This guest column from our chair, Peg Watkins, appeared in the Delaware Gazette on Aug. 1, 2020.
Last week, Donald Trump tweeted that the “Suburban Housewives of America” should read an article.
Apparently, he thinks everyone in our country lives in some version of a TV reality show and that the rest of us read as little as he does. The citizens of Delaware County have one of the highest levels of education in the nation, and we even read complete newspapers and books.
If Trump ever talked with a “suburban housewife” in Delaware County, he would know she is probably too busy jumping on Zoom meetings for work, organizing virtual postcard parties, and keeping her kids occupied with fun backyard activities to waste time on whatever drivel Donald Trump writes on Twitter.
While Trump lives in TV land, here in the suburbs of central Ohio in 2020, women are working hard to take care of their families, climb the ladder at work — and elect Joe Biden this fall. We simply can’t take another four years of Donald Trump’s chaos, divisive rhetoric and broken promises.
Currently, Delaware County is in the “orange” zone for coronavirus exposure and spread. Cases have spiked over the past few weeks, and families are being advised to limit their activities as much as possible. Our kids are missing out on so much, and the status of school in the fall is in limbo. It didn’t have to be this way. Unlike nearly every other country on the planet, the U.S. failed to prepare because our president refused to listen to public health experts and pretended the virus would just disappear.
What we see on television is not the reality we live with. Trump should follow his own recommendation and read the materials provided to him by experts in their fields. He has access to the best minds in the world, but his top priority seems to be the ratings for his own reality show.
Trump keeps pushing to reopen the economy, but we can’t fix our economy if we don’t get the virus under control first. Even worse, Trump and his Education Secretary Betsy DeVos are threatening to take funds away from schools if they don’t reopen fully. Everyone wants to see our kids back in school — trust me, working moms really want this — but local school districts should not be bullied into making decisions that are unsafe for teachers, students and our communities.
Suburban women indeed want safer communities, and that means dealing with the problem of gun violence. In spite of polls showing nearly universal support of sensible gun laws, Republicans in Congress and the Ohio Statehouse have done nothing or even doubled down on terrible ideas like permitless carry and “guns everywhere” legislation. Donald Trump initially said he supported expanded background checks, but after speaking with the National Rifle Association president, he backed down. Like so many Republican politicians, Trump showed that he is beholden to the NRA’s extremist leadership.
Trump’s kowtowing to the NRA is completely out of step with suburban voters and even Republican women. A Politico/Morning Consult poll shows that 91% of suburban voters and 93% of GOP women favor universal background checks.
Donald Trump’s divisive appeals show he is truly out of touch with suburban Ohio. In communities like Dublin, Delaware and Westerville — communities that are growing more diverse every year — local leaders organized peaceful Black Lives Matter events with thousands of supporters. Every parent recognized the pain of George Floyd when he called out for his mother and begged for his life, and many Delaware County residents have had their eyes opened to racial disparities. We see Trump’s fake “law and order” rhetoric for what it is — a lame attempt to distract us from his many failures.
Trump’s biggest failure has been on health care. He promised “insurance for everybody,” but instead, Ohio saw its uninsured rate jump in 2017 and again in 2018. One group that has been particularly hard hit is Ohio kids; nearly 30,000 more children were uninsured in 2018, compared to two year prior.
Trump has tried to claim — falsely — that he wants to protect people with pre-existing conditions. In fact, he is backing a lawsuit that jeopardizes health care for 4.8 million Ohioans with pre-existing conditions. Repealing the Affordable Care Act would also allow insurers to charge women more than men and remove maternity care and contraception coverage as essential benefits.
After nearly four years in office, there is no Trump plan on health care. His lawsuit to repeal the Affordable Care Act is his plan.
Trump’s failed policies and broken promises are why many suburban women (and men) are turning away from the president and the Republican Party. GOP strategist Karl Rove has admitted, “College educated suburbanites in Ohio, particularly college educated women, were not as supportive of the president in 2016 as they’ve traditionally been of Republican presidential nominees, and that will continue in 2020. Trump has a problem with them.”
Tweeting commands to the “Suburban Housewives of America” isn’t likely to help with that problem.