Edelman: Little wonder people want election over

Early voting in Maryland is a huge success with hundreds of thousands of people getting out to cast their ballots for president, senator, congress and many local officials and issues. I'm sure I know why we're seeing this remarkable phenomenon. People just can't wait for this election to be done and over with. They've had more than enough, with two years of name-calling, sexual innuendo, fear-mongering, lies, insults, covert racism, overt racism and impossible promises.

Just how impossible are the promises coming from the "law and order" candidate? Let's look at a few of them, beginning with the foundation of Trump's campaign, the infamous border wall he swore Mexico would pay for. Leaving aside his recent about-face, getting Congress to pay and then dunning Mexico, what would Trump do to effect that payment — break trade treaties, lay a tariff on Mexican imports, impound Mexican assets in the United States? He can no more keep this promise than he can flap his arms and fly.


He threatens to impose tariffs on China for currency manipulation. Nevermind the trade war and hundreds of thousands of American jobs that would evaporate if this ever were to happen: Federal law limits presidential power to place tariffs on other countries, and then only in retaliation for violations of existing trade agreements. Even if Trump could terminate NAFTA and block TPP, according to trade experts like Harry Moser, doing so wouldn't repatriate jobs: "You can't do it in a day, you can't do it a year. I'd be delighted if we can do it in a decade or two."

Trump said he wants to bomb ISIS and take its oil. Think he can do this? Think again. Let's suspend reality and pretend that America appropriating Iraqi oil isn't an act of plunder, violates international law and would expose our country to international sanctions. How many ground troops and at what price in money and American lives would it cost to occupy and control that much land in a war zone, no less? The last Iraq war cost almost $1 trillion, more than 30,000 wounded and 4,700 dead Americans. Are you willing to waste that much for so little? Only a madman would think he could make and keep those mad promises.

If you like to increase the deficit a trillion bucks at a time, you'll just love Trump's promised tax cuts, which give the top one-tenth of 1 percent more in tax breaks than the bottom 60 percent of taxpayers combined. Trump himself might not benefit from his plan — you can't pay less than nothing. Happily, his tax plan cannot be implemented without Congressional approval, so if you think that he can just issue an executive order and — presto — there's his tax package, think again.

And then there are his promises to use his executive order pen to undo the Affordable Care Act. So sorry, but the President has not got the power to repeal an existing law; only the courts can declare a law unconstitutional or Congress could vote to repeal Obamacare, but Trump is lying to himself and us when he says he can just do it. He can't.

Trump wants us to believe that a Clinton presidency would end the second amendment. More than once, he's said "Hillary wants to abolish the second amendment." Once again, Trump displays his ignorance of what a president may do. In order to abolish the second, or any other amendment, two-thirds of both houses of Congress must pass a proposed amendment and then three-fourths of the states must approve it. Happily, the same inertia that protects the Second Amendment also shields the 14th, so Trump can't do anything about revoking birthright citizenship, another one of his loopy campaign promises.

You may remember Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, where the daffy White Queen said, "I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." It would be daffy and you'd be very disappointed to believe a President Trump could deliver on any of his promises. In fact, a Trump presidency would look not very different at all from the stagnant mess we now have.

Small wonder that people want this election to just end. Even though half of us will be deeply disappointed whoever gets elected, we need to get out and vote, and the sooner we do so, the better. It's that much earlier we can put this nightmare behind us.

Mitch Edelman writes from Finksburg. Email him at