- - Monday, October 14, 2019

Not everyone is born for greatness, but most Americans try to do their part, in the words of the Constitution, “in order to form a more perfect union.” Some, though, spend their days attempting to transform it. Republicans and Democrats alike believe it is they who are laboring to build a better nation and their political adversaries who are wrecking it. It’s an ominous trend, especially heading into a presidential election season where victory and defeat hang in the balance. When the Democratic presidential contenders take the debate stage Tuesday in Ohio, voters should gauge whether they intend to support the union the Framers formed, in transform it.

The candidates face an uphill climb to prove they bleed red, white and blue, given that the Democratic Party is fully invested in tearing down the nation’s Republican president. Without exception, the leading contenders endorse their party’s campaign to remove President Trump from office with an endless stream of political ploys drawn up by clever strategists and carried out by anonymous operatives. It’s the behavior of a political class unable to come to terms with its electoral loss.

Joe Biden joined the chorus of Democrats calling for Mr. Trump’s impeachment last week: “In full view of the world and the American people, Donald Trump has violated his oath of office, betrayed this nation and committed impeachable acts,” said Mr. Biden while campaigning in New Hampshire. “To preserve our Constitution, our democracy, our basic integrity, he should be impeached.”

Expelling the president from the White House has been at the top of Democrats’ to-do list since Mr. Trump beat Hillary Clinton in 2016. Failing to reach critical mass with the Trump-Russia collusion probe, they have launched a do-over, charging the president with abusing his office by asking Ukraine to investigate whether Mr. Biden forced the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor to protect an energy company on whose board his son was ensconced.

Now that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has authorized multiple investigations to push impeachment, the former vice president has joined the effort to oust his Republican rival by means other than the ballot box. Mr. Trump, who thrives on the fury of political battle, fired back at Mr. Biden in the presence of his rapt 20,000-person Minneapolis rally audience: “He was never considered a good senator. He was only a good vice president because he understood how to kiss Barack Obama’s ass.”



In a gentler age, a mother would wash out with soap a mouth voicing such harsh words but this is not such an age.

The sharp words from both Democrats and Republicans are fashioned out of the raw emotions stoking Campaign 2020. A recent poll conducted by the Pew Research Center compared current sentiments to those measured during the 2016 presidential election. The conclusion: “Today, the level of division and animosity — including negative sentiments among partisans toward the members of the opposing party — has only deepened.”

Asked to gauge attitudes of the other party on an imaginary “feeling thermometer,” 79 percent of Democratic respondents give Republicans a “very cold” rating, up from 56 percent four years ago. The proportion of Republicans who label Democrats similarly reaches 83 percent, higher than the 58 percent level they felt in 2016.

The survey also found that 55 percent of Republicans believe Democrats are more immoral than other Americans, an increase from 47 percent in 2016. Forty-seven percent of Democrats feel the same way about Republicans, up from 35 percent. Passing judgment is a risky proposition, which is why most religions advise leaving that job in the hands of the Almighty. Once Republicans climb down from their high horses, they might take comfort in the likelihood that if their left-wing counterparts didn’t have poor morals, they wouldn’t have any at all.

When it comes to patriotism — devotion to one’s country — it’s surprising how differently each party regards the other. The proportion of Republicans who believe Democrats are less patriotic than other Americans is a hefty 63 percent, with only 2 percent finding the other party more patriotic. In contrast, only 23 percent of Democrats think Republicans are less patriotic, and 19 percent consider them more so. For Republicans, then patriotism is a virtue they crave; Democrats, not so much.

Americans observing the Democratic contenders vie for supremacy should be mindful that a party keen on transforming the U.S. into a European-style socialist state, arguably, is not that into the American Dream.

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