The march ahead

Rallying is a step in the right direction, but it’s going to take much more to change the course of our nation

We believe we now have an answer to why Donald Trump has never kept his promise to release his tax forms.

We think he deducted as a business expense the $130,000 he paid to adult film actress Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels) for sex and/or silence.

Do we know for certain that this happened? We don’t know that he deducted it. But we know he paid it. Think about that for a moment. No one—journalist, lawyer, whoever—has ever had to write such a thing about a United States president. But it fits everything we have learned about him in and out of public office. What is most difficult is that if he did deduct it, nothing about it would surprise us.

One year has passed since Trump took office and the nation is degraded. Among the qualities he lacks: altruism, amiability, benevolence, civility, class, conscientiousness, courtesy, decency, decorum, dignity, empathy, fitness, gentleness, goodness, manners, honesty, incorruptibility, kindness, modesty, openness, patience, seemliness, truthfulness, fairness, honor, integrity, loyalty, morality, openness, patience, principles, rectitude, sincerity, tact, tolerance, unselfishness, veracity.

Few world leaders embarrass their nations like Donald Trump does. They have gravitas; he has insignificance. Only his power gives him relevance.

Each day, our citizens reluctantly pick up their newspapers or tune into their newscasts, fearful of what they will read or hear. Lord, what has he done since yesterday? So many of our citizens have had to accustom themselves to a state of more or less perpetual outrage, because the impact of one of his misdeeds hardly fades before another one comes along. One lie tumbles on top of another.

Not in our history has the term “lie” been used so often to apply to one person. No president, no matter how unredeemable—Nixon, Harding, Grant—has so routinely been untruthful. We used to rank our presidents by their skills and abilities, their intentions and goals, how many of their promises they were able to keep. Trump has broken most of his promises, but we hardly notice because what kind of a president he is seems almost beside the point of how terrible a man he is. And there are still three years to go.

The republic will survive Trump. It has survived other villains. But we will be changed. We are changed. We are more cynical. The great Republican Party is diminished. The Democrats are still fumbling.

The upside: Last Saturday, on the one-year anniversary of the inauguration of the most unpopular American president in modern history, millions across the nation came together in protest of Trump’s administration during the now-annual Women’s March. From Washington, D.C., to Chico, where thousands took to the streets and rallied at City Plaza (see page 10), turnout was strong.

But now the real work begins. There are signs across the nation of a so-called Democratic wave, including the rash of retirements of House Republicans—more than 30, as of mid-month—but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy to flip historically red districts.

Here in California’s Congressional District 1, for instance, Doug LaMalfa has handily defeated challengers since his election back in 2012—even when a well-heeled conservative took him on during the 2016 election cycle. He has a robust campaign account, buoyed by donors in the ag and other industries, so he’s generally comfortable steering clear of any campaign forums during the primary season.

Right now, four Democrats are looking to take his seat in Washington. All of them will be on display this Saturday (Jan. 27) for The People’s Candidate Town Hall right here in Chico (see page 8 for more info) at the Women’s Club. There, you’ll have a chance to hear their ideas and visions for the future.

For those unhappy with LaMalfa’s representation, including his record of backing our porn-star-philandering president, here’s the deal: Marching is a great start, but supporting a viable challenger also means turning out your pockets. Indeed, they will need financial backing. Remember that during the march ahead to change the course of our nation.