Since taking the oath of office in January, Donald Trump has provided evidence, almost daily, that he is ill-suited to be president of the United States. For months, much of the country has watched in despair as he and his administration have meat-axed the Affordable Care Act; crushed forward-looking Obama-era regulations in education, the environment and consumer protection; and backtracked on civil rights. He has made a mess of things with our allies, emboldened our adversaries and embarrassed the nation on the world stage. We have groaned through his insults and lies and witnessed his embrace of people and causes that travel on the dark side.
He shows no signs of relenting.
Trump bullies, brutalizes and slimes with impunity because members of his base cheer his every move or concoct reasons to keep their mouths shut whenever he crosses a red line. And his enablers are not just holed up in America's heartland and red states; they are here in Washington lining the halls of Congress under the banner of the Republican Party.
His rabid base, however, is no reason to stand down.
There is just cause to stand up to him. And the way to give voice to disgust with Trump is through the vote. Yes, that weapon which makes a noise that no politician, regardless of polls and scads of PAC money, can ignore.
Preparation begins now. Tend to the basics: Get registered, get others registered, and get educated on how to vote because voter suppression is running amok, especially in the South. Get information about the elections and the candidates. And don't pass up any contest.
State legislature and gubernatorial races are just as important as elected jobs in Washington. And don't buy the argument that your vote doesn't count if you happen to live in a voting area where your party is outnumbered.
Vote anyway, even if you cast a ballot for none of the above. That vote speaks volumes to the one who loses it.
Keep that thought in mind when entering the voting booth in state legislature contests and House and Senate races. Those GOP officeholders are key to Trump's base. Through their votes and, at times, their inaction, they are keeping him in business and his agenda alive.
Upcoming elections should be a referendum on Trump.
Face it: Stripped and unadorned, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) is, politically, a Donald Trump.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.)? Think Donald Trump.
Look no further than the likes of Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Rep. Will Hurd (R-Tex.) and Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) to find a political likeness of Donald Trump on the ballot.
The December Alabama ballot doesn't carry Trump's name, but consider Senate GOP nominee Roy Moore as a stand-in for the president. That ought to be reason enough for the 26 percent of Alabama residents who are black to flock to the polls.
Likewise, a Trump proxy is running for Republican governor of Virginia this year under the name Ed Gillespie.
In the 2018 Senate races, Trump doubles can be found with Republicans Ted Cruz in Texas and Roger Wicker in Mississippi. The three, as opponents of progressive government policies, are closer than two pages in a book.
Want to speak back to Trump and tell him how you feel? Get out and vote in places such as Alabama, Virginia, California, Wisconsin, Texas and Mississippi, where Trump surrogates are on the ballot. Let the president know you are out there.
The midterm 2018 elections can be Judgment Day for Trump. And dress rehearsal for 2020.
Fume and fuss, talk back to the television, kick the can, call Trump names, vent to your heart's content. All that changes nothing. Also probably ruins your health.
What can make a difference? The ballot. Vote, vote, vote.
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