Welcome to 2020. We’re going to elect a president near the end of the year.
I know what you might be thinking. We go through this every four years and every single time some pundit or politician calls it the “most consequential election” in, take your pick: our lifetime, U.S. history, all of human history.
You know what? The 2020 presidential election might fall into all of those categories. This is the real thing, ladies and gentlemen.
America exhibited some amazingly bad form — and this is just my humble view — in 2016 when it elected Donald John Trump as our 45th president. He won a majority in the Electoral College, while losing the “actual” vote by nearly 3 million ballots.
He snookered just enough people in the appropriate states to edge out an infinitely more qualified opponent to win the presidency.
In my mind, Trump has made an absolute mess of the high office he occupies. The task awaiting voters in 2020 is to make amends for the mistake they made four years earlier.
Donald Trump promised to make history as president. He’s done it! He is the third president to be impeached by the House of Representatives. He is likely to be the first president to run for re-election as an impeached president.
Yes, the economy is going strong. The labor force has added millions of jobs during Trump’s tenure as president; joblessness is at historic lows. The president is taking all the credit for it. Fine! Let him take whatever credit he wants to scarf up.
However, a lot of other matters need our attention.
Trump has trashed our alliances; he has cozied up to strongmen abroad; he has thrown bouquets at the feet of North Korean killer/despot Kim Jong Un and Russian spymaster/strongman Vladimir Putin; he has denigrated our intelligence agencies’ assessment that Russia attacked our electoral system; he has disparaged an American war hero.
Trump promised to stay off the golf course, only to spend more time on the links than any president in history; he runs an executive government branch that only is about two-thirds full, with key offices lacking anyone in charge; he relies on his unqualified son-in-law to look for Middle East peace.
Trump conducts public policy via Twitter; he fired the FBI director because he was doing his job; he fired an attorney general because the AG determined he could expose himself to conflict of interest.
Trump solicited a foreign government for personal political favors and blocked all key aides from testifying before Congress … two actions that led to his impeachment.
The president likely will survive a Senate trial. Then he’ll run for re-election. The task awaiting voters is to determine whether the president — who has set an unofficial record for lying — deserves another four years as our head of state and commander in chief.
We need to elect a president who understands the limitations of his office, who recognizes tradition and decorum, who can rebuild the alliances that have been tattered and torn, who puts the public interest ahead of his or her personal interest.
By golly, this upcoming election looks to me to be the most consequential in my lifetime. We might even be able to expand the superlative before it’s over.