“Won’t Get Fooled Again.”
The final track of 1971’s “Who’s Next” album became something of an opposition anthem to President Richard Nixon’s re-election campaign. Democrat George McGovern won only Massachusetts and D.C. So you could say the nation got fooled again, though Nixon later resigned when faced with conviction and removal from office by the Senate after his impeachment.
There’s no presidential election this year. But you’d never know from Donald Trump’s campaign schedule—a rally nearly every night in advance of the midterm elections. He could talk about the humming economy and low unemployment rate. Instead, the president has turned to his 2016 playbook, stoking fears about immigration, demonizing Democrats and lying about virtually everything that pops into his head and out of his mouth.
Will voters be fooled again?
The president’s pathological mendacity has accelerated as he feverishly tries to forestall a Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives. From out of nowhere Trump promises a middle-class tax cut, having finally realized that last year’s corporate and those-who-need-it-least tax cut impresses almost no one who’s not worth millions. His so-called middle-class gift will pass by Nov. 1, he says. Never mind that Congress is not in session and won’t be until after the elections. In the lame-duck session, we’ll be lucky if Congress avoids shutting down the government because Trump hasn’t gotten his way on the border wall Mexico was going to pay for. A golden-oldie lie from 2016. So now Trump counters with more immigration whoppers.
The Democrats, he says, are paying for the caravan of Central American immigrants making its way to our border. He adds with zero evidence that Middle East terrorists hide in their midst. Right. Democrats are paying undocumented immigrants to give Republicans a campaign issue to run on. That lie is almost as preposterous as Trump’s claim that Democrats colluded with the Russians in 2016. What? To seal Hillary Clinton’s defeat? So Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could steal a Supreme Court pick?
McConnell, at least, is telling the truth in one respect. He says that because of the Republican-spiked deficit, up 17% since the rich-get-richer tax cut, we must cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Trump said he’d protect those entitlements. A lie in waiting. As for guaranteeing insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions, kiss it good-bye if Republicans retain full control of Congress. After all, Trump promised to preserve that, too.
Trump is a champion prevaricator in terms of sheer impunity and volume. But as for telling credible lies, he’s transparently NOT believable. Many of his falsehoods are proven so by previous statements he’s made live on TV or on video. How gullible does he think Americans are? He probably figures we’re just dumb enough not to vote. He may have something there. People who say their vote won’t make a difference should not complain about the government they deserve with their non-participation. It’s like complaining about not winning $1.5 billion in the Mega Millions when you didn’t bother to buy a ticket.
The lottery’s a longshot. But elections, not so much. Especially when millions who wouldn’t ordinarily vote decide it matters too much to sit this one out—and not get fooled again.
Early voting begins Oct. 25 in Maryland. On the ticket for Eastern Shore voters is Jesse Colvin, a reasonably progressive Democrat, running against incumbent Republican Andy Harris, a physician who voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act and to end Medicare as we know it.
That’s what Republicans do—if we let them.
Steve Parks, now living in Easton, is a retired journalist who worked for Newsday on Long Island and The Sun in Baltimore among other newspapers.