15
Mon, Jul

Why America’s Future Hangs In The Balance In November

POLITICS

ELECTION 2024 - Throughout my career as a professor and columnist, I have and continue to adhere to one principle: I govern myself based on what I consider factual and morally justifiable. Over the years, I have supported many conservative and liberal policies and found no contradictions in my approach precisely because the validity and the humanitarian justification of the issues involved mattered the most, regardless of whether they were embraced by liberals or conservatives. I have voted in the past for Republican and Democrat presidents, and my decision was always based on the realism of the policies they have advocated, their moral standing, and their record of achievements and failures.

I must admit that I am extremely concerned about this year’s presidential election because so much is at stake. America’s very future as the leading democracy that offers an example to the whole world of its unsurpassed achievements in just about every field of endeavor, stands at a perilous crossroads. Who will be elected president this fall will chart America’s future for the next generation, if not beyond that.

To this end, I listed where these two men—former President Trump and President Biden—stand today and what can be expected of each if he is elected. If you plan to watch the debate on Thursday, June 27, the following is what you must remember.

TRUMP’S NUMEROUS LEGAL WOES AND FELONY CONVICTIONS

1973: settled a lawsuit from the federal government for violating the Fair Housing Act over alleged racial discriminationNovember 2016: paid $25 million to settle lawsuits over fraud allegations by former students regarding Trump University
November 2019: ordered to pay $2 million in damages for misusing Trump Foundation funds, including to further his political interests; the Foundation was ordered to be dissolved
December 2019: impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress (failed—48 voted guilty on Article I, 47 on Article II – 67 votes needed to convict)
January-February 2021: impeached for incitement to insurrection on January 6, 2021 (failed—57 voted guilty, 67 needed for conviction)
January 2023: fined $1.6 million after conviction on 17 counts, including conspiracy, criminal tax fraud, falsifying business records
May 2023: civil case concluded that Trump defamed E. Jean Carroll; Carroll awarded $5 million (and while not a legal ruling, the judge stated that Trump, in fact, did rape Carroll in the 1980s) (under appeal)
January 2024: second defamation case between Trump and Carroll; Carroll awarded $83.3 million (under appeal)
February 16, 2024: he and Trump Organization executives made false statements “with the intent to defraud”; fined $355 million (under appeal)
May 31, 2024: convicted on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records related to his affair with adult film actress Stormy Daniels. Sentencing is scheduled for July 11.

ONGOING LITIGATIONS

March 2021: sued by 2 Capitol Police officers for allegedly inciting the riot at the Capitol on January 6 
April 2021: sued by 11 members of the House of Representatives for conspiring to prevent them from carrying out official duties on January 6           
June 2023: 37 felony charges of willful retention of national-security information, obstruction of justice, withholding of documents, false statements over removal of documents from White House (Mar-a-Lago classified documents case, trial date not set)  
August 2023: racketeering case in Fulton County, GA, over attempted interference in 2020 election (trial date proposed for August 2024)       
August 2023: 4 federal felonies in connection with his attempt to overturn the result of the 2020 election (indicted August 1, 2023; trial on hold pending SCOTUS ruling)

Overall, Trump has been convicted of 34 felony counts and is currently facing 57 felony counts in two state courts and two federal districts.

BANKRUPTCIES

Six of his hotels and casinos have declared bankruptcy, including three in one year—the Trump Castle Hotel & Casino and Trump Plaza Associates, both in Atlantic City, NJ, and the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan.

And this is what he promised to do should he be reelected:

Deport over 11 million migrants; Withhold funds appropriated by Congress at his own discretion; Allow red states to prosecute anybody violating abortion bans; Pardon everyone involved in attacking the Capitol on January 6; Refuse to aid allies if he feels they aren’t paying enough for their own defense; Deploy the National Guard to cities on his whims; Fire the Attorney General if they don’t prosecute someone on his orders; Seek retribution against his “enemies;” Appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Biden; Resume construction of the border wall; Extend 2017 tax cuts; Impose a minimum 10 percent tariff on all imports; Deny Ukraine any military aid; Approve Justice Department grants only to police departments that use his preferred policies (like stop and frisk); Rescind Biden’s executive orders on diversity and racial equity; Enforce Schedule F, which allows him to fire any nonpolitical government official; Roll back environmental regulations; and Expand oil and gas drilling.

BIDEN’S WIDE-RANGING ACHIEVEMENTS

During his term in office, President Biden realized a plethora of social, economic, and environmental achievements, some with the support of Republicans, that made a huge difference in the lives of millions of Americans and committed to continue to improve the lives of every American relentlessly. Here is what he has achieved:

Increased access to affordable healthcare; under his watch, the number of uninsured Americans decreased to a record low of 7.2 percent in the second quarter of 2023. The number of people signed up for an Obamacare (ACA) health plan increased from 12 million in 2020 to 21.3 million in 2024.      
Created more jobs in the first three years of his term than under any other president in history
Inflation decreased from 9.1 percent in 2022 to 3.1 percent as of March 4       
Violent crimes have decreased, with an 8.2 percent decrease nationally in 2023, according to the FBI  
Established the Office of Gun Violence Prevention and, in 2023, awarded $286 million to schools for student wellness and school mental health professionals   
Ended junk fees in higher education, including “loan origination” fees, college banking junk fees, automatic textbook charges 
Canceled nearly $138 billion total in student loan debt for approximately 3.9 million borrowers through over two dozen executive actions; fixed Public Service Loan Forgiveness program      
Passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which will spend $20 billion on “climate-smart” agricultural practices to reduce carbon, methane, and nitrous oxide emissions        
Issued an executive order directing the Department of Health and Human Services to review all current cannabis science and recommend whether cannabis should be reclassified to a lower Schedule per the Controlled Substances Act            
Signed the CHIPS Act, which provides $50 billion to subsidize building microchip plants in the United States and fueling research and development   
Brokered a de-escalation in hostilities between Congo and Rwanda    
Brokered the first-ever trilateral summit between the US, Japan, and South Korea to ease hostilities and create an alliance to counter China   
Launched the cancer Moonshot 2.0 to reduce cancer death rates by half over 25 years, which includes significant funding toward cancer-related research           
Expanded access to telemedicine, particularly allowing telemedicine for ADHD treatment, gender-affirming care, and opioid use disorder treatment  
Signed infrastructure deal for $1.2 trillion in investment into roads, bridges, airports, and more (over 40,000 projects have already been started under this law)     
Strengthened consumer protections for airline passengers, including cash refunds instead of vouchers for canceled flights and clarity of airline fees.

I do not believe that any fair-minded person will accept or reject all the good and bad deeds I have gathered about the two men to support my case. But, overall, this is what we are faced with today. As you watch the debate, ask yourself, who is more likely than the other to safeguard everything dear that America stood for, for two and a half centuries? The stakes cannot be higher. What we do collectively in embracing or rejecting one of these two men will have monumental implications that will affect every one of us for good or evil.


(Dr. Alon Ben-Meir is a retired professor of international relations, most recently at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU. He taught courses on international negotiation and Middle Eastern studies.).    [email protected]         Web: www.alonben-meir.com