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Four years ago I ranked the 17 Republican candidates for president. Donald Trump came out number 17. Although I knew of Trump's successful TV program and something about his real life as a developer, I simply could not get my mind around the notion that he was qualified to be president. I did not contribute to the 2016 Trump campaign, nor did I sport a Trump-Pence sticker on my car. Given the alternative (Secretary Clinton), I did vote for him, however, and rejoiced when he won.

This year, I have no such reservations. I have contributed to Trump's campaign and sport Trump-Pence stickers on my vehicles. Have I suddenly become an admirer of Trump the person? No. Like most people I find much of his private behavior offensive — especially his propensity to let his mouth run ahead of his mind, his constant Tweeting that's over the top, and his pettiness that buries his major messages. So there's still a lot not to like.

Once upon a time in America there was a bipartisan consensus that our leaders should embody reason and character. I long for those days and therefore will vote for Joe Biden, whose moral compass and basic human decency will restore the United States to the greatness, and global respect.

But that's far outweighed by what he has accomplished and what he is prepared to deliver during a second term. The latter is very important inasmuch as Trump has shown a remarkable ability to carry out his campaign promises.

Consider what Trump has achieved. First, he has rebalanced the federal courts, including the Supreme Court, by appointing and, with Republican support in the Senate, installing hundreds of judges willing to confine their work to adjudging the constitutionality of issues before them rather than taking on the role of policymakers and deciding as they think appropriate rather than what is constitutional. Second, Trump has rejuvenated the economy by cutting federal tax rates and relieving the economy of the extraordinary burdens of excessive federal regulation. That's why by a recent poll some 56 percent of voters say they are better off now than they were four years ago. 

Third, Fourth, he has condemned the violence and rioting that has infected so many of our cities and has offered federal help to governors. Along with most Americans he has condemned police excesses but has been so supportive of the underappreciated and abused men and women in blue that he has been endorsed by an unprecedented number of police associations.

Fifth, Trump has fought the horrible China virus with tenacity and with success, including his "Warp Speed" program of developing both treatments and vaccines in time frames that were adjudged impossible by most experts on the regulatory process, including me. He accomplished this while balancing competing interests — minimizing loss of life, and reopening our economy, our schools, and our religious institutions.

Finally, as is becoming increasingly clear, Trump did all this while being the subject of incredible efforts by the so-called deep state, the media, and certain members of Congress to bring him down. Yet, Trump withstood this orchestrated revolt, and many of its perpetrators are on the run.

Now, what is presented to us in this election is not just a referendum on Trump: it is a choice between candidates. We cannot consider Trump-Pence alone. It's Trump-Pence vs. Biden-Harris. Which would be better?

Joe Biden hammers Trump on his COVID policies. But what would Biden have done? When Trump held up flights out of China to the U.S., Biden called the act xenophobic, even though it was supported by Dr. Fauci and may have saved hundreds of thousands of U.S. lives. Biden says he would follow the recommendations of "the scientists." I guess he missed the several months of daily briefings on COVID attended by the President, the Vice President, and the task force of the nation's top communicative disease experts he had assembled to deal with the pandemic. 

And while Biden freely criticizes Trump's actions and promises, he has been mute on so many issues. He waited for an eternity to say anything critical about the violence in our urban areas, and when he did it was without force. Packing the court? He won't speak to this important issue, saying he will tell people where he stands only after the election! 

Biden says he will close down the economy if his scientists say to do that. Really? He has said that as president he won't abolish fracking. But that's a flip from a few months ago. Also, his running mate has been on record for getting rid of fracking — until just recently. Biden says he will raise taxes only on those earning over $400 thousand a year. But he also says he will repeal all of Trump's tax cuts, which save middle-income families thousands of dollars each year. Tricky language: repealing a tax cut is not a tax increase! 

The list of the Biden double-talk and flip-flops goes on and on. A major reason is that his current policies and promises are being run by left-wingers from the House of Representatives such as AOC's "squad" as well as by his own running mate, the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate. Trump, on the other hand, is transparent and has enunciated plans to boost the U.S. economy, further bolster our national defenses, free us from the COVID pandemic, assure everyone affordable health care, strengthen our society as a whole, and protect all lives, including those of the unborn.

Please look beyond whether you like Trump, the person, and envision what your future and the future of America would be with these two candidates. And join me in voting for Trump-Pence.

— The writer, who lives outside the town of Washington, served as chairman of the Federal Trade Commission between 1981 and 1985 and was Budget Director for President Ronald Reagan between 1985 and 1988.

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