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Pyatt: Not an appealing choice between Trump, Democratic presidential candidates

I feel like I’m living in a remake of “Sophie’s Choice," a 1982 movie in which a young Polish emigree confides to a young writer that she had to decide which of two children to sacrifice to death and which one to “save” in a labor camp while being held in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. She eventually committed suicide at the end of the story.

Baltimore has its problems, to be sure, but there is no single individual or group to pin the blame on. I have met Rep. Elijah Cummings on one or two occasions. I have quite a few friends who have worked with Mr. Cummings, and I have not heard one negative complaint. All say he is a hardworking and diligent individual. I don’t know if this is because I only ask the appropriate people, but there has been no first-hand account of wrongdoing. All say he is doing the best he can under difficult circumstances. I’m sure if you dig deep enough, you can find dirt on just about anybody. Is “Moscow” Mitch McConnell above reproach?

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I lived near Baltimore for several years, became a rabid Orioles and Ravens fan, attended some graduate classes at Johns Hopkins University, and visited the Inner Harbor on many occasions. I also worked for two firms in the City. It is a nice city, perhaps not as nice as it once was, and we all know there are serious problems with crime.

On the other hand, we have a president who has allegedly committed serious crimes and only his office has prevented him from prosecution. He has implemented a mindset that puts a stake into our ability to have differing opinions and runs against the core of our democratic system. He stares down at the Mueller Report and says, “Go ahead! Make my day.” I believe this has risen to “Sophie’s Choice” levels.

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Yet our economy is doing reasonably well, and the stock market is up.

Does this outweigh a gigantic temper tantrum trashing Baltimore and to some extent the entire state of Maryland because of a bad hair day? Never in our history — including a recent tweet of “go back where you came from” — have we had such an uncivil and ugly display from a president.

Yet after watching some clips of the Democratic presidential candidate debates, I wonder if we’re talking about the same planet.

Where is the money coming from to support liberal programs being proposed? Health Care has been talked to death for the past 10 years. The Affordable Health Care Act (ACA) is not a wonderful idea. Unfortunately, with the pharmaceutical companies poised to lobby Congress, it is probably the best we can hope for. It is semi-affordable. We have to do our part and eat less and exercise more. Perhaps we need national walking requirements.

Most Americans understand the financial constraints, know it isn’t going to be easy, but aren’t looking for candidates with rose-colored glasses and want somebody to work things out as best as possible.

We are in a rapidly changing — and not to our advantage as work seekers — world economy. If you’re an experienced IT professional, you can work at home and call the shots. Everybody else needs at least three jobs. And the trend is picking up.

It is difficult to say who has the advantage in addressing this issue. Trump’s America First strategy worked for a little bit. But his use of tariffs is proving more and more problematic. And his long-term thinking is extremely limited and consists of multiple knee jerk reactions.

But the Democratic candidates don’t have answers for these problems. I think the successful candidate may be the one to crack this biggest nut of all. And it will take some research.

The polls — if they are to be believed — indicate that a staggering 90 percent of registered Republicans have made their choice and back Mr. Trump. That’s a lot more Sophies than I would ever have imagined who have made a choice under questionable or unknown conditions yet are quite blase’ about it.

Thus, the election probably will be won or lost on the “edge” or “swing” voters.

In the movie, Meryl Streep was anguished about her choice, sending one of her children to death and saving the other — and winning an Academy Award in the process. Yet in today’s society it seems like it would have been no big deal. Just so the spreadsheet works out.

Dave Pyatt writes from Mount Airy.

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