The Enemy of the People? It’s Us, the People

Illustration by Mercedes Del Real

I am a single-issue voter this year because all other issues are wrapped around this one thing: Donald Trump.

We need representatives in Congress who will do their constitutional job of being a check on runaway executive power. We need state representatives who will stand up to his administration’s attacks on our environment, freedom, morality and well-being. We need people in city and county government who won’t just use it as a stepping-stone to higher office, where they can abet the badness going on.

Remember how the last presidential election was the most consequential of our lifetimes? Well, we blew that one by not having a 3,080,000-vote majority instead of the measly 3 million we had. (That 80,000-vote difference was in three goober states targeted by Trump’s campaign—and by his Russian bunkmates, we’ve since learned—to produce his electoral college win.)

Trump’s presidency has been the daily trainwreck of malevolence, willful ignorance and ineptitude that even conservative pundits and politicos had predicted before his election. So now THIS is the most consequential election of our lifetimes, in which we must hope against hope to overcome the Republican-led voter suppression, continued Russian meddling and the unlimited dark money being used to tilt the vote (not to mention aboveground money, including $400 million from the Koch brothers and their allied donors and $100 million from Sheldon Adelson).

It’s impossible to list Trump’s daily proofs of unsuitability for office, so let’s look at two recent issues: his defense of Saudi Arabia’s murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and his response to the explosive devices mailed to persons Trump has singled out as enemies.

Even when it was becoming obvious something underhanded happened to U.S.-based journalist Khashoggi, Trump was likening those accusing the Saudis to those who had accused Brett Kavanaugh. Once it was established that Khashoggi had been killed inside a Saudi consulate, Trump started talking about how we couldn’t afford to rattle the Saudis, citing his $110 billion arms deal with them.

He had previously announced the deal would create 40,000 U.S. jobs, but once he started offering cover for Saudi Prince Mohammad bin Salman, that total jumped to 450,000 jobs, then 500,000, then 600,000 and finally “over a million.”

Remember the old joke about a guy asking a woman in a bar if she’d sleep with him for $10 million? She says yes, and he asks if she’d sleep with him for $10. When she’s offended, he says, “We’ve established what you are; now we’re only haggling over the price.”

In Trump’s book, the United States is just a whore he’s rouged up, ready to lay back and overlook a despotic regime’s murders, torturing and beheadings if the price is right. (And let’s not forget the scores of nameless civilians in school buses and vegetable markets in Yemen recently killed by Saudis with U.S. arms.)

Even if you’re the cold-hearted sort who only cares about money, you have to worry about a CEO whose figures fluctuate by a factor of 25 and whose $110 billion “deal” is actually a mashup of sales negotiated by the previous administration and a wish list of things the Saudis haven’t entirely committed to.

Meanwhile, before Khashoggi’s dismembered body was even cold, Trump was at a rally, praising a Republican colleague for roughing up a journalist, calling him “my kind of guy.” And a week doesn’t go by without Trump calling the press “the enemy of the people” and singling out reporters for abuse at his rallies.

Then, when explosive devices started arriving at CNN and the addresses of Democratic rivals Trump had targeted, he blamed the “hateful” mainstream media for creating a climate of division in our country.

We could all learn something from the hard work Trump is doing to unify the nation. Consider what he’s said in the last couple of weeks about his fellow Americans:

Democrats, he said, “have become totally consumed by their chilling lust for power . . . too extreme and too dangerous to govern. . . . They will replace freedom with socialism; we’ll be another Venezuela. . . . Their radical policies are a danger to your family and to your country. The Democrats truly have turned into an angry mob, bent on destroying anything or anyone in their path. . . . Just imagine the devastation they would cause if they ever obtained the power they so desperately want and crave. . . . They want to delay, demolish; they want to destroy. . . . They want to unleash violent predators and ruthless killers, and you know it!”

Wow, who knew that we Democrats are Marvel super-villains? We’re capable of anything. Just hours before the arrest of the man suspected of sending explosive devices to Trump’s enemies, a Trump tweet bolstered the right-wing whisper campaign that the parcels were a hoax created by liberals to suppress the Republican election turnout.

Credit the FBI and other authorities with the quick capture of registered-Republican, Trump-rally-attending bomb suspect Cesar Sayoc, who drove a van with windows covered by photos of Trump, as well as images of persons Trump had verbally attacked, overlaid with riflescope patterns. So also credit Trump’s FBI Director Christopher Wray with keeping a straight face while saying it was “too early” to speculate about Sayoc’s motive.

Within hours of the arrest, Trump was again attacking the media, as incapable of shame, remorse or learning a goddamn thing as he’s ever been.

I haven’t left a hell of a lot of room for my voting guide, but, here, step into the booth with me, will you? Close the curtain. Gee, your hair smells terrific. What—the ballot? Okay:

Here’s the easy part: All the names adjacent to the word Republican? Screw ’em. Sorry to the few earnest people among them, but your party is killing our republic. (I’m voting Steve Poizner for Insurance Commissioner, though. He’s good and has evidently bolted the party, listing himself as “no preference.”) Remember, even pre-Trump Republicans got thousands of Americans killed in a needless, immoral war, then followed that by driving our economy into a ditch. Had they an ounce of shame, they would have slunk back into their caves for a generation, until they realized those ancient paintings in there are about people helping one another. But instead, they hung around to complain about the black man not cleaning up the mess they’d made fast enough. And in California, they’re nitpicking the progress the state has made since a Democrat super-majority ended their obstruction. If they’re acquiescent in the evil Trump is spreading through the pores of their Grand Old Party, screw ’em. It’s like this: Even if you’re one of Charles Manson’s mellower girls, you’re still a Manson girl.

In some of our races, it’s Democrat vs. Democrat. For U.S. senator, I’m going with Feinstein because her seniority gives her power and Republicans speak her name as if she were Keyser Söze. I won’t mind when she’s replaced with someone better, but Kevin De Leon isn’t that someone.

I’m voting “yes” on all the judges, trusting the LA Times’ judgment on that.

For district attorney, we’re stuck with voting for Todd Spitzer. He strikes me as being the OC version of Paul Ryan, but Tony Rackauckas strikes me as the OC version of Voldemort.

On the propositions, “Yes” on everything but props 3, 5, 6 and 8—just because. I’ve been hoping all my life for permanent daylight saving time. Next up, flying cars!

You’re on your own for everything else. But if you live in Laguna, may I recommend you write in Jorg Dubin for City Council? He’s a fine artist and a thoughtful man, plus I like his campaign slogan: “Out with the old; in with the less old.”

Best of luck in the booth, and I hope the outcome offers some relief from the two-year stomach punch we’ve just endured.

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