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If the exoneration of Donald Trump by the Republican Senate and the fiasco of the first-in-the-nation Iowa Democratic caucus last week have shown anything, it’s that the only way to avoid Trump’s reelection is through an unprecedented mobilization. A serious movement of the very voters and civic groups that each electoral cycle take to the streets to ensure that those who are eligible to vote are registered, and that they then go to the polls.
The reports from last Friday evening about the dismissal of the officials who testified about Trump’s abuse of power in Ukrainegate prove what we knew was coming. Trump, thirsty for revenge against those who did as they should, particularly Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, who on Friday was escorted out of the White House after being dismissed from his post on the National Security Council. Vindman testified before the House of Representatives and narrated in detail how Trump pressured the Ukraine government to investigate Joe Biden, or he would freeze financial assistance that had already been approved by Congress. The twin brother of Vindman, an Armed Forces official, was also dismissed from the National Security Council.
Vindman and his brother are immigrants from Ukraine who have served their adopted country honorably, in a way that Trump will never do.
But in this twisted reality in which we live, the honorable is dismissed and the criminal is absolved.
The worst part about it is that Trump has emerged fortified by the process and his followers are more than ready to catapult him to a second term in office, with the complicity of a Republican Party drunk with power without concern for the means or the consequences.
And among the Democrats the fog has still not cleared to define a favorite candidate who can battle Trump with a full quiver and unrelenting.
While Trump sells a buoyant economy with no difficulty, the Democrats continue divided and ceding terrain. Worse yet, the Iowa debacle proves once again the anachronism of an electoral system that gives a majority White state a weight that it really does not have, because it does not reflect the demographic reality of this country in any form.
Meanwhile, Trump continues pushing regulations to go against the environment and our immigrant tradition. Now more than ever he feels invincible. And the Democrats continue trying to compete for sectors of votes that maybe they should have given up on, instead of the votes of minorities who cycle after cycle they ignore or court fleetingly at the last minute.
By the way, speaking of investments, in Puerto Rico one who has not wasted time in filling the vacant space left by the Democrats is the billionaire former mayor of New York, Mike Bloomberg, who has saturated radio and TV with advertisements in Spanish assuring Puerto Ricans that he will treat them with respect, in contrast to Trump after Hurricane Maria, and he will ensure that the Island has equal treatment in Washington. “I am Mike Bloomberg and I approve this message,” he says at the end in Spanish.
Perhaps the voters will be hungry for a battle of the dueling New York billionaires in November.
What does remain clear is that if voters want to make Trump into a one-term president, they have to mobilize themselves and get others to register and go to the polls, as well as involve themselves like never before in the activities of so many local, state, and national civic groups.
That and hope that the Democratic fear, so palpable last week, makes them act and invest in those sectors of voters, like Hispanics, who always remain forgotten. The idea of another four years of Trump should generate more panic among Democrats than the fiasco of the Iowa caucus.
An historic electoral participation is what will make the difference, whoever the Democratic nominee is, because otherwise the die is cast.