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The Villages
Monday, May 27, 2024

The issue that will decide this election

Marsha Shearer
Marsha Shearer

It’s pretty clear that voters from both parties aren’t especially thrilled with either candidate (Ipsos Poll, Jan. 22-24, 2024 for Reuters), but the fact remains Trump or Biden will be our next president.

How many of us have heard “I can’t stand Trump but I like his policies so I’ll vote for him.” But it’s not possible to ignore the character of the person implementing those policies.

We know who he is—a compulsive liar and grifter indicted on 88 criminal charges. He’s demonstrated his disdain for veterans who died in service to this country, calling them “suckers and losers” (NPR, Sept 4, 2020), the disabled (New York Post, Sept. 2023), and women (PBS, Oct. 9, 2016). His contempt continues for Americans who aren’t white and Christian, and whose culture isn’t 100% American (USA Today, Oct. 30, 2020). He’s a habitual adulterer who has been convicted of sexual assault (National Review, Mar. 27, 2018); that’s the definition of a sexual predator (The Guardian, May 10, 2023). He has used his office for personal financial gain (USA Today, Sept. 4. 2019) and has continually debased the Constitution and agencies of his own government (CNN, Jan.24, 2021). He is a puppet of the rich and the ultra right (The Nation, Mar.25, 2024). His communication skills are that of a 4th grader (Newsweek, Jan 8, 2018).  If elected, he vowed to pardon those convicted of seditious conspiracy (NPR, Jan. 2024). He told a community reeling from a school shooting to “get over it” (The Guardian, Jan.6, 2024). And he’s a bully, vowing retribution to those who don’t support him (The New York Times, Feb. 5, 2024).

Trump operates out of a need for power and total loyalty. In a sentence, he lacks the empathy gene. And it seems, any sense of humanity. This is the person republicans have chosen to represent their party.

Both parties can provide polling data supporting their candidate’s performance on almost every issue. Polls and statistics are notoriously subject to built-in bias by selectively choosing demographics, the use of subjective wording, how respondents are contacted, and the source of their funding. We’ve all seen statistics comparing both Trump and Biden; each has outdone the other on the economy, immigration, voter integrity, crime—you name it. But there’s one issue that stands alone; one issue where there is no confusion.

That issue is abortion.

Trump wants to leave it up to the states (CBS News, Apr.8, 2024). Biden wants legislation to codify a national right to abortion (NBC, Apr. 9, 2024).

If Trump wins, the jigsaw of states that ban abortion will add more pieces to the puzzle, with women unable to legally travel to receive services or help to travel to another state.

Every state, including Red states, when given the opportunity, has voted to support women’s autonomy and their right to choose.

One consequence of restrictive bans is that doctors and health care professionals are leaving those states (like Florida) in droves because they are unable to provide the health care their patients need. The result of these “brain drains” puts everyone at risk. A survey of current and future physicians found that 76% said they would not apply to work or train in states with abortion restrictions. The authors of the survey found that “many qualified candidates would no longer even consider working or training in half the U.S.” (NPR, May 23, 2023).

There are 66 million women of childbearing age in America (based on the 2020 census and the March of Dimes). Trump has taken full credit for removing a freedom long granted to them that has the potential of impacting almost every family in the country. (CBS News, Jan 11, 2024). That’s a lot of voters.

The Heritage Foundation’s dystrophic Project 2025 provides a view into the future if Trump is elected (summaries found in Wikipedia, Media Matters, Mar. 20, 2024). These plans are the stuff of nightmares and will eliminate many freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution, including the right to privacy.

One can’t help but wonder if a similar loss of freedom for men—like forced sterilization for rape or adultery, or other health restrictive laws—would ever be considered. The answer is, of course not. But just think about all those millions of sperm lost to conception in the process of masturbation. Yes, that’s totally ridiculous, but so is denying women the right to make decisions about their own body.

Justice Thomas made it clear that this is just the beginning. With his concurring opinion on the Dobbs decision, he explicitly called on the Court to reconsider the right of same sex marriage and the right of couples to use birth control.

Here’s a clear policy if there ever was one. To those republicans who hate the concept of big government (aka Big Brother) interfering in your personal decisions and forcing their views on you, consider this issue above all others.

In November, fundamental freedoms are at stake. For everyone.

Marsha Shearer is a resident of The Villages and the author of “America in Crisis: Essays on the Failed Presidency of Donald J. Trump.”

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