The Simplicity of Donald Trump’s Thinking Vastly Underestimates America

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Donald Trump has a very binary world view. Things are good or bad — he is liked or he isn’t. Such black and white thinking, with a core of intense fixation on his own self-interest, fails Americans in many ways. And it prevents America from reaching its potential.

When Donald Trump calls climate change a hoax while the nation experiences unprecedented floods, fires and storms, he discounts the reality millions of people live in.

When he blames the victims for disasters, he closes the door to cooperation and planning and big ideas. He prevents the type of large-scale actions that could ultimately benefit people across the country, not just in immediately affected areas.

When Donald Trump refuses to look forward to America’s energy future, he underestimates the strength, intelligence and ingenuity of farmers and Americans living in rural areas. He is denying their livelihood by remaining stuck in only one mode of thinking.

But Americans are better than that. Americans are capable of building large-scale infrastructure projects and innovating to stay competitive while accepting a changing climate. We are capable of hearing the truth and acting together to overcome difficulty.

When Donald Trump says he lied to America about the severity of COVID-19 because he did not want to create a panic, he told Americans that he did not trust us to act responsibly and forcefully in the face of unprecedented difficulties.

When he dances on stage at his rallies and surrenders to a high death toll because he does not want to ask Americans to make difficult decisions, he tells us all that he does not have faith in us. He tells us that we are weak, that we are cowards like he is.

But Americans are better than that. Americans can handle a president who is straightforward with them about reality, no matter how harrowing it may be — and we need that president.

We deserve a president who does not underestimate us. We deserve a president with a plan to bring us out of the coronavirus pandemic and make us competitive on the world stage even as we acknowledge this may take some shared sacrifice.

We need a president who knows America is complex, as are the issues facing it. A president who is willing to look at facts they may not like and listen to opinions they may disagree with. Because that will be a president who does not underestimate America. That will be a president who brings us together and supports our strength.

Donald Trump is not capable of this thinking. He has never tried to bring America together behind big-ideas or forward-thinking policies. And he will not start now. America deserves better.

Fact Quotes

As residents of the region know well, huge swaths of the American West are federally owned. Nearly 60 percent of the forests in California, 25 percent of the forests in Oregon, and 44 percent in Washington are national forests. For the most part, the forests burning across the West—the fires the president blames on state officials—are on federal lands.


Relatively few public opinion surveys explore the environmental views of Pennsylvanians. Those that do show that most Pennsylvanians care about protecting the Commonwealth’s water, land, wildlife, and air. Majorities believe the government should limit pollution, protect public parks and forests, and lead the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.

Before he became president, Trump lied about everything from his personal wealth to his TV ratings to the number of floors in his condo towers. Once in the White House, he started out lying about the size of his inauguration crowd, and super-sized his lies from there.

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