EDITORIAL: With bulk of voters decided on a president, reality matters most

FILE – In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo U.S. Capitol Police officers with guns drawn and Rep. Troy Nehls, R-Texas, in blue shirt, watch as insurrections loyal to President Donald Trump try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. First, some blamed the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol on left-wing Antifa antagonists, a theory quickly debunked. Then came comparisons of the rioters as peaceful protesters, or even “tourists.” Now, Trump allies rallying in support of those people charged in the Capitol riot are calling them “political prisoners,” a stunning effort to revise the narrative of that deadly day. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Polling numbers consistently reveal not only how polarized the nation is over a presidential race between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, but how entrenched each side is.

A Morning Consult Pro poll from this week shows Biden and Trump virtually tied among decided voters, which turns out to be about 43% to 43% of those polled.

Because the United States elects a president using the Electoral College, and not popular vote, predicting a winner now, and especially seven months from now, is especially complicated.

It’s equally complicated in understanding how Trump even became the solid choice for almost half of the nation’s voters. Americans can justify but they cannot disregard Trump’s prolific and pervasive lies, his bombastic and threatening rhetoric and his mistaken insistence that even the most complicated problem is only a simplistic answer away.

Few people would argue that the world’s oldest and tried democracy regularly produces disappointingly marginal final candidates for its nation’s president. It seems, however, not just unlikely but surreal that someone like Trump would rise as a finalist for the job not just once, but twice, given his propensity for lies, fraud and graft.

For those who believe that someday in the near future, Trump proponents will have an epiphany, human history is unequivocal, and it most certainly could repeat itself.

There will be no widespread realization among Trump supporters that, despite Biden’s age, policy shortfalls and political platform differences, voters cannot logically and in good faith elect someone as criminal, corrupt and mentally unstable as Trump.

Staunch support of Trump has nothing to do with being rational or righteous. Trump supporters are motivated by fear or resentment. Trump’s supporters share a deep seated fear of losing some sense of political power or influence they feel, rationally or not, is diminishing. History in Germany, Italy and South America makes it clear that these voters will not be motivated to abandon their support of Trump by making arguments based on pragmatism, data and facts.

It is the small and critical 15% of voters still apathetic or outright exhausted by all this political melodrama who must be swayed to make a rational choice and motivated to vote that way.  

That can come from “undecided” voters clearly hearing and understanding the facts about the election and what Trump regularly says.

In less than a week or so, Trump has repeated promises and guarantees that are solid arguments against his candidacy.

It is immoral, irrational and antithetical to the very foundation of the U.S. Constitution for Trump to argue, as he has for months and this week, that he, as president, should be immune from prosecution for his crimes and corruption after the November 2020 presidential election. The convention that “no one is above the law” — including the president — is inarguable and must be pointed out to uncommitted voters.

Trump is also committed to using his re-election campaign to rewrite the proven and documented history of the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol attack.

At a Saturday rally in Ohio ”Trump stood onstage, his hand raised in salute to the brim of his red MAGA hat, as a recorded chorus of prisoners in jail for their roles in the Jan. 6 attack sang the national anthem,” the Associated Press reported. “An announcer asked the crowd to please rise ‘for the horribly and unfairly treated January 6th hostages.’” 

Trump then said, which he has repeated, “They were unbelievable patriots.”

They, like Trump, raided the Capitol, were intent on overthrowing the U.S. government and altering the results of the election, all based on a repeatedly exposed and debunked stream of lies by Trump and his allies. Republicans and Democrats alike do not dispute those facts.

That factual account of history will appeal to voters not looking to rationalize their support of Trump. This growing and historic deceit cannot be overstated or ignored.

Just this week, Trump reached beyond the boundaries of coherence by insisting that American Jews who do not support him and instead support or vote for Democrats, “hate Israel” and “hate their religion.” 

His unhinged and irresponsible response came during a press interview question about rising discontent with Israeli leadership’s inability to end or even stem the ghastly deaths and atrocities inflicted on innocent residents of Gaza as the Israeli-Gaza war continues.

“Any Jewish person that votes for Democrats hates their religion. They hate everything about Israel and they should be ashamed of themselves because Israel will be destroyed.”

The vast majority of Jewish Americans have and do identify as liberals or Democrats. Trump’s absurd rhetoric has often been called out as the antisemitic trope that it is.

Jonathan Greenblatt, who heads the Anti-Defamation League, said in a social media post, “Accusing Jews of hating their religion because they might vote for a particular party is defamatory and patently false.”

But the most worrisome threats lobbed by Trump this week came among his regular slurs against immigrants.

Speaking at a Dayton airport Saturday to fans, he lashed out at the thousands of recent immigrants.

While castigating Biden for his handling of a seemingly endless wave of immigrants trying to get into the United States across the Mexico border, Trump made some of his most startling and chilling comments of the week.

He said the thousands of families and children who have literally walked thousands of miles as refugees from Venezuela and other South American turmoil are “less than human,” the Associated Press wrote.

“In some cases, they’re not people, in my opinion,” Trump said.

They are people. And history has shown repeatedly and consistently, that strategically “dehumanizing” races, cultures or groups of people, have led only to criminal catastrophes like internment camps, genocide and the Holocaust.

While Trump’s entrenched supporters will be swayed by none of this, those who clearly see it and understand it now have a duty to push back against rampant and growing propaganda and disinformation. Clear thinking Americans must work to allow those few American voters not yet persuaded by the facts about Trump, to get a solid dose of reality.

Nothing else at this point will keep history from repeating itself right here.

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