Lyndon Johnson’s landslide victory more than a half-century ago was the last time Wyoming voters chose a Democrat as the next occupant of the White House. The GOP’s winning streak in the Equality State will continue this year, likely by a huge margin. Believe me.
Not every Republican in Wyoming supports Donald Trump, but many who don’t even like him will cast their ballot Nov. 8 for arguably the most obnoxious candidate in the nation’s history. That’s solely because Hillary Clinton is so despised in many parts of Wyoming that people are willing to vote for a megalomaniac, pathological liar who is the least qualified nominee the GOP has ever chosen.
Congratulations, Wyoming. If you’re successful in doing your part to help Trump become president, don’t say nobody warned you about how dangerous your choice was.
Trump has said and apparently believes horrendous things about women, African Americans, Latinos, Muslims, the pope, veterans, seniors, Gold Star families, judges, the poor, the media, Mexico and all of his Republican opponents. He has vowed not to honor treaties with allies and said he wouldn’t rule out nuking a European country. The only person in the world he seems to have any respect for is Vladimir Putin.
Despite his crazy ideas, lack of preparation and rude behavior, he blamed his monumental failure at last week’s initial debate on a supposedly bad microphone and difficult questions posed by an “unfair” moderator. He even whined to a television audience of more than 80 million people that Clinton has been mean to him. This is the same guy who constantly calls her “crooked Hillary” and has twice insanely suggested to supporters that she be assassinated.
I can find no reference to this con-man ever apologizing for anything, even unquestionably racist comments that have drawn praise from white supremacists. Trump says not paying his fair share of federal taxes just shows what a smart businessman he is. The New York Times reported this past weekend that Trump’s loss of $916 million in 1995 would allow him to pay no federal income taxes for the next 18 years. Trump complained that his tax returns were illegally obtained, but did not refute the statement.
Meanwhile he has repeatedly said if he loses the election it’s because the system has been “rigged” against him. Perhaps he is hoping to push his supporters into some kind of revolt if he doesn’t win on November 8.
The man Wyoming wants
This is the man whom Wyoming wants to be the leader of the free world. I have a feeling that Trump could come out against rodeos, cowboy hats, guns, coal, and then punch out Pistol Pete — and people here would still vote for him because he’s an outsider who represents “change.” They desperately want to believe he will bring them prosperity by shaking up Washington.
What Trump really would do is teach us all a lot of painful lessons. Trump University may have gone belly up but that’s no reason he can’t still be an effective, enormously wealthy educator.
The first lesson Trump should schedule is a master class on how to get rich by not paying your creditors and declaring bankruptcy. The second would be how to succeed by starting your own business after getting $14 million from your daddy.
Trump has of course demonstrated he won’t lose the comedic timing he showed on “The Apprentice” — many supporters actually believe he will bring manufacturing companies back to the U.S. even though all of his products are made overseas. That’s funny stuff.
Speaking of education, one of Wyoming’s biggest goals — getting more students to stay in the state to work — has a chance to become reality with Clinton’s proposal to make college debt-free so graduates don’t owe a mountain of money as they start their careers.
Meanwhile, Republicans have thrown everything they can at Clinton without anything sticking. She was investigated by admittedly partisan congressional committees and cleared by the FBI after an exhaustive probe. She has apologized for using a private email server as secretary of state, but the fact that the same system was used by Colin Powell and others who held that office is rarely mentioned by the mainstream media that gave Trump about $3 billion of free airtime.
I doubt there’s any member of Congress who could politically survive being held to the same level of standards and scrutiny that Clinton has endured over the past 30 years.
But let’s put all of the comparisons about the candidates’ character, honesty and truthfulness aside for a moment and examine who would better serve Wyoming as president.
Who is the better candidate?
Strangely Trump gets better poll numbers for being trusted to improve the economy, but his figures show a much different probable outcome. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has estimated that Trump’s plan, which includes massive tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans, would increase the national debt by more than $5 trillion during the next four years. Republicans who say reducing our debt is their No. 1 priority should be apoplectic, not defending this nominee.
Trump would put more legal Americans to work building his “beautiful” wall on the U.S.-Mexican border, but his plan to deport about 12 million Latinos from the U.S. would result in many unfilled jobs because some Americans aren’t willing to do the jobs now filled by illegal immigrants. Trump would most likely save the federal government some money by stiffing the workers who build his wall, like he has in his private life.
Clinton’s economic plan, which includes tax increases on the highest earners to help the middle class, would add $200 billion to the national debt over the next decade. The move is aimed at letting average Americans keep more of their income and greatly reduce wage inequality.
Mark Zandi, Moody’s Analytics’ chief economist, analyzed both proposals and said Clinton’s would result in “a somewhat stronger U.S. economy” than currently exists. He also predicted that if all of Trump’s proposed policies are enacted, the economy would suffer considerably: experiencing an extended recession with some 3.4 million jobs lost.
Obviously, with Wyoming’s economy already hurting because of the jobs lost in the fossil fuel industries, the state can’t afford to have more workers unemployed.
Trump supporters will see a “gotcha” moment here, because he supports the coal industry and Clinton infamously said in West Virginia that the continuation of current market trends “would put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” It was admittedly a risky thing for a candidate to say, especially in coal country, but let’s look at the big picture.
The use of coal is quickly shrinking because of competition from much cheaper natural gas. But it’s also indicative of how the energy industry is changing across the country because Barack Obama’s administration is making reduced emissions from coal plants a top national priority. If we don’t soon make a significant conversion to renewable sources of energy like wind and solar power, climate change will have a devastating impact on the entire planet.
Trump may think climate change is a hoax cooked up by the Chinese, but 97 percent of the world’s scientists have said it’s real and man has greatly contributed to the problem through pollution from burning fossil fuels. To try to artificially pump up the coal industry and not devote our time to developing green energy — as Iowa and other states have done — would be a tremendous mistake by Wyoming.
It’s important to note that Clinton’s plan to make this transition doesn’t abandon energy workers or communities. Her proposal includes $30 billion to ensure that miners and their families receive all of the health and retirement benefits they’ve earned.
“Wyoming is the nation’s largest coal producer, but also has the richest wind resources in the Western electrical grid,” Clinton said, outlining her plan to capture this potential by streamlining federal permitting both for the renewable energy projects themselves and the transmission lines required to get that renewable energy to market.
She also plans to repurpose mine lands and power plant sites, retrain laid-off miners at community colleges and increase public investment in research and development.
Trump doesn’t have a plan other than to double down on promoting coal, which hasn’t been a successful solution for Wyoming. If he manages to reduce federal dollars sent to the states, Wyoming will be the biggest loser in the country because it gets more federal money per capita than any other state.
Wyomingites will definitely see changes in their lives if Trump is inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States next January, and it won’t be for the better. I don’t want to overreact and spread fear, because that’s the GOP’s job. But within a few months I guarantee I’ll be writing a column that paraphrases another illustrious Republican, Sarah Palin: “How’s all that changey stuff working out for you?”