To Trump or not to Trump?

There seems to be a bit of a divide between leading Democrats on the topic of Donald Trump. I’ve had many people tell me that I shouldn’t even mention Trump’s name when I speak to voters. Others see Mr. Trump as a threat to Democracy and advocate constant criticism on the many negative changes Mr. Trump has implemented since he became President.

What is a candidate to do? Candidates of course are from different areas of the country and have different backgrounds. They hope to serve constituents from different regions with varying concerns. Different candidates are by nature going to have different approaches.

For me, I recognize that every time I talk about Mr. Trump I am not talking about solutions to improve the lives of everyday Americans. Certainly, an overwhelming volume of issues has been worsened by the Trump agenda. For example, just in the area of healthcare, we have potential loss of healthcare coverage for millions of Americans, we have an opioid epidemic which is only minimally addressed, and Congress continues to place the health of many children at risk by failing to permanently fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). I could go on and on and on.

But this is a commentary about a philosophical approach to the negativity of Trumpism. Mr. Trump’s leadership has been so morally bankrupt that some critics even exaggerate his failures, and I don’t believe such exaggerations are productive in advocating for better leadership. There is enough to worry about without such overstatement.

But I can’t run away from the fact that I see Mr. Trump as a threat to the American Dream. To mention just a few items: If he implements his healthcare plan, millions of Americans will lose coverage and their health and economic futures will be at risk. His tax plan severely worsens the national debt, which will affect the futures of our children and grandchildren. The assaults on the Environmental Protection Agency will result in harm to our rivers, streams, and forests. I feel it is part of my job as a candidate to call out Mr. Trump for these failures and to also call out those elected officials who have enabled him—especially elected officials who essentially serve as a rubber stamp for Trump’s many policies that make the rich richer at the expense of everyday Americans.

I respect candidates and voters who have decided to accentuate the positive and disregard the negativity that Mr. Trump brings to many conversations. The challenge for candidates who think as I do is to loudly exclaim the threats of continued Trumpism, while at the same time laying out a constructive and convincing alternative. While doing this, we must at all times keep the needs of everyday Americans in mind.