Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan famously asked America during a presidential debate with President Jimmy Carter in 1980, “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?”
Good question and a question that has since been posed in every subsequent presidential election and sure to be asked in the 2020 election.
However, that is not the only question that must be asked in the upcoming election. The more than three years during which the United States and its allies have been subjected to the Trump administration has generated a treasure trove of essential issues about which the American people must be asked as they head to the polls in November.
Are we better off today than four years ago concerning addressing the impact of climate change on our planet?
Clearly not, as under the Trump administration and the United States have become the only, repeat, only nation to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord.
Similarly, is our water safer to drink and our air safer to breathe than they were four years ago in light of all of the deregulation instituted by the Trump administration and the orchestrated dismantling of the EPA? Quite unlikely at best.
How about our place on the world stage as the leader of the free world? Is that role stronger today than it was four years ago? Just ask Canada’s Justin Trudeau, Great Britain’s Boris Johnson, and France’s Emmanuel Macron if you can get their attention. At the same time, they are visibly laughing and rightfully, so at our president. Maybe a better question to ask is how our adversaries consider America’s importance on the world stage.
To that question, there is rousing applause from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who succeeded in undermining America in a manner in which no previous Russian leader was able to achieve, namely, pit Americans against each other.
There is overwhelming evidence from our intelligence community that he succeeded in interfering in our 2016 election, and he did so without facing any penalties from the Trump administration and is, accordingly, poised to do so again in 2020.
Is North Korea less of a nuclear threat today than it was four years ago despite the love letters from Leader of North Korea Kim Jong-un? No.
Is Iran less of a nuclear threat today than they were just a year or so ago before Trump walked away from the Iran Nuclear Agreement negotiated under the Obama Administration as well as our allies, including France, Great Britain, and Germany, as well as our adversaries including Russia and China?
Also clearly not. Would our nation and our allies in the Pacific, such as Japan and South Korea, be better off, make that a great deal better off if we had an agreement with North Korea like the one from which Trump walked away with Iran? Definitely.
Is Israel better off and peace in the Middle East closer at hand today than four years ago? No, and the recent Trump actions against Iran only increased the threat from Iran against Israel.
Did moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem bring us any closer to Middle East peace or make an effort for Middle East peace all the more challenging? The answer is obvious. No.
Is the rise of hate crimes in America over just the last four years attributable in any way to the rhetoric espoused by this president?
Only someone with their head in the sand fails to see the connection. From the slaughter of Jews in a synagogue in Squirrel Hill outside of Pittsburgh to the slaughter of Hispanic back-to-school shoppers at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, the rhetoric of this president feeds the hatred of those who commit these cowardly murders.
No, Mr. President, those chanting in Charlottesville, Virginia “The Jews will not replace us” did not have “some very fine people on both sides, on both sides.”
Are the soybean farmers in the Midwest better off today than they were before Trump’s ill-advised trade war?
Well that, I guess, depends on whether they will ever get back their customers. They won’t; the answer is no. That goes for all of our domestic industry and domestic importers severely hurt by the retaliatory actions taken by the countries brought into the trade war by Trump. No, Mr. President, China didn’t pay for the tariffs you imposed on their imported goods; the American consumer did as that tax is passed own to the consumer right here in America.
Are we closer to universal background checks on guns today than four years ago? No. Are we closer to campaign finance reform today than four years ago to give a greater voice to people than big-money donors? No.
Are we closer to ensuring voting rights for all citizens and eliminating ongoing voter suppression efforts today than four years ago? No.
Are we closer to implementing universal health coverage and bringing down healthcare premiums and pharmaceutical prices and protecting those with pre-existing conditions today than we were four years ago? Not even close with Trump’s elimination of the individual mandate, which was an essential mechanism to bring down premiums.
So, while you listen to the various candidates attack each other, always keep in mind that regardless of who goes up against Trump on Nov. 3 of this year, 2020, the year of good vision for America, keep in mind the issues that are important to you and ask yourself, as Reagan once did some forty years ago, “Are we better off today than we were four years ago?”