Murnane: Democrats present challenge for Republican who can't support Trump

Posted8/27/2019 1:00 AM

I'm trying to decide which of the hundreds of Democratic candidates for president in 2020 I should consider supporting, and maybe even voting for.

As the countdown continues (434 days until Election Day, 2020), it is becoming more obvious every day that I will not be able to support Donald Trump.


Of course, I did not support Trump in 2016 either (as I stated publicly on these pages several times and elsewhere). But as the elected president of the United States, and as someone whom I thought might learn how to conduct himself "presidentially," not as a buffoon or embarrassment to the U.S., he deserved a chance.

I knew, from journalistic and practical experience, that the presidency is (… was …) something that is not one person. It is an institution led by one selected person but consisting of (hopefully) some of the brightest and most-respected men and women of America.

I was hopeful of one of two things happening as the 2020 election developed (and I still am hopeful, but losing confidence).

One is that Trump would pleasantly surprise me and actually act as a president in the tradition of presidents whom I have worked for (Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush) or known (George W. Bush, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Barack Obama) or even the dozens I have not known or met but did not consider to be disasters and embarrassing to our country.

The other was that Trump would decide that he had accomplished his objective -- proved that he could be elected King of the World (my words, not his) and decide the job was beneath him. And decide that one term is enough.

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Neither of my hopes has been fulfilled, and time is running out.

Why does the president of the United States feel there's a need to create new useless and questionable controversies?

Who knows anything about Greenland? Why should the U.S. want it? Why in the world is the president of the United States creating this as an issue?

As a former aide to two presidents, and as someone who worked with (and under the direction of) some highly competent and brilliant presidential advisers and experienced staff people, I know that sometimes presidents have ideas pop into their minds that no one has thought of and certainly no one has discussed. But why is this president not smart enough to realize that he ought to utilize the brains and experience of the people around him?

The best thing going for Trump right now are the extremist views of some of the Democrats and the large Democrat field. No one stands out and those who have enjoyed a moment in the sunshine have discovered that sunshine exposes flaws or weaknesses and extreme positions. Trump's behavior, however, seems to be working to negate any sympathy or support he'll generate from the Democrats contest.

So where does that leave us today? There is a large field of Democrat hopefuls and even a couple lower-profile Republicans have plans to challenge him. I have two observations:


First, head-to-head, I can't see any one of the Democrats defeating him, even if I think one of them should.

All of them seem to not only be concerned with standing out within the crowd of Democrats, but each seems committed to taking positions that might appeal to Democrats, but certainly will cost them Republican or moderate-thinking independents.

Second, I can't see one who has the combination of: ability to inspire American citizens to "follow me;" the ability to sit face-to-face with Vladimir Putin (or dozens of other leaders) to best represent the USA: or to inspire leadership to the American people, including people like me.

And a bonus, third, I don't see one who could rally Americans to support him (or her) for any reason other than he (or she) is not Donald Trump.)

Interestingly, I am attracted to Joe Biden, in part because he has the experience in both the U.S. Senate and the White House (and on the world stage) but also because we are in the same age bracket and apparently going through some of the same life challenges.

I remember bits and pieces of each presidential election since 1952. I don't think any of them were as perplexing as the 2020 election will be.

Ed Murnane,, of Arlington Heights, is retired president of the Illinois Civil Justice League and a former staff member for presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

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