The 2018 mid-terms are finally here! Early voting is under way in California. While there are a lot of very important propositions and state and local races on the ballot, it is the federal races that are critical to the future of the nation. While Californians will have to choose between our senior senator, Dianne Feinstein, and her challenger, Kevin de León, both are Democrats; that race will not impact which party controls the Senate. It is Californians voting for their representatives to the House that will affect the fate of our nation over the next two years. In each of these races there are three candidates on the ballot. Here on the Central Coast it’s: Salud Carbajal, Justin Fareed, and Donald Trump.

The differences between Justin Fareed and Congressmember Carbajal break along typical Republican versus Democratic lines. Fareed is on the record saying he does not believe abortions through Planned Parenthood should be funded at the federal level and that the Affordable Care Act ( ACA) should be repealed and regulations should be “rolled back”. Rep. Carbajal voted against repealing the ACA and supports a public insurance option, a woman’s right to choose, retaining the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and banning oil drilling off the California coast.

Despite these traditional Republican versus Democratic issues, Donald Trump is correct when he says Congressional races will be a referendum on him.

President Trump (and Trumpism) are becoming “normalized” in American politics. We have become accustomed to the daily reality show of outrageous Trump comments and actions, and President Trump has become comfortable lying, exaggerating, and boasting with the media in plain sight. This “normalization” is not just a factor of his personality, it has everything to do with the Republicans enabling and thereby supporting him.

If the Republicans did not control the Congress, the president’s lies, exaggerations, and policies would be investigated by Democrat-controlled committees. Subpoenas would be issued to compel witness to testify, for example, as to whether there was collusion by the Trump campaign with the Russians in 2016. Mitch McConnell would not have been able to destroy Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court by refusing to allow a hearing. Brett Kavanaugh would not be an associate justice of the Supreme Court.

If the Democrats take control of either or both the Senate and the House, Donald Trump’s outside-the-bounds of traditional presidential conduct would be neutralized. It would be like removing the producers from a reality show. It’s not so much that he would stop the lying, boasting, and exaggerating; in all probability he would not. However, without the enabling by House and/or Senate majorities, his behavior and policies would be investigated and placed in “check.”

If one is still considering how to vote in this election think about the cruelty of Trump’s policy of separating children from their parents and incarcerating them (more than 100 at this writing still not re-united with their parents). He thinks this was a good thing.

Think about his misogyny. He disparaged and mocked Dr. Blasey Ford’s account of being sexually assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh, effectively calling her a lair and labeling her testimony as part of a Democratic hoax. He referred to Stormy Daniels as “horsefaced” (even though she says he had adulterous sex with her).

He sided with Vladimir Putin over all of our intelligence agencies, saying he believed him when President Putin said the Russians did not interfere in our 2016 election. He said he “loves” Kim Jung Un, one of the world’s most brutal dictators. And, most recently he advanced the theory that it was “rogue” actors who murdered Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist who had been critical of the Saudi regime.

There are so many things Donald Trump has done and is doing to our democracy and our world that desperately need a “check” that it would take more than this entire column to list all of them. Of paramount importance are that the press is not the “enemy of the people,” the Mueller investigation is nota “hoax,” and climate change is an existential threat to humanity and all living things on Planet Earth.

When you vote, please think about these things.


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