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For me, deciding how to vote in November requires looking at past performance. Candidate promises are interesting, but I believe past is prologue. 

Voters need to take a hard look at Biden's past. His five-decade career has been focused solely on politics and campaigning for office — lots of claims made, statements upon which he has asked voters to rely. Does his record justify reliance?

Put simply, no. Biden is a liar and a plagiarist. Not because of his regular gaffes, or spur-of-the-moment missteps. Those implicate different concerns. He has lied about who he is, stolen the work of others and claimed it as his own, and lied about what he has done in his political career. From the 1970s to today, this is who Joe Biden is. 

The fact that these incidents occurred is largely without dispute. Biden has had to admit his lies. Lies and admitted plagiarism forced Biden to drop out of the 1988 presidential race. Video of many incidents can be found online. Note what had to be phony sincerity then. We see that same patina of sincerity and feigned compassion today. Raises real concerns about his much-vaunted empathy.

During law school, Biden lifted five pages of text for a law review article. When caught, he begged the school not to expel him. He admitted this plagiarism during the 1988 campaign.

During a 1987 rally, Biden claimed he went to law school on a full academic scholarship, was in the top half of his class, got three undergraduate degrees, and was the outstanding student in the political science department. All false. It was widely reported back then that he was, in fact, 76th in a law school class of 85, had only a partial scholarship, and did not win poli sci honors or extra degrees. 

During the 1988 Iowa campaign, Biden adopted the personal biography of Neil Kinnock (Margaret Thatcher's political opponent), using Kinnock's own powerful words to claim both he and his wife were first "in a thousand generations" to graduate from college. Biden later confessed he indeed did have relatives who attended college. He also claimed his own ancestors had worked down in the coal mines. His family did not — that was Kinnock's ancestry. Biden's departure from the 1988 race occurred shortly after he was caught in these falsehoods.

Biden also lies about what he's done, apparently not happy with his actual past. In the current campaign, he has claimed he came out against the Iraq War during its earliest moments; that he has always been considered one of the most liberal members of Congress; and that the Obama Administration never locked immigrants in cages. Observers have found these claims to be false.

The Washington Post completely discredited a Biden story about his claimed trip to Afghanistan to honor a naval hero. He detailed gripping allegations about an officer's actions, and — amazingly — added, “This is God's truth, my word as a Biden.” No truth, says WaPo. So much for Biden's word, nevermind invoking God to validate a lie. 

The list goes on and on. He has been called out for claiming he never made more than $400,000 in a year; that he was a professor at University of Pennsylvania since leaving the vice presidency; that he was a co-sponsor of the Endangered Species Act; and that he tried to visit Nelson Mandela in prison during the 1970s and was arrested for it. Each was a lie.

In my view, we are blessed to have Trump for many reasons, not least, his four-year record of accomplishments. Trump gets credit for promising and delivering tax cuts, deregulation, getting government out of our lives and businesses, rebuilding our military, and finally bringing reform to health care for veterans. Trump also: (i) used his first international trip to gather 50-plus Arab leaders in the Middle East and now has led the Israel/UAE/Bahrain accord; (ii) eliminated radical Islam's caliphate and weakened their forces significantly; (iii) promised and delivered increased barriers at our southern border; (iv) reduced US military commitments overseas. 

Pre-pandemic, Trump provided the best employment numbers ever to all minority groups — African Americans, Latinos, women — having promised to work toward this end in 2016 during his outreach to African American communities. Biden uses the damaged post-pandemic numbers to suggest the economy has suffered generally under Trump. Unfair and untrue. Worldwide actions in response to the virus have cratered economies. The comeback here is impressive and continuing. 

The past is prologue. Lies from Biden will continue. Accomplishments from Trump will be the norm. I will trust the future to Trump. His performance says all I need to know about how to vote in November. 

The writer, a former federal independent counsel and chief litigation counsel at the Securities and Exchange Commission, lives in Flint Hill.

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