Is Our Country Experiencing Deja Vu All Over Again?

In 1960, Americans voted for a vibrant, young Democratic senator with new ideas to be president. John F. Kennedy promised a New Frontier for our country. Though he didn’t live to fulfill his dreams for America, his vice-president, Lyndon Johnson, did deliver a number of major reforms that established the Great Society. However, in 1969, Republican Richard Nixon entered the White House and a period of disastrous political corruption ensued.

Forty-eight years later in 2008, Americans voted for another vibrant, young Democratic senator to be president. Barack Obama promised “change we can believe in.” Though he was severely hampered by Republican opposition, he did manage to pull the country out of the Great Recession and pass the Affordable Care Act. However, in 2017, Republican Donald Trump entered the White House and apparently another period of terrible political corruption has begun.

While there are striking similarities here, clearly these two episodes in American history are not the same. Moreover, it is still a bit early to tell how the Trump era will play out. Nevertheless, what can we make of all this?

In both situations, a center-left Democratic administration was followed by a conservative Republican presidency. Perhaps more importantly, in each case the new Republican president had an authoritarian personality. That is, an attitude characterized by belief in absolute obedience or submission to one’s own authority, as well as the administration of that belief through the oppression of one’s subordinates. Like Nixon, Trump fits this personality type.

If history is to repeat itself, Trump will come tumbling down just as Nixon did when the Watergate scandal destroyed his presidency. Having lived through the Nixon years, I can remember how much Nixon hated the Washington press corps. Trump despises the media as much, if not more than Nixon did. Trump assails the media, calling the New York Times and the Washington Post, “Fake News.” Like Nixon, he intimidates journalists, avoids White House reporters, and stages events for television.

In addition, Nixon believed that many people were out to get him. He even compiled an “enemies list” and hunkered down alone in the White House. In his book, President Nixon, Richard Reeves wrote that Nixon could trust no one because in his isolation he thought other people were like him. He governed by secret orders and false records.

While Trump is much more outgoing than Nixon was, like the former president he does have a very limited circle of trusted advisors. Thus, Trump kept Vice President Pence out of the loop regarding General Flynn’s activities with the Russians. He even went as far as allowing Pence to publicly and unwittingly repeat Flynn’s lies about it.

Consequently, we have entered another very dark period in our country’s history. When the Watergate scandal broke, courageous members of the President’s own party stepped up and demanded a full accounting of Nixon’s corrupt and illegal behavior, even though the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. Republicans like Sen. Howard Baker and John Dean, Nixon’s former White House Counsel, were instrumental in bringing to light the extent of Nixon’s high crimes and misdemeanors which were required to impeach him.

Now the Republicans control both houses of Congress. While some Democrats are calling for full disclosure of Trump’s very questionable and, quite possibly, impeachable behavior, it will take patriotic Republicans to stand up to their President and demand the facts regardless of the consequences. This is the moment of truth for John McCain, Lindsey Graham and the rest of the Republican Party. The fate of our country is in their hands.


Where Are Our American Patriots?

The entire U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Vladimir Putin and the Russian government interfered in our election to support Donald Trump’s candidacy for president. According to the L.A. Times and the Washington Post, FBI Director James B. Comey and Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. are in agreement with a CIA assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election in part to help Donald Trump win the presidency.

While some officials are calling for a thorough bipartisan investigation into this matter, no one seems to think the confirmation of Trump’s election victory by the Electoral College should be delayed until the investigation is completed. Of course, once Trump is sworn in, it will be too late to change the election’s outcome. At that point, Trump will control the government, and likely do, with the help of his Republican allies, whatever it takes to derail and discredit any investigation.

Where are American patriots like Sen. John McCain and Pres. Obama when the American people need them the most? Why aren’t they stepping up and calling for a halt to this impending national catastrophe? Why isn’t Pres. Obama laying out the facts discovered by the intelligence community to the American people, so we can determine what action we believe is necessary to save our democracy?

