Chattanooga Times Free Press - - OPINION -

The United States is a cen­ter-right coun­try in 2020. The Demo­cratic Party is nowhere near the cen­ter-right, or even the cen­ter, so we don’t be­lieve a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of that party is ap­pro­pri­ate to lead the coun­try as pres­i­dent.

The other choice is the cur­rent Repub­li­can pres­i­dent, whose poli­cies be­fore the novel coro­n­avirus had the U.S. mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion on so many fronts but whose per­sonal name-call­ing, tone deaf­ness and in­tractabil­ity con­founded us long be­fore he was elected in 2016.

Four years ago, we did not en­dorse Don­ald Trump af­ter the rev­e­la­tion of his vul­gar tape about women from a decade ear­lier, but we urged peo­ple to sup­port Repub­li­cans for the good of the coun­try.

Like most peo­ple, we did not ex­pect him to win, and we ad­mit we un­der­es­ti­mated the dras­tic change that peo­ple wanted af­ter eight years of an ar­ro­gant ad­min­is­tra­tion that seemed to lead against the will of much of the elec­torate.

With Trump, vot­ers elected a busi­ness­man who was used to do­ing things his way and who like a brawler was will­ing to dish out in equal mea­sures what he took. They over­looked his wom­an­iz­ing, his cruel in­sults, whether or not they got a look at his in­come tax re­turns and his as­sault on the na­tional me­dia that many thought was long over­due.

What they got in re­turn was rather re­mark­able con­sid­er­ing the pres­i­dent had a tar­get on his back from the po­lit­i­cal left be­fore he ever took the oath of of­fice.

The coun­try got a tax cut, reg­u­la­tion roll­backs that spurred busi­ness growth, the low­est recorded un­em­ploy­ment in his­tory for Black and His­panic Amer­i­cans, the near com­plete de­struc­tion of the ter­ror­is­tic Is­lamic State, the ex­ci­sion of two Mid­dle East­ern ter­ror lead­ers, peace deals be­tween Is­rael and nearby Arab neigh­bors, the move­ment of the U.S. em­bassy in Is­rael to Jerusalem, record money for his­tor­i­cally Black col­leges, crim­i­nal jus­tice re­form with the First Step Act, two (per­haps three) con­sti­tu­tion­ally sound Supreme Court jus­tices and the near wind-down of two wars, just to name a few things.

For his trou­ble, he re­ceived a pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion that plot­ted against him, a nearly three-year in­ves­ti­ga­tion into his and his cam­paign’s al­leged col­lu­sion with Rus­sia, im­peach­ment in the House over a phone call, probes that at­tempted to have his in­come taxes (un­der which he is un­der no com­punc­tion to re­veal) ex­posed, hate­ful slurs re­peated about him, his wife, chil­dren and fam­ily, and an op­po­si­tion party that re­fused out of sheer ha­tred of him to work with him on leg­is­la­tion for the Amer­i­can peo­ple.

In all like­li­hood, Trump eas­ily would have won re-elec­tion in Novem­ber had not the coro­n­avirus be­come a global pan­demic and af­fected mil­lions in the U.S., not the least of which are more than 215,000 dead.

By putting into place an early ban on travel from China — which now-Demo­cratic nom­i­nee Joe Bi­den ve­he­mently op­posed — and by or­der­ing Op­er­a­tion Warp Speed to de­velop a vac­cine, the pres­i­dent took de­ci­sive, vi­tal steps.

Nev­er­the­less, the virus has be­come the sword the po­lit­i­cal left has used to flay Trump where the col­lu­sion in­ves­ti­ga­tion and im­peach­ment pre­vi­ously did not cut deep enough. Be­cause the mod­ern world has never been through a virus quite like this one, what was done, not done or should have been done be­tween the China travel ban and the ad­vent of a vac­cine has had no play­book.

How­ever, mi­nus the fre­quent in­ser­tion of his non-med­i­cal opin­ion and not set­ting an ex­am­ple by wear­ing a mask, Trump has han­dled things about as well as any other pres­i­dent might have. Bi­den, by dint of his re­jec­tion of a travel ban, by the mis­takes the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion made dur­ing the swine flu epi­demic and by Bi­den’s vow to shut down the coun­try again if nec­es­sary, shows he would not have done bet­ter.

In­deed, the former vice pres­i­dent has much to rec­om­mend against his elec­tion. Per­haps most telling is his drift to the far left of the party. Mod­er­ate po­si­tions he once took on abor­tion, law and or­der, im­mi­gra­tion and en­ergy, among other things, have now been re­jected.

By se­lect­ing the woman re­cently named the coun­try’s most lib­eral U.S. se­na­tor (Ka­mala Har­ris) as his run­ning mate, and by cre­at­ing a pact with Demo­cratic so­cial­ist Sen. Bernie San­ders, he has ce­mented his far left stand­ing.

Also con­cern­ing are Bi­den’s age and cog­ni­tion. Though at nearly 78, he is only four years older than Trump, the pres­i­dent seems in­fin­itely more en­er­getic. Bi­den, mean­while, of­ten seems con­fused and prone to gaffes. To imag­ine a more en­fee­bled Bi­den is to imag­ine an act­ing Pres­i­dent Har­ris, or even­tu­ally a Pres­i­dent Har­ris.

With the vice pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee’s past sup­port for un­fet­tered il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion, the Green New Deal, Supreme Court pack­ing and slave repa­ra­tions, among many is­sues, the coun­try’s cen­ter-right pop­u­la­tion core would find them­selves in a place they never sought and don’t want.

Our rec­om­men­da­tion in or­der to con­tinue the eco­nomic re­cov­ery and re­turn to the em­ploy­ment records we reached ear­lier this year, to pre­vent the re­mak­ing of the coun­try into a one-party state, and to se­cure a safer, freer and more pros­per­ous na­tion for ev­ery Amer­i­can is — as we said four years ago, and has been the tra­di­tion of this page — to elect Repub­li­cans through­out the bal­lot.

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