Our democracy developed from a rich tradition of shared ideas from Socrates and Aristotle. A core belief from Greek tradition is that democracies depend upon the representation of citizens. If you are an American citizen but have no representation, then your government is not a democracy.
Robert Mueller’s investigation charged six GOP leaders of President Donald Trump’s campaign team for enabling collaboration with Russians eager to get Trump elected. These campaign leaders worked with Cambridge Analytica, which is owned by Republicans Robert Mercer and Steve Bannon. With unauthorized Facebook data from 65 million citizens and help from the Russian GRU and WikiLeaks, they “discovered” new GOP voters. This is how Russian leader Vladimir Putin and Republicans conspired to undermine American representation.
Trump was elected to represent all Americans. But he has illustrated through a variety of unforced errors that he does not represent women, citizens of color, or poor folks. His tax cuts for mostly the wealthy only fueled our unprecedented federal deficit. This is in violation of his oath of office. But the Putin Republicans seem to take no offense.
It was odd that the GOP selected Trump as its top candidate when there were many indications of his character deficits before the election. In New York, his troubles with marriage, women, lawsuits, and bankruptcies were well-documented. The GOP had qualified choices, so why nominate an arrogant billionaire with a variety of character deficits? Some feel he ran to benefit his brand.
His administration has been characterized by a lack of planning and teamwork due to many departures and substitutions at key positions. Teamwork is difficult for Trump due to his character defects. He would rather be a delusional boss. A number of books have described his character deficits of trust, respect, empathy, and reciprocity.
His poor relationship skills are now a dangerous risk to our nation. We currently face three threats to our nation’s future: market instability, a growing risk of war, and our warming climate emergency. We cannot avoid such acute challenges with tweets and bullying. These rising risks may become linked if Senate Republicans continue to ignore Trump’s arrogant lies. We must confront each of these challenges with American teamwork.
Trump has been weaving a web of public deceit by not sharing business dealings or tax records with the citizens he represents. This suggests there is more dark news he would not be able to explain to voters or the media.
In his New York City real estate dealings, U.S. bankers decided his business accounts were not solid in the 1990s. This was when his contact began with Russian oligarchs. These unholy alliances now are being investigated in New York courts while the Department of Justice investigates links with the Deutsche Bank’s engagement in money laundering.
GOP leadership has allowed Trump to divide us with his delusional impulses. This includes his encouragement of white supremacy as part of apparent voter suppression in southern states. The recent murders in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, illustrate how his attacks on immigrants have divided us. We need all our civic resources if we hope to maintain market stability, military balance, and a stable climate. This is why we must be prepared to protect the next U.S. election if we hope to stand together in this time of shared risks.
Sen. Mitch McConnell and the GOP leaders in the Senate have blocked background checks for gun owners and policies to protect our election in 2020 from fraud. We must hold the president and GOP accountable and demand the administration obeys the rule of law, which generates respect for our republic and appreciation for the liberties we enjoy.
Bill Mittlefehldt of Duluth is a retired teacher of economics and state energy coordinator whose Cross Currents consulting firm works with communities to build sustainability and resilience (ccurrents.org).