We need Republican senators McCain and Lindsey Graham along with Minority leaders Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi to immediately and jointly file for a writ of mandamus before the U.S. Supreme Court ordering the Electoral College not to convene until an independent, non-partisan commission determines whether the outcome of the presidential election was substantially affected by the Russian meddling. Every patriotic American citizen should be urging their representatives to support this effort.

Republican leaders like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are asking why did the Democrats and the intelligence community wait until after the election to raise the issue of Russian interference. Unlike Republican senators McCain and Graham, McConnell wants to keep any investigation under the partisan control of the Republican Senate. McCain and Graham along with leading Democratic senators Schumer and Jack Reed, on the other hand, are calling for an independent, non-partisan investigation outside of Senate control.

Unfortunately, McConnell cannot be trusted to do the right thing. Last September Sen. McConnell actively worked to suppress the information that the Russians were hacking into our election process. At a meeting with Congressional leaders where Pres. Obama attempted to get bipartisan support for exposing Russia’s interference, McConnell threatened to accuse the White House of playing partisan politics if Obama released the information.

At the same time, the Democratic Party seems to be asleep at the wheel. Where is the outrage? Why haven’t Pres. Obama, Rep. Pelosi, Sen. Schumer and others demanded the Electoral College be stopped from convening until this matter is resolved. Once again, the Democrats are demonstrating they have no backbone. Just think what the Republicans would be doing if the situation were reversed. I have no doubt that they would be doing anything and everything to overturn the election.

The bottom line: we, the people must fight in any way we can for our democracy, or we will surely lose it. And, right now we are clearly losing it.

See for how to join the movement to revive our democracy.

Will Electors Vote Their Conscience?

     A Republican elector from Texas, Christopher Suprun, recently announced that he would not cast his electoral vote for Donald Trump on December 19. In a December 5 New York Times Op-Ed piece, Suprun persuasively argues that Trump is not qualified to be president and that he cannot in good conscience vote for Trump.

    In today’s political climate, how refreshing to find a political figure with a conscience. If the Republican Congress had acted in good faith during Barack Obama’s presidency and put their country first, many American jobs could have been saved from going overseas; our nation’s infrastructure would have been rebuilt; and American college students would have received needed relief from their burdensome loans, among numerous other actions that would have helped the people of this country. At the same time, if Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the leadership of the Democratic Party had acted in good conscience and not rigged the Democratic primaries, Bernie Sanders just might now be our President-elect. What a difference acting in good conscience can make.

     Suprun could be a role model for all the presidential electors. He feels compelled to “do the right thing for the good of the country” and reject Trump because he, Suprun, believes he “owe(s) no debt to a party. I owe a debt to my children to leave them a nation they can trust.”

     Among Suprun’s reasons for disqualifying Trump are the following:

(1) He drives a wedge between Americans. Trump does not encourage civil discourse, but chooses to stoke fear and create outrage.

(2) He engages in demagogy, and is not independent from foreign influence.

(3) He lacks the foreign policy experience and the demeanor needed to be commander in chief.

(4) More than 50 Republican former national security officials and foreign policy experts publicly declared Trump “would be a dangerous president.”

(5) He encouraged an illegal act by saying Russia should hack Hillary Clinton’s emails.

(6) He urged violence against protesters at his rallies during the campaign.

(7) He speaks of retribution against his critics.

(8) He has surrounded himself with advisers such as Stephen K. Bannon, who claims to be a Leninist and lauds villains and their thirst for power.

(9)  His pick for national security adviser, Gen. Michael T. Flynn, installed a secret internet connection in his Pentagon office despite rules to the contrary. And, finally,

(10)  He has played fast and loose with the law for years. He may have violated the Cuban embargo, and there are reports of improprieties involving his foundation and actions he took against minority tenants in New York. Trump still seems to think that pattern of behavior can continue.

     Suprun concludes that “Presidential electors have the legal right and a constitutional duty to vote their conscience.” By rejecting Trump, he intends to “defend (his) country and Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” If only more Republican electors had Mr. Suprun’s courage.