Two Washington DC vendors on a big year to come in American politics

2020 will be a momentous year in US politics. Will Trump evade impeachment to be re-elected? Will the Democrats find a big enough character to run against him? To measure the pulse in the US capital, this #VendorWeek two Street Sense vendors, based in Washington DC, with very different opinions, give their take on the state of the nation.

“This government wants to punish the poor” – Jeff Taylor

I’ve had the opportunity to flip Trump off. I sing church songs on street corners in downtown DC and I sing to make money. His motorcade has several times passed the intersection of 13th and Pennsylvania Avenue. It sounds discordant to say the least that I flip anybody off while singing hymns, but I feel strongly about this man.

I was just reading about the changes to the food stamp programme. They’re going to ask what they deem able bodied adults aged 18 to 49, who are not raising children, to work a minimum of 20 hours a week. It’s going to hit a lot of people in rural America, where jobs are not plentiful and public transportation is not available either – that’s also an issue for job access. It will affect the most vulnerable people who have assistance because they need assistance. They want to punish the poor.

There was a time when we had two opposing parties who shared a common goal, the good of the people and the nation, and simply differing opinions of how best to achieve it. But those days are long gone and most likely never to return. Democrats are going to have to fight harder than they’ve ever fought before if they are to win against a team that hates democracy and has no sense of decency.

Right now, the Republican Party is the party of the rich and powerful. That’s it. There’s a stark difference between the two parties. One of them protects wealth. And the other wants to spread the wealth because the people at the top are taking more than their fair share of the pie.

Street Sense vendor Jeff Taylor (left)

I’m a politics junkie. I keep up with it on a regular basis and this is going to be the most consequential year in our nation’s history. We’re at the most critical point that we’ve ever been. I’m terrified. I’m not confident that we’re going to have a free and fair election. If he’s going to be acquitted by the Senate [impeachment proceedings related to foreign interference in elections are ongoing] it’s going to be “ok, he did nothing wrong”, so he’s going to be free to do it again, and as much as he wants. In which case, the Democrats should say fine then, we can do it too. They’re going to have to play a lot tougher.

I am a little concerned about the direction of our media’s attention on the Democratic candidates. They’re obsessed with Elizabeth Warren and the fact that Wall Street doesn’t like her. Joe Biden is a moderate – but we don’t need a moderate.

The right wing wants to define us as being radical and what we want is not radical. It really isn’t. What we want is what a majority of the American people want: Medicare for all, social security and support for the Green New Deal. These are mainstream notions accepted by the majority of the American electorate, but we even allow some people on the left to label these as radical. Shame on them.

If the elections are allowed to be free and fair, whoever the Democratic candidate is should be able to beat Trump handily. But who knows? At least we know how they’ll come at us; we know how they operate through social media bullshit. I’m very afraid we may have screwed up too big by letting this man into the office in the first place.

“I support Trump, but I’m open to alternatives” – Jeffery McNeil

During the holidays, the last thing I want to do is talk about politics, Donald Trump or impeachment. If some are still seething in rage over his presidency, I pray for them because in my opinion it’s wasted energy. Let those that hate Trump remain miserable and bitter. To me, those suffering from Trump derangement have wasted over three years which means you spent nearly 1,200 days of your life trying to remove President Trump. It never occurs to the left that impeachment can fail and Donald Trump can be re-elected. If he gets re-elected, this means you wasted eight years of your life on things that you have no control over.

I admit I don’t understand the resistance. What has President Trump stopped you from doing?

They say Donald Trump’s a racist but when you ask the left to name a specific policy when this administration has discriminated against people of colour, they become enraged. It’s hard to make the argument Trump is a racist when Trump is polling with Hispanics at 31 per cent and African-Americans at 34 per cent.

Jeffery McNeil. Jeffery was recently invited to the White House, after Trump staffers read his column in Street Sense.

How can Trump be racist when he signed criminal justice reform, worked with Senator Tim Scott on opportunity zones, named Ben Carson as Secretary of HUD, has funded historically black colleges and has steered many minorities from food stamps to jobs with the lowest black and Hispanic unemployment of any president?

They claim Trump is a dictator – they are off the charts in their lunatic fantasies! Do they know what a dictator is? You had Hollywood actors such as Robert De Niro and Kathy Griffin threaten violence toward the president; do they think they could do that in Iran or North Korea? Can they name one policy Trump has done where he bypassed Congress or ignored the Supreme Court?

I don’t fly into a rage because people don’t agree or think like me. I understand someone not liking Trump, but why should I care about how you feel? If you don’t like the president use the tools to remove him – which is to find an alternative.

I support Trump but I’m not the gum on his shoe. I’m open to alternatives. Unfortunately, the Democrats are not the off-ramp. I accepted that politics is dysfunctional, both Republicans and Democrats are useless. Neither are for working people; both parties are about seizing your freedoms and policing those that oppose them.

Jeffery with a copy of Street Sense, containing his column, signed by Donald Trump.

While I’m not happy with the state of our nation, I’m not for socialism. Socialism is like robbing someone’s bank account then buying them McDonald’s, then claiming you’re feeding them. Socialism sounds good in theory, but the reality is if Wall Street believed Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders could be president they would flee the country. And, as with Venezuela, after the socialists steal all the wealth, you’ll be left with the lies and bread lines.

In the end, if you still have left-wing friends, don’t argue or debate with them. It’s wasted energy. Enjoy life – let them be unhappy.

I think Donald Trump is doing a fantastic job. He’s not stopping me from doing anything.

I don’t see Trump preventing anyone from going shopping, investing, going to school or living the American Dream.

Continue wishing he was gone; I will be focusing on taking advantage of the growing economy and opportunities Trump’s created.

Read more coverage of #VendorWeek 2020 here