By Patrick Osio Jr.
Conventional political wisdom dictates there are two main factors that propel a sitting president to reelection victory — a positive economy and low unemployment.
Arguments can be made that President Trump inherited these two factors from the Barack Obama years. But those arguments make no difference, simply because under Trump the trends in economic growth, rising employment and decreasing unemployment continued.
Other, detrimental arguments, about Trump can and are being made, such as his constant lying, exaggerations, undermining of Obamacare, racial and ethnic divisiveness, constant insults, favoritism toward Russia’s Vladimir Putin, trade wars, using military resources to build the wall, and many more.
Yet, to a significant portion of the electorate, the economy and unemployment are the two issues favoring voting for Trump. Voters can and do overlook almost anything else if these two issues are positive.
However, the country is deeply divided between those who believe the economy and employment are the only issues of importance, and a possibly greater number who believe that Trump himself is a danger to the future of America.
I, like many, believe that the economy and employment are crucial issues simply because we are all so very dependent on our employment for family support.
Trump had a strong re-election campaign going until disaster struck in January — a deadly virus that invaded the country with a vengeance.
Coronavirus began its deadly march striking at will, causing sickness and death. The best scientific minds with great experience in fighting deceases attempted to stop the onslaught, but Trump declined to follow their advice. He feared the economy would crash and unemployment would soar.
Trump’s fears were correct— the economy faltered, and unemployment erupted with a vengeance not seen since the Great Depression in the 1930s.
In a desperate effort to reverse the onslaught, President Trump decided it was more important to recuperate the economy and gain back the lost jobs than it was to follow the advice of the nation’s scientific community.
That decision has to date caused close to 230,000 American deaths with thousands more expected to follow. Now Trump tells us that the pandemic is on its way out and that a vaccine is near, so we just need to live with the virus because “it is what it is.”
He tells us to vote for him because he can bring back the economy and employment, reaching new heights far superior to any growth the nation has ever seen. So, he asks for us to have faith in him and reelect him so he can accomplish these vital goals.
We are faced with questions. Do we believe him? He was wrong in not following scientific advice. Can we trust him that a vaccine is near?
Ah, but the economy. Trump reasons that reopening businesses, and allowing people to patronize local bars, restaurants, theaters, sporting events and other enterprises will bring back the economy and create much-needed employment, though at the cost of more deaths.
If we accept his reasoning and vote for his economic and employment recuperation plan, we must also set aside who we are as people.
For example, we must set aside the abduction of babies from their mothers’ and fathers’ arms to languish in cages while their parents are thrown out of the country. This horror, like what is happening with the coronavirus, was done to help the economy. The goal was to stop immigrants from competing with native-born workers.
And we must also accept continued racial and ethnic divisiveness, which sets neighbor against neighbor and undermines our faith in the future.
Through our silence are we not guilty of the monstrous crime against humanity and our own immigration laws? Do we willingly accept our scandalous and odious rotting of our honor, decency, and national heritage?
Ah, but the economy, the economy!
God forgive us for we know not what we do.
Patrick Osio Jr. is an award-winning, San Diego-based former editor and former columnist associated with San Diego Metro Magazine and the former Knight Ridder newspaper group.