Friday, 23 Oct 2020

Opinion | Editor’s Note: The Editorial Board’s Verdict on Trump’s Presidency

This article was originally published in the Friday edition of our Opinion Today newsletter.

Before Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016, the Times editorial board warned voters that our presidents are role models for our children. “Is this the example we want for them?”

Kids who are too young to remember anyone else have now learned that racism, xenophobia and bullying tweets are hallmarks of presidential behavior. They don’t remember a Republican Party that wasn’t an obsequious cult of personality or presidential debates that weren’t confusing shouting matches. They think it’s normal for every other word out of a president’s mouth to be bravado, innuendo or, too often, a lie.

Worse still, they live in a country where representative democracy is under assault from algorithmic gerrymandering, institutionalized voter suppression and foreign and domestic disinformation campaigns.

“Donald Trump’s re-election campaign poses the greatest threat to American democracy since the Second World War,” we wrote in this weekend’s special section of the Sunday Review. If only that were a newspaper woman’s bravado.

The section lays out the substance behind that indictment, from his record of racism and corruption to his utter administrative incompetence. We took no pleasure in writing these pieces. They are urgent because they are a call to action, a call to deny Trump a second term and return the country to a more peaceful, stable and respectful form of self-governance.

In the midst of an economic calamity unmatched in generations, a pandemic of global scope and a nation more divided than in modern memory, the stakes couldn’t be greater. Soon, all that’s left will be to count the votes.

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