Picture this scenario: A college president is interviewing a potential football coach. He’s promised his donors and fans that the team will be undefeated the next season, no excuses. He starts with a bold question: “Will you do whatever it takes to win every single game, even if you have to cut some corners, like bribe a few officials or pump your players with steroids or threaten the coaches (and wives) of our opponents if any game doesn’t go our way?”

The potential coach is desperate to get the job. He considers himself a “good Christian,” a man with values, but he knows that the president demands total loyalty, so he says, “Yes, I’ll do whatever it takes, sir. Your wish is my command.”

Far-fetched? Nope. Consider the case of South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott. On a recent episode of “Meet the Press,” the moderator Kristen Welker asked Scott if he’d accept the results of the 2024 presidential election, no matter which candidate won. Scott refused to answer the question, even though Welker repeated it several times. And even though Scott, like the prospective football coach, likes to flash his “Christian” credentials. There’s a simple explanation for Scott’s behavior: He wants Trump to pick him as his vice presidential candidate. To remain in good standing in Trump world, people have to sell their souls to a man who has no soul.

So, here’s the first question for people who haven’t decided on the Trump vs. Biden ticket. Did you admire Tim Scott’s stand when he refused to say whether he would accept the results of the 2024 election?

Let’s move on. More than 1,200 people have been arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection and over 460 have been incarcerated. Trump has promised to pardon every person who has been incarcerated. Three questions: Do you believe that the Jan. 6 event was, as some Trump apologists claim, a “peaceful protest” or, rather, a real threat to the foundations of our democracy? Do you agree that the incarcerated rioters should be pardoned? Do you believe that Trump has learned his lesson from 2020 and that we won’t see a repeat of his actions if he loses the election in 2024?

Consider immigration. Everyone seems to agree that there’s a real problem at the southern border. Republicans, however, refused to pass a comprehensive immigration bill because Trump urged them not to. Basically, Trump didn’t want Biden to look good on the immigration issue. Do you agree that Trump was right to withhold support for immigration reform because he was concerned that it would hurt his election chances? On a related note, in a recent Time magazine article, Trump suggested that he was prepared to use the U.S. military to round up and deport 11 million undocumented immigrants. Are you on board with Trump’s approach?

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Let’s move on to abortion. Trump-appointed Supreme Court justices helped overturn Roe v. Wade, thereby breaking precedent. The abortion issue has reverted back to the states and resulted in real chaos and uncertainty, especially in red states and among poor women. In fact, most Americans support abortion at least through the first trimester. Here goes: What are your thoughts on abortion? Do you believe that the decision should be left to women and their doctors? Incidentally, please don’t try to explain Trump’s views on abortion as they change daily, depending upon which way the political winds are blowing.

Something else to consider: Should the right to own slaves have been left to the states? How about the right of a black man to marry a white woman? Or the right of women to vote? Or of a person to marry someone of the same gender? And on and on. Should those issues have been left to the states?

On to the global stage. Who do you admire more, Vladimir Putin, president of Russia, or Volodymyr Zelenskyy, president of Ukraine? Which one of those two men believes in democracy? Putin wants Trump to win. Do you stand with Putin?

Do you believe that climate change is a real threat? If so, should the U.S. government take steps to address climate change? Who is more concerned about the effects of climate change, Donald Trump or Joe Biden? Oh, and as you mull that question, remember that Trump recently promised wealthy oil executives that he’s cut regulations on the oil industry.

Let’s try another tack. If you were on the board of a major corporation, would you want Trump to serve as president of that corporation? Why or why not?

If you were a construction worker or a lawyer or an architect, would you want to do work for Trump, given his longstanding habit of not paying his bills in full or not paying them at all? Again, why or why not?

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Do you think Trump would be a good military officer, given that he refuses to take orders from anyone or, worse, has called people in the military “suckers”?

If you’re a parent of a young child or teenager, what aspects of Trump’s behavior would you want your kids to emulate?

Let’s get literary. “The Art of the Deal,” which heralded Trump’s business wizardry, became a best-seller in 1987. Trump claimed that writing that book was one of his proudest accomplishments, calling it his second favorite book after the Bible. Small problem. Ghostwriter Tony Schwartz claims that Trump wrote none of the book. He says that writing that book is one of his biggest regrets. Moreover, he says if he were to write a book about Trump today, he would call it the “The Sociopath.” Who do you believe: Donald Trump or Tony Schwartz? And, just for kicks, do you believe that Trump has ever read the Bible? Or even opened it?

Trump is at the center of at least four separate criminal cases. He’s currently stewing — or by his account, freezing — in the courtroom at the hush money/election interference case. Trump claims that all charges against him are bogus, merely Democrat-led efforts to keep him off the ballot. Is Trump right? Is every man or woman, Republican or Democrat who has testified against Trump a liar? Is he the only one telling the truth? Has Trump been indicted for no good reason?

And how about the 18 people indicted in the Arizona election interference case? Were all the people on the grand jury in Arizona trying to render justice or, as Trump and his allies would have you believe, merely puppets in the Democratic “deep state”? Do you believe the same man who tried to get Arizona officials to change 11,000 votes knew nothing about the plot for Republicans in several key states to submit fake electoral paperwork?

I fully realize that 40% of American voters would ignore the facts presented here; they’d scoff and dismiss this article as the product of someone suffering from “Trump Derangement Syndrome.” I gladly assume that risk. And I also know that 40% of Americans would agree with this clear condemnation of the current Republican candidate for president. I’m simply urging voters in the middle to think deeply before casting a vote for the man who would, based on his past behavior and current plans for a second term, cause the downfall of our democracy.

Geoff Duncan, a Republican and Georgia’s former lieutenant governor, recently made his choice. In an editorial in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he wrote, “I am voting for a decent person I disagree with on policy over a criminal defendant without a moral compass. Trump has shown us who he is. We should believe him. To think he is going to change at the age of 77 is beyond probable.”

David Treadwell, a Brunswick writer, welcomes commentary and suggestions for future “Just a Little Old” columns at dtreadw575@aol.com.


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