Sunday, September 20, 2015
NORTHAMPTON — “Democrats and Republicans are all the same,” is a fashionable lament, but it’s one that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.
Recent years have brought us reality-challenged Republicans such as Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Allen West, Joe Walsh, Louie Gohmert, Steve King and Paul LePage. I like to ask people who claim that both parties were equally bad, “Who’s the Democrats’ equivalent of these Republicans?” No one ever gives me an adequate answer. Obviously, no Democrat is close to that level of absurdity.
The current Republican presidential front-runner destroys the false claim that both parties are the same. Asking which Democrat running for president is the equivalent of Donald Trump is too easy. Clearly, no one is.
The real question is this: Which elected Democrat at any level in the past decade is anywhere near as absurd as Trump? The only rational answer to that question is also, “no one.” Which Democrat made ridiculous “birther” accusations about President Obama and insisted that he would prove his claims — but never even tried? Which Democrat said that going to a rich-kid military school gave him as much training as members of our armed forces? Which Democrat held a fundraiser for a fake veterans’ group? Which Democrat said he gets his foreign policy knowledge from TV shows? Which Democrat’s approach to the Middle East can be summed up as, “bomb ’em and take their oil”? Which Democrat said he has a secret plan to destroy ISIS but will only reveal it if he gets elected?
Which Democrat is a reality TV celebrity? Which Democrat kicked off his campaign by calling millions of people “rapists”? Which Democrat’s campaign slogan is, “Make America Great Again”? If President Obama donned a baseball cap with Trump’s slogan, Republicans would make “America’s Already Great — Go Back to Kenya” their convention theme.
Which Democrat defends decades of derogatory comments about women by claiming that it’s OK because he only meant Rosie O’Donnell? Which Democrat feuded with a woman television personality by retweeting comments calling her a “bimbo”?
Which Democrat makes comments about wanting to date his own daughter or insulted the appearance of the only woman Republican running for president? Which Democrat has a long history of calling anyone he disagrees with “stupid” and “a loser”?
Which Democrat’s speeches and debate performance have been analyzed by linguists and found to be at a fourth-grade level? Which Democrat is being sued over the unlicensed fake “university” that bears his name? Which Democrat brags about making money from his four bankruptcies and earned about the same from his multi-million-dollar inheritance as he would have if he had simply invested in the stock market and slept all day?
Which Democrat gives “policy” speeches with no actual policies? Which Democrat has never earned a “true” rating from PolitiFact, the leading nonpartisan fact-checker? Which Democrat shares Trump’s PolitiFact rating of nearly 80 percent “mostly false,” “false,” and “pants on fire” statements? By contrast, fewer than a third of President Obama’s, Hillary Clinton’s, and Bernie Sanders’s statements fall into those embarrassing categories.
Which Democrat has proposed a plan as cruel and impractical as deporting millions of people? Which Democrat ejected a respected Latino journalist from his press conference for questioning that plan? Which Democrat inspired two jerks in Boston to beat up a Latino homeless man and then claim, “Trump was right. All these illegals need to be deported”? Which Democrat running such an anti-immigrant campaign claimed, “I will win the Latino vote” while polling 14 percent approval among Latinos?
In reality, most Republican presidential candidates are just as bad as Trump in their own ways.
Here are some examples: Carson and Bush have repeatedly lied about Planned Parenthood. Huckabee compared Obama to Nazis. Christie and Walker have been under investigation and Perry is under indictment. Kasich proposed eliminating teachers’ lounges as education reform. Paul (a doctor!) echoed Trump’s false claim that vaccines can cause mental disorders.
Fiorina fired 30,000 workers at HP before being fired herself. Cruz called Obama the world’s biggest sponsor of terrorism. Rubio will keep denying climate change even after his Miami home is under water. And on and on. These folks aren’t as loud as Trump, but they’re equally terrible for the country.
Who is the Democrat’s Trump? No one. Why? Because the parties aren’t even close to being the same. Today’s Republican candidates are far, far worse.
Here’s the real question: Which political party supports such unqualified, obnoxious, and dishonest candidates as Trump and the many Trumpettes in the Republican presidential field?
In one sense, I underestimated Trump. I thought he would poll poorly, drop out when things got tough and then cravenly declare himself the winner because he made other candidates adopt his views.
In fact, I overestimated some elements of the Republican Party. I couldn’t have guessed that they would be deluded enough to see Trump as their savior.
John Sheirer is a teacher and author who lives in Florence. Visit him at JohnSheirer.com.