Why, Mr. President, Should We Re-Elect You?

The ballot choice this year is more pressing than ever...

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Americans will soon be voting for a president. I for one will not be voting for President Trump.  

As we enter 2021, the deaths caused by the pandemic and the economic turmoil caused by the recession and possible depression will be engulfing the country.    

To add to the woes, increased unemployment will make medical insurance unaffordable for many more. Kaiser Family Foundation estimates this year the pandemic has already stripped 27 million Americans of their health insurance; and the number will rise.

Who is likely to lead us through these crises while working to improve our society and our education system?  This is our opportunity to elect a president who can.

Trump held Whitehouse press briefings since the lockdown started. Watching them gave me a glimpse into his thinking but also led me to conclude that we are fighting a battle against the virus without a plan. 

In these briefings, Trump responded to the press questions with agility but lacked humility.  Equating core values to humility,  philosopher Jonathan Sachs, states “Core values allow a leader to navigate issues in a prioritized way, considering nuances and thinking deeply”.

Instead, the president rejected CDC guidelines of wearing masks, his ideas about ingesting disinfectant or UV radiation, and his endorsement of hydroxychloroquine, have resulted in the loss of public confidence and trust in his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. In contrast, Dr. Anthony Fauci inspires the confidence that he knows what he is talking about and will let us know as new information about the virus emerges.

Controlling the pandemic will also require international cooperation.  We need to work with other countries, learning what has and has not worked for them.  The development and mass production of the much-needed treatment and a vaccine will also require the collaboration of researchers and laboratories across the world. 

After World War II, Western Europe and the US adopted collaboration as a new problem-solving approach, even when the direct benefits to the US were not evident.  Marshall Plan, for example, more than paid for itself. Judging from the unprecedented progress made since then in reducing poverty, increasing GDP, and lengthening human lifespan, why would we abandon that path?  Trump’s style of working with other countries has been combative.

In the Trump era, America has lost its respect and leadership that inspire confidence.

Is Trump going to be better at handling the economic recession?  So far he has not shown that he can.  By the end of 2019, the US national debt under Trump increased by $5 trillion, despite fighting no wars, facing no financial crises, and with a strong economy.  The pandemic stimulus package is expected to add another $4 trillion to the national debt. 

Trump has not been a fiscally responsible president.  

Personally, he claims to be worth $10 billion, but his companies declared bankruptcies six times. He made money by manipulating his properties under different companies, protecting the profitable ones, and declaring bankruptcy on the ones with losses.  It is legal, but the intent of the law is to protect professional risk-taking from personal risks which might leave one without a home to live in, and not for accumulating wealth.

I too had to face the choice of declaring bankruptcy when the internet bubble burst and my technology company was struggling to survive.  Our largest customer, WorldCom, declared bankruptcy. WorldCom did not pay us what they owed us for orders that we had already delivered.  But after trying to see if there was a way to save the company I first loaned the company money, partly because I was the largest shareholder.  As soon as I realized that I could not save the company, I oversaw an orderly shutdown, paying our employees until the end, and negotiating settlements with our vendors. I took nothing for myself not even the loan. 

I am afraid that Trump’s self-proclaimed fiscal toughness is a persona.  He lacks the ability to make plans when the situation gets complex and is likely to land the US in a deeper fiscal crisis and cause unnecessary deaths from COVID-19. 

Like other people in The Apprentice, Trump should be fired for poor job performance. 

Whether Biden deserves our vote or not should also be debated.  We know he is a decent man, but career politicians do not win our confidence as they have not earned living outside politics.  To get help to fix financial crises and navigate through the pandemic, he will need the help of his lieutenants and an ability to listen and make decisions based on that information.  I do not believe that his VP choice will resolve all problems.  Yet I hope he chooses a vice president who is a thought leader.  His ability to reach across the aisle and feel the pain of the Americans have made him a good listener — which we all can do a better job of.

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  1. Asha

    Normally VP choices are not as important,
    however, Biden’s VP choice is important. My reason behind this analysis is, should he not complete his 4years term, I would like his VP to continue with his visions, strategies and plans. Because I voted for the pair.

    1. vinitagupta


  2. Dominique Trempont

    Excellent bottom-line analysis and conclusion, that I share, Vinita.
    You are being kind on Trump’s lack of knowledge, inability to learn, egocentricity and lack of basic intelligence.

  3. Vijay Gupta

    It is unfortunate that the election debate often turns into a battle of negatives.  If Trump has, say, N negative traits, and Biden has fewer, then Biden must be a better choice. Right? 
    But can we make it a battle of positives? Could someone please point out a few positive traits and a few major accomplishments of Biden in his long political career? 

    Incidentally, I believe that Trump is right about HCQ or hydroxychloroquine, and Dr. Fauci is wrong. The evidence on HCQ is mixed because there is a strong push from Big Pharma to kill the competition from any cheap $20 drug for their expensive $3,000 treatments (such as Remdesivir). 
    When HCQ is taken in proper dosage at the proper time (as soon as Covid-19 is suspected), it has been found to be quite effective–reducing death rate by half in one study.
    Some of the HCQ studies were designed to fail, e.g., with improper dosage and timing. By choosing the patients, drug dosage, timing, etc. judiciously, one can design a drug study to maximize its chance of success. Likewise, one can also design a drug study to maximize its chance of failure.
    Trump is a rare politician who stood up for HCQ and against big pharma–presumably because he is not dependent on their big campaign contributions. In fact, more Americans may have died from Covid-19 because they have been denied the benefit of HCQ.

