Message from Joe Lowe, Vice Chair of the South Dakota Democratic Party.
It is time to speak again about letting the GOP drive the narrative. This election is one of the most important in our country’s recent history. What’s at stake? The soul of America. Many of the GOP candidates believe that each person is responsible for his or her lot in life. I believe it is a shared responsibility. That is why I am a Democrat.
We are a great party and have much to be proud of. For more than 200 years, our party has led the fight for civil rights, health care, Social Security, workers’ rights, and women’s rights. We are the party of Barack Obama, John F. Kennedy, FDR, and the countless everyday Americans who work each day to build a more perfect union. Let’s look at some of our accomplishments:
1. Under the leadership of Democratic President Woodrow Wilson, the U.S. Constitution was amended to grant women the right to vote. Now, almost 100 years later, the Democratic Party continues to champion women’s rights.
2. In the 1930s, Americans turned to Democrats and elected President Franklin D. Roosevelt to end the Great Depression. President Roosevelt offered Americans a New Deal that put people back to work, stabilized farm prices, and brought electricity to rural homes and communities
3. Under President Roosevelt, Social Security established a promise that lasts to this day: growing old would never again mean growing poor. It was largely opposed by Republican legislators.
4. In 1944, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the G.I. Bill—a historic measure that provided unprecedented benefits for soldiers returning from World War II, including low-cost mortgages, loans to start a business, and tuition and living expenses for those seeking higher education.
5. Harry Truman helped rebuild Europe after World War II with the Marshall Plan and oversaw the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
6. In the 1960s, Americans again turned to Democrats and elected President John F. Kennedy to tackle the challenges of a new era. President Kennedy dared Americans to put a man on the moon, created the Peace Corps, and negotiated a treaty banning atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons.
7. President Johnson’s enactment of Medicare was a watershed moment in America’s history that redefined our country’s commitment to our seniors.
8. In 1976, in the wake of the Watergate scandal, Americans elected Jimmy Carter to restore dignity to the White House. He created the Departments of Education and Energy and helped to forge a lasting peace between Israel and Egypt.
9. In 1992, after 12 years of Republican presidents, record budget deficits, and high unemployment, Americans turned to Democrats once again and elected Bill Clinton to get America moving again. President Clinton balanced the budget, helped the economy add 23 million new jobs, and oversaw the longest period of peacetime economic expansion in history.
10. And in 2008, Americans turned to Democrats and elected President Obama to reverse our country’s slide into the largest economic downturn since the Great Depression and undo eight years of policies that favored the few over the many. Under President Obama’s direction and congressional Democrats’ leadership, we’ve reformed a health care system that was broken and extended health insurance to 32 million Americans. [Source: Our History Democrats.Org]
To defend and promote our accomplishments and values, we must fight the GOP’s effort to drive the narrative with falsehoods and flat-out lies. Each of us has to stand up and ensure the truth is known when we speak to our friends and neighbors. I want to address some of the facts surrounding Mr. Trump (Captain Chaos). These are not my facts. Many of the facts come from the Wall Street Journal article “Trump and His Debts: A Narrow Escape”[Jan. 4, 2016]. Here are some of the highlights:
- Mr. Trump touts family values, but if you weren’t in a coma during the ’90s, you know about Ms. Maples. The aspiring actress’s affair with the mogul 17 years her senior that precipitated the “divorce of the century” [Judith Newman, NY Times “Marla Maples Finds Her Groove,” New York Times, Nov. 14, 2012].
- Summer 1990: Trump is deep in debt over his opulent Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City, NJ . He agrees with a group of lenders to restructure 2.1 billion of loans.
- Fall 1990: He struggles to pay the interest on Taj Mahal casino and negotiates with his bondholders. He also told contractors, who were owed money, after the restructure, to accept a 30% cut in what they were owed or risk losing more.
- July 1991: Places his casino under bankruptcy protection.
- 1991: Sells his personal Boing 727 and Trump Princess Yacht.
- March 1992: Places two more casinos, Trump Plaza and Trump Castle, into bankruptcy.
- 1993: Uses part of the proceeds of a Trump Plaza note sale to repay debt in New York.
- 1993: Sues his co-owner of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York, the Pritzker family.
- 1994: Sells 70% of a West Side Manhattan tract to Hong Investors.
Trump touts his great business prowess, but like his candidacy for President, that prowess doesn’t fit the facts. Trump counts on showmanship to distract from those facts, and the polls show far too many Republicans fall for it.
Trump isn’t the only Republican hiding facts with showmanship. Let’s look at some of the misshapen GOP rhetoric presented in the last GOP debate:
Ted Cruz claim: President Obama’s preparing to send $100 billion to the Ayatollah Khamenei.
Ted Cruz makes it sound if we are giving the largest foreign aid payment to Iran. In reality, we have secured a seven-nation nuclear deal that commits Iran to curbing its nuclear activities. The deal allows Iran to regain access to about $100 billion of its own money that was frozen by international sanctions.
Jeb Bush comments on the prisoner release: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said he saw “weakness” in the Obama administration’s dealings with Iran. “Let’s take a step back here,” Bush told a town hall meeting in New Hampshire. “The bigger issue is that we’ve legitimized a regime who shows no interest in actually moving toward the so-called community of nations.”
In truth, the U.S. has not been alone in shifting its pose toward Iran, which is part of what would make undoing it difficult. The nuclear deal was negotiated alongside France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China, a coalition that managed to hang together through lengthy discussions and difficult domestic politics. Since then, Iran has joined in international talks seeking an end to the Syrian civil war. White House officials say they see those talks as a test of whether other conversations are possible [Source -Analysis: “Prisoner Swap Puts GOP Candidates in a Tough Spot,” AP, Jan. 16, 2016]. Again, the GOP Presidential candidates are critical yet offer no other solutions except the normal hawkish talk.
In this case diplomacy did work and it did not cost us American lives like the 6,840 U.S. service members that have died in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom [Source: Washington Post—Face of the Fallen]
Trump claim about Syrian refugees: “When I look at the migration, I look at the line, I said… where are the women? It looked like very few women. Very few children. Strong and powerful men, young and people are looking at that and they’re saying what going on?”
Trump must have looking from the same spot where he saw Muslims dancing in the street after 9-11. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, of the 4.6 million Syrian refugees, men ages 18 to 59 make up 21.4 %. The rest are women and children, or people over 60 or older [Source- Associated Press- Fact Check-“Misshapen rhetoric in Thursday’s Republican debate.” January 16, 2016].
Captain Chaos and his fellow The GOP Presidential Candidates are living in an alternate world where they constantly misshape the facts. They perpetuate fear as their main tool to gain support in the polls. In addition many are playing the Evangelical card. I do not believe one of the prime tenants of the Christian Religion is to spread hateful statements about Blacks, Latinos, and persons of other faiths.
For our party much is at stake, and I am asking you, my fellow Democrats, to get involved and not give the election away. Stand up to those that are spreading falsehoods, both at the state and national level. We are a great party with great values, and one of those values is our commitment to telling the truth.
We have outstanding Democratic presidential candidates as well as Paula Hawks, who is running for US Congress. They need your support. I am also asking you to come together after our presidential candidate is picked and support either Hillary or Bernie. Don’t walk away from being involved just because your candidate did not prevail. Whoever leads our ticket, we Democrats cannot give this election away. Let’s fight for the facts and fight for our values.
South Dakota Democratic Party