Don't get distracted — Trump is still an unacceptable candidate

FBI Director James Comey’s bombshell announcement on Friday — one that raised eyebrows on both sides of the aisle for its proximity to the election — has unquestionably shaken up the final days of the 2016 campaign. 


While it’s still unclear the impact this will have on voter turnout and enthusiasm, it has put Secretary Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House accuses Biden of pushing ‘conspiracy theories’ with Trump election claim Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton qualifies to run for county commissioner in Florida MORE squarely in the crosshairs of the media in the final days of the election. And it has given Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE, who has endured awful news cycle after awful news cycle, an opportunity to fly under the radar — the greatest gift his embattled candidacy could receive.

This last-minute “October Surprise” has changed each campaign’s calculations and approach in the final stretch of the election, but it should not distract voters from the big issues at stake, nor should it overshadow everything we’ve learned about Donald Trump over the last 15 months.

It’s true that most of this campaign has been as substantive and uplifting as an episode of the “Bad Girl’s Club.” But unlike a tawdry reality show, this spectacle won’t end with a brawl-filled reunion show — it ends with the election of the next leader of the free world. 

The challenges facing the next president are daunting, and they highlight why Democrats can’t afford to sit on their hands and let Donald Trump get the keys to the White House. 


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Our next president will have to fix our broken and inhumane immigration system and figure out what to do with the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living here. Donald Trump’s solution is a mass deportation force that would carry out nationwide deportation raids that would throw communities and our national economy into complete chaos. Even right-leaning analysts estimate that his plan would cost our country $400-$600 billion to carry out.

Our next president will have to confront the global existential threat posed by climate change. 2015 was the warmest year on record. Climate change has compounded the refugee crisis and conflicts in countries like Iraq and Syria. Yet Donald Trump has called climate change a Chinese hoax and threatened to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement.

And our next president must continue to address pervasive economic inequality. Yet Donald Trump’s economic platform consists of massive, budget-busting tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest Americans — the people who need the least help — and it would force tax hikes on lower- and middle-income families.  Just as median household incomes saw their largest single-year boost in nearly 50 years, Trump’s policies would be a reckless step backward.

These are just a few of the issues at stake in this election. And they don’t even touch on the poor judgment and temperament that Donald Trump has exhibited throughout his adult life — something that alone should disqualify him.

He’s praised murderous dictators like Vladimir Putin and Bashar Al-Assad. He’s bragged about using his power and fame to sexually assault women. And when people ranging from a former Miss Universe to a Gold Star family have challenged his policies and character, he has responded with offensive attacks on women, people of color, and the Muslim faith.  

So while it’s understandable to feel a little bit of that Clinton fatigue with the latest email news, it’s important to always keep this old idiom in mind: Hillary Clinton isn’t running against the almighty, she’s running against Donald Trump.  And Donald Trump has demonstrated repeatedly that he doesn’t have the judgment or temperament to hold the highest office in the land.

Smith is a Democratic strategist & co-founder of 50 State Communications. She served as the deputy campaign manager for Martin O’Malley’s presidential campaign.

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