Talking Points for Democratic Activists
This list of talking points about policies and behaviors by the Trump GOP in the first 600 days of his presidency is not exhaustive. There are many other points that could be made. They were assembled with input from an open party meeting. We hope they will be a useful resource for canvassers, letter writers and active members of the party in general and especially a website-based reference place for interested voters. For ease of reference, main topics are in bold type.
Domestic Policy: General
- Healthcare: Providing quality, affordable healthcare is the most important thing we can do to ensure fairness, prosperity, security, and sustainability for the American family. Since his election, Trump has ruthlessly undermined the ACA (the law of the land he was sworn to uphold). As a result, healthcare costs have risen enough to totally erase any benefit the average worker might have seen from tax cuts. Provisions for pre-existing conditions have been sabotaged. In addition to crippling the ACA, the VA, Medicare, and Medicaid are all under attack as well. The GOP says we can’t afford them- that is because they gave the money away in huge corporate tax cuts. Every dollar spent on affordable healthcare will save far more American lives than the same dollar spent on the so called “War on Terror.” Healthcare crises are the leading cause of family bankruptcy in the US. Trump’s treatment of healthcare is pure dereliction of duty- a violation of the oath he took to serve the American people. A simple, single payer system (Medicare for All) is the most effective way to provide quality healthcare for all Americans. This will more than compensate for low increases in average wages. It will ensure greater justice, security, sustainability and prosperity for most Americans.
- Immigration, Civil Rights, and Culture Wars: Under Trump’s GOP, immigration issues have become code for attacking minorities of all kinds. The policy of deporting dreamers (DACA recipients) has seen our government break a solemn promise. The separation of parents from children is an atrocity condemned by everyone from the UN to major mainstream church leaders. In many cases the victims have been legal applicants for asylum and refugee status. The Muslim Ban makes a mockery of our constitutional rights to freedom of religion. Racist attacks on Blacks, Latinos, and others are morally indefensible. Trump’s attitude towards women is deplorable. None of this makes America great- it makes us cheap and despicable in the eyes of a watching world. Trump’s culture war attacks on minorities as defined by their sexual orientation, race, religion, ethnicity, have divided the nation in the most dangerous and immoral way. Trump’s abject failure to give serious attention to the disaster in Puerto Rico can only be explained by his racist attitudes. Trump has declared his performance in Puerto Rico an “unsung success” even though over 3000 Americans died, mostly in the botched aftermath.
- Voting rights and Fair Elections: From day one of his administration, Trump has denied or belittled reports of American law enforcement agencies that Russia had interfered in our elections. He has done nothing to ensure the integrity of our elections. He has directed the DOJ to focus on absurd charges of other kinds of voter fraud. There is no real evidence of this. His GOP allies continue to support gerrymandering in many states and to support “voter ID” laws that serve only to disenfranchise legitimate voters.
- < >: Trump’s Secretary of Education (Betsy DeVos) is one of the most poorly qualified people to ever serve in a cabinet. She has done nothing to support public education, focusing instead support of privatization of American schools, defunding her own department, etc.
The Environment: Trump has attacked the EPA and other agencies charged with protecting the public. From the very start of his administration. The mantra of “de-regulation’ has been used to enhance corporate profit at a great cost to the public good. Withdrawing from the Climate Accord has signaled a return to the failed policies and attitudes of the distant past. In an attack on science itself, Trump has systematically undermined the scientific basis (basic data gathering) on which scientific decisions rely.
Domestic Economic Policy
When Bill Clinton left office in 2000, he left a budget surplus and a healthy economy. Eight years later, George Bush had started three wars (unpaid for) and a mortgage and banking crisis that caused the biggest economic crisis in America since the Great Depression. From the time that Obama took office in 2009, the economy almost continually improved while unemployment rates dropped. Today’s high stock market and low unemployment were not created by Trump.
Since taking office, Trump’s actual policy has been a disaster for the long-term health of the economy.
