When lying is the only option
Let no one tell you otherwise — winning an election is not an easy business in America, unless you have been gerrymandered into a comfy district, or have so much campaign funding that you can silence the voice of your opposition.
In 2018, many Republicans have discovered that even those usual advantages are not enough to feel secure in their desire to be re-elected. What price fame? Our Republican friends have discovered the virtue of the most famous of all things Trump, the Big Lie.
Congressional Republicans took the Big Lie for a test drive in 2017 with Trump’s, “biggest tax cut in history” (the claim a lie itself), that was for the middle class, and that rich folks, like Trump claimed of himself, would not gain at all.
The tax cut was intended to give back money to Republican donors who had grown disenchanted with their prodigy Congress, and to encourage multinational corporations to be more generous with their Citizens United corporation as a person campaign contributions.
That all worked out as planned and made for many happy billionaires and CEOs. Oh, happy day!
But it never worked out for, well, workers…people who actually went to work every day to earn a living. Corporations, for the most part, just took their newfound wealth and pocketed it for stock buybacks and corporate bonuses.
Consequently, regular folks were not fooled again by the concept known as “trickle down,” renamed, but unchanged from its previous editions, all dedicated to enriching those who did not need enriched. Polling has shown that the Big Lie tax cuts were never popular with a majority of Americans who could not help but notice the pittance of their paycheck changes were easily eaten up by their rising healthcare costs.
One might wonder why, given the failure of that Big Lie, Republicans would bounce back convinced that the problem was the lie was just not BIG enough. Enter Trump, the ultimate master of the Big Lie, with his op-ed claiming Democrats, not Republicans, are trying to destroy the Affordable Care Act’s protection of pre-existing conditions and Medicare itself.
This Big Lie was so oversized it requires voters to forget entirely that, in 2017, Republicans came within one vote in the Senate of ending the ACA and, with it, pre-existing conditions protections. Not only that, it requires Americans to ignore that the Trump administration and 20 Republican attorneys general are supporting a lawsuit to end the pre-existing conditions portion of Obamacare.
And if those two instances of forgetting were not enough to expect of the now-wary voter, voters have to forget that the current Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, has confessed that his biggest failure has been his inability to reduce Medicare and Social Security. Voters must also forget that the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, just this week, in worrying about the huge deficits his tax cuts for donors created, blames Social Security and Medicare for the deficit, instead of a tax cut we could not afford and spending increases beyond the pale.
The end result is that we now have Republicans across the country not only lying about their own record on health care (an unpopular record), but their fiscal irresponsibility that has given us huge deficits in the midst of prosperity, an unconscionable dereliction of duty.
In the meantime, as if falsifying their record and intent is not enough, they are lying about the Democrats position on health care, one of support of some form of health care for all in an affordable way, with reduced drug costs for the American people.
This is the gift of Trumpism.
Jim Crawford is a retired educator, political enthusiast and award-winning columnist living here in the Tri-State.