7 Easy Steps to Make America Functional Again

Paul Graham, cofounder of Y Combinator, wrote in a thoughtful essay:

The defining quality of an ideologue, whether on the left or the right, is to acquire one’s opinions in bulk. You don’t get to pick and choose. Your opinions about taxation can be predicted from your opinions about same-sex marriage.…Accidental moderates, on the other hand, not only choose their own answers, but choose their own questions….It’s possible in theory for one side to be entirely right and the other to be entirely wrong. Indeed, ideologues must always believe this is the case. But historically it rarely has been.

I’m an “accidental moderate”, with a history of voting for and supporting candidates labeled Democrat, Republican, and sometimes other parties. Many years ago, I was Chairman of the Young Jewish Leadership PAC, the only Jewish Republican PAC in the US.  

That said, I’m endorsing Joe Biden/Kamala Harris for President. As an investor, I can work with a CEO with whom I have differences of opinion on strategy. After all, we all share the common goal of helping a company succeed.  I can’t work with a CEO who’s a liar, disorganized, immature, nepotistic, ignores reality, racist, sexist, xenophobic, is physically and mentally not up to the job, and/or cares more about himself than about the organization he’s supposed to lead. Trump’s incompetence and character flaws were apparent in 2016 and they’re even more apparent now. If you were an investor in any company with an executive who behaved like Trump, is there any scenario where you would NOT fire him?

I disagree with many of the current administration’s positions and agree with some, but that’s far less important than the fact that the current President and some in his administration are simply unqualified for the jobs they’re holding. Never in US history have so many close confidantes and employees of a President been so brutally critical. Archconservative John Bolton said our current President is not “fit for office” and doesn’t have “the competence to carry out the job”, and is voting for Biden. According to David Frum, every Republican presidential nominee of the past three decades has put on public record his contempt for and opposition to Donald Trump (exception: Bob Dole, 1996).  Would you hire Trump for any job at all?

Our nation is in desperate need for leadership. Not only does Joe Biden have the necessary experience — having led the Obama administration’s response to crises such as the Ebola epidemic and the Great Recession — but he also has character, competence, and empathy. I miss that.

I hope you will join me to Make America Functional Again. Here are 7 simple actions you can take, all free except for the last:

  1. Register to vote at IWillVote.com.
  2. Fill out the census form at Census2020.gov, to make sure you and your family count.
  3. Join me as a member of the newly-launched Innovators for Biden (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn).  You can join at https://secure.joebiden.com/onlineactions/Voiv4qHRdUSYTJc33P6Y5A2. The next event is a videoconference on June 30 with Biden Campaign Senior Advisor Jake Sullivan, who worked in the Obama Administration as Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor to Joe Biden.
  4. Join a Biden Innovator Practice Areas. If you work in a certain occupation or industry segment and would like to start your own group, contact the Biden campaign. 25 people within one industry or occupation can do amazing things. Contact Rusty Rueff, rusty(@)rueff.com . I particularly hope you’ll join the Biden/Harris Campaign as an Industry Ambassador at Large, a new initiative to enable business leaders to tap their proprietary expertise and network for the campaign.
  5. Take a regional leadership role. Innovators for Biden is now establishing regional chapters in: NYC, NorCal, SoCal, Northwest, DC, New England, Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, Chicago, and International.  Contact Guicela at Sandoval-LopezG(@)dnc.org.
  6. Download the “Team” app by Tuesday Company on the app store. Tuesday Company helps you leverage your personal relationships and professional expertise to further the causes and candidates you care about.  Disclosure: I’m an Advisor to Tuesday Company.
  7. Contribute to the Biden campaign: https://secure.joebiden.com/onlineactions/K3W1hrzem0S9ecZxawBI4g2?attr=102022344
    or send checks payable to: Biden Victory Fund, 430 South Capitol Street, SE, Washington, D.C. 20003

Lastly, in response to my Republican friends: I’ve heard a few responses from them.

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“I’m a Republican; I vote Republican.”

I suggest look up the long and completely unprecedented list of Trump administration officials turned aggressive critics. Being “Republican” should mean you believe in Republican principles, not that you always vote red regardless of whether someone observes any of those principles. Trump was in fact a Democrat for much of his life, and his policies are grossly inconsistent with most classic “Republican” principles. I should also mention the US Republican party has moved far more to the right than all of their peers in traditional conservative parties in Western Europe and Canada.

“Biden is a socialist; Democrats/”liberals” are terrible for America.” “Democrats are bad for business.”

Biden was Vice President from 2009 to 2017. I don’t recall America turning socialist or unliveable then. America’s exceptionally incompetent reaction to COVID-19 is atrocious for business.

In the short run, the Trump administration has loosened some regulations and the stock market has done well (until COVID). But in the long run, America will be stronger with clean air and water, a transparent and non-corrupt regulatory regime, and other assets which Trump is busy trying to take away.

“Trump is good for Israel.”

I refer you to Dennis Ross (Why Trump Is Bad for Israel) and Bret Stephens (Donald Trump Is Bad for Israel.) As a counterpoint, Joe Biden wrote an op-ed earlier this year: “My plan to fight anti-Semitism.”

“I’m a social conservative/pro-life.”

I suggest read Why this pro-life conservative is voting for Biden” and this pro-life woman who voted for Trump and worked for him at the DHS: Trump DHS Official Endorses Biden.  I’d also point you to the fact that The sharpest drops in abortion rates in America have been under Democratic presidents. And look at Pro-life Evangelicals for Biden.

“I’m a libertarian”.

Trump’s policies are the precise opposite of libertarianism. I used to consider myself libertarian. Then I realized that many social challenges (pandemics most obviously, but also social instability, climate crisis, national security) have no libertarian solution, and in world history there’s never been a true libertarian society. 

“I like a candidate who’s successful in business.”

Trump’s reputation for success is a lie. Would you invest in the Trump Organization, a company he still owns?  They’re actively looking to talk with possible investors. If not, why would you want him running the country you live in? 

“Biden is a fabulist; his son monetized his dad’s fame, etc.”

Trump, Biden, you, and I are imperfect humans. But Trump is dramatically outside of the normal and acceptable range. If you’re concerned about lying and nepotism, Biden scores a heck of a lot better than Trump.

I’ll close with lifelong conservative George Will, who wrote, Trump must be removed. So must his congressional enablers.

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