  4. Sramana Mitra

    Excellent summary, Vinita. Biden’s VP is very likely to become the first female president of America. But just as important is the rest of his cabinet. I would love to see Mike Bloomberg in a big job. Reaching across the isle, Romney as Secretary of State would make me feel confident about rebuilding America’s international credibility that Trump has trashed. Pete Buttegieg, Amy Klobuchar, Susan Rice are all talented people to give big jobs to.

    Seriousness needs to return to the Presidency. Biden can get that job done, I think.

  5. Jeff Croke MD

    Nicely done. In regard to VP Biden, let’s not forget that President Obama and his VP Joe Biden inherited the leadership of the US and it’s economy at the start of the Great Recession, and there is no doubt that Mr. Biden was engaged deeply in the various conversations which eventually and almost miraculously led us out of that and avoided a depression. Being in business is great, but understanding the levers of government in a time of crisis like the current one means an awful lot as well. You have very (and probably too gently) listed the failures of the current leadership, and I agree w your anticipated vote.
    If anyone doubts this pandemic could have been managed much better than it has been, then I have a bridge to sell them. Ignoring fundamental epidemiological principles and touting irrelevant medications, and some even ludicrous and potential fatal considerations, speaks volumes. HCQ will be an after thought of history. Anyone practicing medicine today knows that if that drug were effective in any meaningful way, then it would have clearly been utilized to “save the world”.
    A good look back at the numerous alternative and “mainstream” meds tried in the early days of the AIDS epidemic reveals the desperate attempts to use meek scientific findings to tout useless medications. Only with dedicated science and hard work did combination retroviral therapy prove itself extremely beneficial. (Thank you Dr Ho!).
    Above all, Vinita, please continue to provide us many more well written pieces on significant matters. Thank you.

    1. vinitagupta

      Thanks for your expert insight.

  6. Jini

    Very eloquently written Didi.
    Enjoyed reading your perspective.

  7. Vijay Gupta

    I have asked many supporters of Biden. They could not cite a single major/successful political initiative of Biden from the top of their head. (Sometimes, Biden reminds me of Peter Sellers in the movie “Being There.”) Thus we now have a choice between a nut and a puppet. What we need is a people’s revolt against an entrenched political system that prevents any honest and competent person from becoming a president simply because he/she can’t raise a billion dollars from (mostly) corrupt donors.

    Meanwhile, India continues to use and promote HCQ as a prophylactic against Covid-19.
    As of August 1, India had a Covid death rate of 27 per million of population compared to the US death rate of about 450 per million. Whether HCQ has anything to do with this difference is unknown.

    1. vinitagupta

      It is a mystery why India’s COVID-19 death rate is low. HCQ’s effectiveness has not been proven through a trial yet.

      Biden vs Trump is like which religion you were initiated. We suffer from irrationality in both camps.

  8. Raj Singh

    Dear Vinita ji,
    Excellent summary.
    All said and done, while domestic affairs are important enough, any new president will have to encounter China. First we were embracing its rise so as to sell our goods to them, now we are facing with its growing aggressive behavior to defend ourselves.

    I am not sure if democrats can stand up to that. Feinstein says China is a respectable nation. It sounds like a joke. USA, Europe and Japan have given China $107B over the past few decades to help them eliminate poverty while China has used its own resources to modernize its military and turn the guns towards its donors.

    Any presidential debate will be around China policy. Now China even controls what Hollywood can say in movies that are released in China as they grossed $2.6B in 2019 from Chinese audience. It is a censorship at the source.

    China is a serious wake up call for the entire world, for the US for sure. Chinese had made it public in the early 2000 that they want to be number one in the world and sooner America realizes that, better for them. Here we are.

    1. vinitagupta

      Unlikely to get everything in one candidate.

  9. NeeChu

    Vinita – this is a excellent article. thank you for sharing your thoughts, and articulating my views as well. This past 4 years have created so much division in the country, so much anger. We need a President who can bring back unity, compassion, make decisions for the good of the country not for the self, bring back respect from other nations.. I am not sure if the Biden/Harris team will help get us there… i certainly hope so… and that is why i will be voting from them. The alternative is unthinkable… America may not come back if we have another 4 years if this… All the documentaries and articles about Biden’s life talks about a man who has gone through tragedies, bullied for his speech stuttering, genuinely cares for the people he meets, made bad political decisions, apologizes for his errors, pick himself up and carry on. Perhaps this election is not as much about policies as it is about helping the country heal itself first. We are very broken after this past 4 years.

  10. R K Agarwal

    Liked the article as an outsider, watching the happenings in the US. Hope it would be quite thought provoking for all Americans going to ballot box on 3 rd of the coming month, only a week hence….

    1. vinitagupta

      As an outsider keeping track of happenings in the US is in itself shows your open-mindedness. Thank you.

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