- Gains on the Stock market do not help the almost 50% of Americans who don’t own any stocks. The Dow Jones Index measures on 30 of the top corporations. Of all stocks, 92% are held by the top 20% of earners. Trump’s tax cuts have made the huge problem of wealth inequality even worse. 83% of the tax cuts went to corporations and the top 1% of Americans. Tax cuts for the rich are permanent- tax cuts for lower income individuals expire in a few years. 40 times as much of the tax cuts went to dividend buybacks for big corporations as went to wage increases. The Trump tax cuts were pure deficit spending- a huge stimulus to an economy that didn’t really need stimulus. When the economy needed stimulus in 2009 (under Obama), the GOP opposed such spending because of the deficit- rank hypocrisy!
- Trumps’ deficit inflating tax cuts have increased interest rates, leading to increased costs for mortgage payments and student loans. They have also fueled inflation, which has more than erased the meager wage increases that have occurred. Wage stagnation continues under Trump.
- Trump’s tariffs and misguided trade wars are really a further tax on the average American. They lead to heightened international tension, and increased costs for American manufacturers. Economists predict they will lead to job losses and the bankruptcy of many American farmers.
- Trump’s energy policy (dependence on fossil fuels) is a huge payoff to foreign campaign contributors and supporters like Russia and Saudi Arabia. His bizarre emphasis on restoring the coal industry is completely unrealistic as well as totally misguided. It will cause the loss of American jobs as we become less competitive in a world that understands climate change.
- Infrastructure, etc.: Trump’s failure to follow through on his promise for over a trillion federal dollars infrastructure investment is a betrayal of those who voted for him. Together with huge increases in military spending it shows Trump’s total lack of understanding about economic issues. Infrastructure spending would have created real jobs and solved real problems. Trump’s Tax Cuts are pure pork and show.
Attacks on Rule of Law and Good Governance
- Stacking the Supreme Court: Trump’s court nominations will be with us for years. His choices are picked by the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society. Many are totally unqualified while others have extreme rightwing ideas about Roe v Wade, executive power, etc. They are generally pro-corporate and anti-environment, anti-workers’ rights and anti-consumer rights.
- Trump Attacks on law enforcement: Trump has abused his pardon power in the case of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. He has undermined the credibility of the Robert Mueller investigation. He has made false accusations against Jim Comey. To the delight of Russia, he has questioned the judgment of America’s intelligence community. He has attacked the credibility of the Judicial branch and the DOJ. He has encouraged outrageous behavior by GOP Congressmen like David Nunes and Jim Jordan.
- Abuse of power: Trump’s attacks on law and order have come in many ways: He has attacked the DOJ, the FBI, the CIA and our other intelligence services. His attacks on the media are dangerous and unprecedented. His attacks on the Mueller investigation show a strong consciousness of guilt. His repeated lying is also unprecedented- many of those lies are clearly efforts to obstruct justice. He has also obstructed justice by firing Jim Comey and Sally Yates. Trump has even launched general attack on the whole concept of truth, trying to create a false world of “alternative facts.” The only good thing his attorney General, Jeff Sessions has done is to recuse himself from the Mueller probe. In every other respect he has supported extremist and racist policies.
- Corruption and Violations of Good Governance: Trump’s promises to pick “only the “Best People” are a proven farce. Appointments of people profoundly lacking in education, experience and moral standards have been the rule. Bad vetting has been the norm at the Whitehouse. Many key jobs remain unfilled. Turnover has been incredible, making good governance almost impossible. Many key posts are filled with people who lack proper security clearances. The Whitehouse and cabinet have been a whirlpool of malpractice and corruption. Overall, the Scandals are too numerous to count. There have been numerous mass shootings, yet no action on gun issues.
Trump’s foreign Policy has been a bizarre display of ignorance, incoherence, incompetence, peppered with neo-con aggression and lies.
- The Climate Accord: Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement was an immediate and striking indication of how he would govern. He denied the facts of climate change, he radically reversed long-standing US policy, he offended our allies, he gave support to our rivals, and he surrendered US leadership on the biggest problem facing our planet. His decision made the US weaker and smaller in every way.
