according to pollster Nate Silver, Trump actually is climbing. His personal favorable ratings have always been low, well under 50 percent, but his job approval rating (a subtle but huge difference) has been sneaking upward lately. Silver says his job approval rating is up by about 10 percentage points since 2016. It’s still below 50 percent but don’t assume he’s hit his ceiling yet.

Why? Probably perceptions that the economy is doing well during his term (forgetting about when the improvement really started). The economy has remained strong though some say it’s showing signs of weakening, likely a result of Trump’s failed trade negotiations with China. But you’ll never hear that reason from Trump, who even believes, or at least says, China is paying his ridiculous tariffs. We are paying, through higher prices. Don’t believe it? Keep a close watch on the prices you pay for things. You’ll see.

We should have learned, and most of us did, about the destruction tariffs do to our economy with when the Hawley Smoot tariffs were enacted last century.

And don’t underestimate Trump’s ability to lie and have an impact. He’s very good at that. Not every American pays as close attention to the daily shocks that come out of the White House — they have lives to lead, jobs to focus on, and families to protect. Folks like me, and probably you, are very focused on his daily mistakes or his sidling up to dictators while turning his back to allies. Or his constant lying.

Nothing is more important right now than defeating Trump. You can debate over Biden or senators Kamala Harris or the others, but don’t get too attached. I know in your heart of hearts you want whoever runs against Trump to win.

And we’ll deal with whatever those consequences come along if the Democrat is elected. At least we won’t be fighting over the values that this country has shown to the world for more than 200 years. That is what gave America its strength and made it a magnet for people from all countries who want to better their lives, and their children’s lives.

That’s why if I were advising a campaign right now I’d be focused on one issue only — reminding voters what Donald Trump has done to this country. Reminding them he promised to release his income tax records but now says he’s not going to do it. If he released those records I have no doubt the American people would learn how he really makes or doesn’t make his money, how much money he really is worth and to whom he is beholden with loans.

Donald J. Trump is a very bad, nasty man — and I know I have Trump supporters who read this but please take an honest look at this man and his lack of empathy for anyone but himself. I know you like that he gives the finger to “the establishment.” But just remember how many of his own appointees he has blamed for problems they did not create. And remember how he gave them the finger as they left. And, if he needs to, to build himself up, he’ll give you the finger too. Loyalty is a one-way street in Trump’s world.

Standing in front of the medical staff that just had gone through the worst few days of their lives, working long hours trying to save victims of a mass shooter in El Paso, Trump stood there quickly thanked them for all they did then pivoted to a riff on how big his … crowd was when he spoke in El Paso a few months ago.

And, by the way, he lied about the size of his … crowd too.

This is the most important election in the history of our country. And I do not say that lightly. In fact, if I were running any of the Democratic candidates campaigns, especially one of the leading ones, I would call a meeting of my counterparts and suggest we not criticize each other’s candidates except on policy. Not only should we all be putting country ahead of party, the candidates should put country in front of their campaigns.

The election is that important.

Former deputy White House press secretary (Reagan and Bush 41) and former head of communications at Republican Natl Committee. My blog:

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