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Baltimore vs. Trump states

Anyone with the fortitude to endure President Donald Trump’s wearisome campaign rally June 20 in Tulsa might have caught a passing reference to Baltimore.

The reference was to the city’s homicide rate comparing it to that of El Salvador, Guatemala and Afghanistan. And it was purely to make a point about Democratic leadership. He made no mention — as he spoke the day after Juneteenth and not far from the site of the worst massacre of African Americans in U.S. history — of the awful legacies at work in Baltimore and other cities, ranging from racial discrimination to the failed drug war to concentrated poverty.

It’s clear that he sees attacking Charm City as being in his political interest. But the president may want to pause and look around. If the 2020 campaign is going to be about which party should be held accountable for the nation’s social ills, the Republican nominee may find himself holding the short end of the stick. By any reasonable measure of quality of life, including the most basic measure of life and death, it’s not the blue states that are coming up short, it’s those under the firm control of the GOP.

Take the average household income, for example, where West Virginia, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and New Mexico bring up the rear. Of those, only New Mexico qualifies as a blue state in that list. It also happens to be one of seven states with a 16 percent or higher poverty rate. The other six are red states, of course.

We could go on. But the irony here — lost too often on many of President Trump’s supporters, alas — is that these states and the shorter, more difficult lives their residents face have much in common with Baltimore.

As Baltimore native and 1966 McDonogh School grad John Bolton has observed, if belatedly: The 45th president is unfit for office and a ìdanger for the republic.î Polls show even red state denizens seem to be gradually recognizing that, which we take as a sign that his time for dishonoring himself, the presidency and the country will soon be coming to a close.

* Guest editorial from The Baltimore Sun in Baltimore, Md.

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