In response to Jones Gallagher’s Jan. 17 letter to the editor, in which he contends that President Trump has a mandate to build a wall:

Voting for someone does not mean that you support all their ideas. Not everyone who voted for Trump thinks that a wall will improve our border security.

“Mandate” implies that candidates don’t need to compromise or adjust their ideas because most people voted for them. Trump’s victory was based on the Electoral College, which makes him president, but he lost the popular vote by several million people. Compromise is expected.

The idea Trump promoted pre-election was a free wall (to be paid for by Mexico). Since that isn’t actually available, any mandate is negated. For example, if you bought a house that was supposed to come with a free hot tub, but when you moved in the tub turned out to be a marketing ploy and would actually cost $6,000 – then sensible families would stop and look at all their needs. They would not feel compelled to buy a hot tub.

Since we are spending taxpayer dollars, then we need to ask, what do we need most? Repairing aging infrastructure? Job training for those losing jobs to technology? Affordable health care? High-quality internet to support rural economies? Other national needs?

Projects proposed on the campaign trail help voters to understand candidates’ values and judgment. Once in office, current events and the need to create legislation with others may change projects but not the person’s judgment and values. Those qualities are why the majority of Americans did not vote for Donald Trump.

Trump doesn’t have a mandate to spend our hard-earned dollars on a wall. Most Americans believe there are better ways to improve border security. Congress should pass veto-proof legislation and open the government. Now.

Beth Bussiere-Nichols

Portland


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