- Russia and election security: Trump’s bizarre handing of US/Russia relations seems to confirm his subservience to Russian influence. The US foreign policy and Intelligence community was outraged and felt betrayed. Helsinki was a disaster. Trump has offended key allies like NATO, The EU, Australia, Canada, Mexico, and South Korea, while at the same time praising Russia, China, North Korea, and dictators like Duterte in the Philippines. For most of his term so far, Trump has pointedly avoided challenging or sanctioning Russia in any way!
- Lack of Diplomacy: Trump’s budget reflected his priorities- deep cuts to the state department and other diplomatic international initiatives and huge increases in military spending. His policies have undermined our relationships with NATO and other key allies. Trump has no real interest in diplomacy. Our relationships with our allies are worse than they have ever been. Trump has repeatedly leaked sensitive intelligence. As a result, our key allies are less willing to share crucial data about threats. Trump’s “Muslim Ban” has deeply offended key Middle Eastern allies.
- ME: Palestine/Israel, KSA, Yemen, Syria, Iran and the JCPOA: Trump’s Mideast policy has been especially dangerous and misguided. He has basically outsourced US policy in the region to Israel. Israel today is ruled by an increasingly rightwing extremist party led by Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu has repeatedly given false testimony to the US congress, especially with regard to WMDs in Iraq, the alleged “Iranian Nuclear Weapons program” and “the war on terror.” Israel is a serial violator of human rights and UN resolutions. It is an un-democratic, apartheid state. It should not dictate US policy. Trump’s move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has led to a dangerous escalation of Israel violence against the Palestinians. Trump’s violation of the JCPOA (the Iran Nuclear deal) was an extraordinarily dangerous move encouraged by Netanyahu. It made America less safe, less respected and less trusted than ever before. It also made it unlikely that North Korea would enter any new deal. In Yemen, thousands of civilians have been killed by the Saudi/US war. Yemen is the greatest humanitarian catastrophe in the world today. In Syria, the US has killed thousands of civilians and levelled whole cities. Thousands of US troops remain in Syria, but there is still no clear US policy there.
- Asia, North Korea, China: Trump’s Asia policy has been a catastrophe. First, he outsourced US foreign policy to China. Then by imposing tariffs and starting a trade war with China, he destroyed our leverage on North Korea. North Korea has done nothing to stop its nuclear program, even though Trump has misled the American people by claiming the problem is solved—a very dangerous illusion. Trump has rewarded Kim Jong Un by elevating him on the international stage. We are weaker in the region in every way than when Trump took office.
- Nuclear policy: Trump basically does not understand nuclear weapons or the threat they represent. By moving to create a new generation of nuclear weapons, he may provoke a serious arms race. Trump’s proposal to create a “Space Force” threatens to militarize space in a way that previous leaders have always wisely avoided. Not only is such a policy wildly expensive, it is also extremely dangerous, especially in the hands of a president noted for bluster, aggression and ignorance.
Trump: Personality and Character:
Trump is a proven habitual liar, misogynist, racist, and bigot. His administration is rife with chronic corruption and malpractice, He has shown himself to be ignorant, unable to learn, narcissistic, and hypocritical, He has a habit of projecting his own crimes on others (crooked Hillary, pay for play etc.) He is a known philanderer and adulterer. Numerous observers have called him unstable, unhinged, unfit to lead, even “amoral.” Richard Clarke (a former US intel chief) said it was a “reasonable assessment” that President Trump is a “controlled asset” of a foreign power. That is an amazing remark from a credible source.
Summary: Every one of the polices and behaviors of Trump’s GOP listed above violates Democratic values. Local Democrats believe in the 3 core values of Justice, Security and Sustainability. If we honor these, they will produce the conditions for true prosperity. Together they answer the vital questions every American should ask about any government policy or behavior:
Is it fair? Does it make us more secure? Is it sustainable? Will it lead to true prosperity?
We Democrats believe that policies that meet this standard will create the prosperity that Americans aspire to—prosperity that is grounded in fairness and traditional American values.