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Edelman: A look at Democrats’ plans to deal with our most pressing problems | COMMENTARY

Today, we are just 10 weeks away from Election Day. Both major parties are in high gear getting their messages out, urging their supporters to vote, and trying to persuade the persuadable to join their coalitions. You and I are targets of ad campaigns everywhere we turn, from broadcast to social media, with yard signs, billboards, leaflets, mailers, and robocalls. The only benefit to this accursed pandemic is that we’re spared door-knocking campaigns.

These ad campaigns are sophisticated, carefully-tested, refined  and designed to appeal to our emotions. None of that comes cheap, so every ad importunes us to dig deep, chip in whatever we can afford, today, tomorrow, morning, noon, and night, nonstop until the die is cast and the hurly-burly’s done. I am not in the habit of wishing my life away in 10-week increments, but being candid, I would not be terribly upset to find some small island and hide away with a large supply of books for a couple of months. And I’m deeply engaged in politics — I can only imagine how eager people not as involved must wish this were all over.

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But bear with me a while longer. As weary as we all are of this presidential cycle, we really should remain involved enough to deliver an informed vote 10 weeks hence, preferably sooner – that is, if  the post office is still alive until mail-in voting is complete. Before we vote, we should learn about the two parties’ platforms for 2020 and beyond.

Those slick political ads asking for your vote seldom tell us what the candidates will do with the power we, the voting public, grant them. The incumbent Republican president will offer the same as the last four years, which is precious little. Trump ran on promises he has not and could not keep. Even if you’re willing to overlook his well-documented shortcomings, all he has to show for his time in office is a country divided, quite literally plagued with deep difficulties. We have no reason to expect anything different from him, should he be reelected. The Democrats showcased unity, invited people from across the political spectrum to join them, and pledged a return to normalcy. Most of their policy plans weren’t mentioned, except in general terms. Here are some details on the ideas the Democrats are running on.

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Democrats recognize the great threat the COVID-19 pandemic poses to us and our nation. Every area of our society has been damaged by it. To recover from the pandemic’s crushing impact, we must first contain and control its spread. Democrats pledge to make testing available and provide states with adequate funding to conduct effective contact tracing, an essential part of controlling the virus’ spread. Before we can control the spread of this disease, we need to know the scope of the problem. Democrats believe that we must follow the informed advice of medical experts like Dr. Fauci and practice social distancing and wearing face masks. Democrats will extend medical coverage through expanded Medicaid assistance to states and financing COBRA, medical insurance for the many people who lost coverage when they became unemployed. We know that the novel coronavirus disproportionately affects the poor. Putting our resources where they’re most needed will have the greatest impact on bringing this crisis to an end. This is the surest, quickest way to restore our economy to full strength, completely reopen our schools, and get the millions of people who lost their jobs back to work.

COVID-19 has forced many parents to choose between going to work or keeping their children safe. Democrats believe that making childcare affordable and accessible is a key to full economic recovery from the virus. Small businesses, hit hard by the pandemic, need support. Democrats will work to make significant and immediate grants and loans available to small businesses so they can keep their doors open, make payroll, and pay their other expenses. Democrats will put federal resources where they will do the most good for people and the economy, and not in the hands of politically-connected multi-millionaires.

School closings and distance learning exposed a structural weakness in our infrastructure. Kids can’t connect to their classes without affordable and accessible high-speed broadband; neither can businesses survive and grow without it. Democrats will work with state and local government to assure that this essential part of 21st century life is there for all Americans.

It’s one thing to respond effectively to a crisis, quite another to be prepared for one. The president ignored the warnings he and his team received when he took office. Democrats will make sure we will never again be caught unprepared.

Democrats have concrete plans to deal with and overcome our most pressing problems. They deserve your vote.

Mitch Edelman, vice chairperson of the Carroll County Democratic Central Committee, writes from Finksburg. His column appears every other Tuesday. Email him at mjemath@gmail.com.

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