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Jim Crawford: Election will be referendum on Trump administration

Is Trump on the ballot?

No, President Donald Trump is not up for re-election in 2018, but yes, the 2018 election will be a good bit about the Trump presidency.

Trump won the presidency in 2016 in an election that surprised him and his campaign as much as anyone else. As president, Trump’s learning curve has been steep, filled with missteps, mistakes, and misdirections largely of his own making. Voters, both Trump supporters and opponents, have watched the daily news cycle become the daily Tweet, for good or bad. And to be frank, mostly for bad. Friends and foes alike will offer that they would prefer fewer tweets and more presidential conduct.

But the Trump presidency is not about his tweets, his quirky personality, or his oft questionable financial history and activities. The Trump presidency is about who we are as a people, and what our aspirations are as a nation. As the president campaigns across the nation in his special form of personal idolatry, thinking voters cannot help but consider if this president is meeting their best expectations or lowering the bar for what has been the American Vision.

And there is, and has been, an American Vision. America has been a nation of immigrants, people from across the globe bound together by the freedom of opportunity and connected by the acceptance of difference as a strength and a virtue. We are the nation where your religious preference, or your preference to not be religious, are equally honored and respected. We are Jews, Muslims, Christians, agnostics and every other variety of belief held together by that very freedom to be who and what we are and to find tolerance and acceptance among those who are equally different and equally unique.

What we have not been, and must not become, is a nation divided by fear and distrust has often expressed by our Great Divider president. Trump’s rhetoric did not invent bigotry, it simply fans the flame and feeds the fire.

America has been a generous nation, where our place in the world order is not strictly transactional, not based upon “winning” only at the expense of others losing. We fought for freedom from the power of dictators, fascists, and against the mindless cruelties of extremism, building a coalition of nations to protect and preserve the peace. The result of those efforts has been a world less at war today than ever in human history. That peace, that partnership with other nations, has been largely undermined by the Trump administration.

We have been a nation of virtue for moments of our history, whether helping rebuild a devastated Europe after WWII, or offering help after natural disasters across the globe. We have stood for the ambitions of nations seeking to recognize their people’s rights to free and fair elections and representation. Until recently under the Trump administration, America has been the loudest international voice for these causes. This administration has befriended some of the worlds’ most dangerous and ruthless leaders, while distancing us from our friends and allies around the globe.

At core, part of the American Vision has resided in the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press, for our forefathers knew that all our freedoms are at risk when freedom of the press is under attack. This president has declared the fundamental building block of liberty, the free press, to be “the enemy of the people.” In this regard, Trump poses a clear and present danger to the nation.

Likewise, free speech for all of us is at risk when our president has virtually no relationship to truth telling. This president, and his administration, has worked diligently to argue that truth is not at all important to them as they offer us “alternative facts” once called simply lies.

Voting in 2018 is a chance to give this president a message, a message that we expect a good deal more from our President.

Vote for the Democrat on the ballot.