Letter to the editor: Election hinges on voters' 'collective conscience'

We fervently hope Dan Monger (letter Oct. 24) is wrong in his assertion that the impeachment process will help re-elect Donald Trump.

Very likely the House of Representatives will adopt articles of impeachment against Trump and the Senate will refuse to remove him from office. Everything will then depend on whether the electorate will take the president’s offenses seriously enough to vote him out, no matter who becomes the Democratic nominee

Unfortunately, it is not clear that a majority of voters recognize this President as the monstrosity and menace he is. As we hear and read in the media, many admit discomfort with Trump’s language and excesses but benefit financially or politically from his presidency. Some acknowledge that his dealings with Ukraine are unethical but dismiss them as “business as usual.” Others, as is clear in footage of Trump’s rallies, are delighted that he validates and amplifies their own worst inclinations, prejudices, grudges and hatreds and applaud his outrageous behavior. Even assuming a fair election with a minimum of voter suppression, voting machine tampering and external intervention, there seems a strong chance Trump may eke out another victory next year. According to some polls, many normally Democratic voters who contributed almost unintentionally to Trump’s election in 2016 — those who did not cast a presidential ballot, assuming that Hillary Clinton would win overwhelmingly, or voted for Trump because they disliked Clinton or registered their anger at the Democratic Party establishment by writing in Bernie Sanders or voting for Jill Stein of the Green Party — do not regret their squandered votes and will probably support Trump again.

Trump’s outlandish appearance and wild pronouncements make him an easy joke; but of course the joke is on us. It is impossible to overstate the danger he poses to the future of the country and indeed the world. It will take long years of exhaustive effort to repair the damage Trump has already done to every aspect of American life, to the environment and to international relations. The harm he would cause in a second term, particularly with additional Supreme Court and judicial appointments, but in countless other ways as well, would probably be irreparable.

We often hear that the 2020 election will be a referendum on Donald Trump. To an even greater extent it will be a referendum on the collective conscience of American voters, on our commitment to democratic government, perhaps even on our national soul.

Judy and Michael Olinick

Middlebury

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Addison County Independent

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Middlebury, VT 05753

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