The current presidential election is filled with conflict and emotion.  Democrats look distrustfully at neighbors, friends, relatives and business associates who buy into Donald Trump’s belligerent style, crackpot ideas, and complete lack of political sophistication.  This is especially true when Trump rants about deporting 11 million immigrants and creating hundreds of thousands of less-than-minimum-wage jobs.

Whoever becomes president needs to understand the ridiculousness of “building a wall” or forcing people to work for less than a livable wage.  Figuring out how to keep a surging populace of bright young people invested in their future, passionate about their lives, and out of debt is absolutely critical.  By 2020, almost one in every two jobs in industry, manufacturing, business and education is at risk of being automated by machines.

Major segments of the U.S. economy are heavily dependent upon illegal immigrants.  There are about 8.5 million unauthorized immigrants employed in the U.S., representing 5.2 percent of the U.S. labor force. The high demand for service workers and the pressure for keeping their cost low and prices competitive have generated incentives to hire undocumented workers.  With Trump’s proposed mass deportation, there would be a tremendous labor shortage, especially in agriculture.  Look around:  Who would provide childcare?  Maintain and landscape property?  Staff our restaurants?  Construct and repair our buildings and infrastructure?  Clean our homes, hospitals, and office buildings?   Staff our nursing and assisted-living facilities? 

Sign Up for E-News

And, interestingly enough, over the past 25 years, tax revenues generated by immigrants—both legal and unauthorized—far exceed the cost of the services they use.  According to the New York Times and the Social Security Administration, undocumented workers have contributed close to 10 percent ($300 billion) of the Social Security Trust Fund.

Republicans have chosen a candidate without carefully considering his character or the issues he represents.  No matter his lack of substance, too many Republicans have become seduced by his “gold-plated” brand and emboldened by his negative and hostile messages. 

Trump has attracted large numbers of frustrated Americans who don’t trust their fellow citizens or their government.  In national polling, only about one-third of Trump supporters indicate that they have confidence in their fellow Americans to elect representatives who will act in their best interests.  Trump’s most fervent supporters appear to have no investment in protecting minority interests or serving the greater good.   

With the elevation of Trump as their presidential candidate, we can no longer assume that Republican political leaders expect the best from themselves or the people they party with. Trump’s continuous assault on propriety and his steadfast denial and sidestepping of the truth makes a mockery of honest, deliberate discourse.   

It’s no surprise that many have lost confidence in the Republican Party, given the possibility of Trump becoming president.  As it is, too many Republican office holders on the national stage already insulate themselves from the realities of every-day life.  They constantly bicker and posture; peddle their influence as if they were selling wares out of the trunk of a car; and are preoccupied with the pursuit of power, no matter the human cost.

Our democratic system of government demands two-party dialogue and negotiation. However, over and over again, we witness Republican acrimony towards compromise of any kind, under the guise of purist ideology.  We seem to be caught in an environment in which Republicans regularly disregard sensibleness and expediency, opt for intransigence and opposition, and are unwilling to yield an inch.  Now, considering Trump’s lack of moral fiber and guiding principles, Republicans appear dangerously close to becoming a political party on the path to self-destruction.

We all want similar things in life:  We want freedom and equal opportunity; economic and social welfare; and old-age security. We want healthy and well-educated children; safe neighborhoods; and equal treatment under the law.  We also want a world without the threat of war or terrorism; a world without hunger or widespread disease; and a world capable of dealing with climate and demographic change. 

We must, therefore, elect Hillary Clinton, the candidate most capable and best prepared to lead this country forward. Electing Donald Trump, a shallow and loudmouthed showman, will undoubtedly keep us bemused, but in constant threat of a catastrophic future.