You Have a Choice to Make

By Don Mohler

If you climb out on a ledge, there is always a chance that you will fall. What the heck. I am going out there anyway. Joe Biden gave the State of the Union Address on March 7, 2024. But he did much more than that— he secured a second term. I can hear you loud and clear: “Come on now. There’s a long way to go.” You are correct, but campaigns always have seminal moments. Last Thursday night was one of those moments.

Admittedly, the bar was low. The President needed to show that he could still walk and chew gum at the same time. He needed to show that he could focus for more than an hour without nodding off. And he needed to demonstrate that he could draw a clear contrast with Donald J. Trump, or as he will forever be known, “My Predecessor.”  He did that and so much more.

How do we know that the President hit the proverbial homerun? We know that because Republicans began to melt down the minute the President left the dais.  He was no longer “Sleepy Joe.” Suddenly, he was “Mean and Angry Joe.” Well, guess what? Mean and angry beats sleepy every single time. It was even clearer that the MAGA crowd knew they were in trouble when they resorted to their all-time greatest hit – socialism. That is always their go to in times of need. And this was all before they locked Senator Katie Britt of Alabama in her kitchen. I don’t think anyone in America wanted any of her cupcakes when she was done. Good lord, I haven’t been that scared since I cried over the flying monkeys and Wicked Witch of the West when I was a little boy on Garden Ridge Road.

If you’ve been a regular visitor to the Front Porch, you’ve heard me say many times that elections are always a referendum or a choice. Voters either weigh in on the performance of the incumbent, or they compare the two candidates on the ballot to one another. As we outlined in our last visit to the porch, the President has a strong record that should bode well even in an election that was a referendum on his performance. But, the Biden campaign still prefers that come November we have a “choice” election. They want Americans to ask two simple questions: Do you remember what a Trump presidency was like, and do you really want to go back to that chaos? Yes, the election will be razor thin, but the Biden campaign believes that the answers to those two questions will be enough to keep the President at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

To help voters with that choice, I’ve decided to focus on what each candidate actually says and does over the next eight months.  I will quote them directly and, because I can’t help myself, I will provide my take on what they said. As folks who stop by to chat from time to time, your task is simple. Share the facts with friends and family. Let’s see if we can break through the clutter, and yes, quite frankly, the lies, to share the truth. We can rekindle that old Superman ideal, “Truth, justice, and the American way.”

Here are a few examples of what President Biden talked about during his State of the Union address, followed by Donald Trump’s observations on those same topics:

“Overseas, Putin of Russia is on the march, invading Ukraine and sowing chaos throughout Europe and beyond. If anybody in this room thinks Putin will stop at Ukraine, I assure you, he will not. But Ukraine can stop Putin if we stand with Ukraine and provide the weapons it needs to defend itself. That is all Ukraine is asking. They are not asking for American soldiers.

In fact, there are no American soldiers at war in Ukraine. And I am determined to keep it that way. But now assistance for Ukraine is being blocked by those who want us to walk away from our leadership in the world. It wasn’t that long ago when a Republican President, Ronald Reagan, thundered, ‘Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.’”

Regarding Russian invasion of a foreign power, Mr. Trump said:

“One of the presidents of a big country stood up [and] said, ‘Well, sir, if we don’t pay and we’re attacked by Russia, will you protect us?’ I said, ‘You didn’t pay, you’re delinquent. No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want.”

My take:

While no one believes that any world leader had this conversation with the former President, his fictional response in his own fairy tale paints a clear picture of his intentions. The former President has no respect for, and does not understand, the significance of the NATO Alliance. It is not a Homeowner’s Association with annual dues to maintain a sediment pond. He cannot comprehend how such a strategic alliance, while morally imperative, also protects the United States and keeps our men and women out of harms way. You, the voter, have a choice.

Discussing women’s health care and reproductive rights, President Biden continued:

“Joining us tonight is Latorya Beasley, a social worker from Birmingham, Alabama. 14 months ago tonight, she and her husband welcomed a baby girl thanks to the miracle of IVF.  She scheduled treatments to have a second child, but the Alabama Supreme Court shut down IVF treatments across the state, unleashed by the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

She was told her dream would have to wait. What her family has gone through should never have happened. And unless Congress acts, it could happen again. So tonight, let’s stand up for families like hers!

To my friends across the aisle, don’t keep families waiting any longer. Guarantee the right to IVF nationwide! Like most Americans, I believe Roe v. Wade got it right. And I thank Vice President Harris for being an incredible leader, defending reproductive freedom and so much more.

But my predecessor came to office determined to see Roe v. Wade overturned. He’s the reason it was overturned. In fact, he brags about it. Look at the chaos that has resulted.

Joining us tonight is Kate Cox, a wife and mother from Dallas. When she became pregnant again, the fetus had a fatal condition. Her doctors told Kate that her own life and her ability to have children in the future were at risk if she didn’t act. Because Texas law banned abortion, Kate and her husband had to leave the state to get the care she needed. What her family has gone through should never have happened as well. But it is happening to so many others.

There are state laws banning the right to choose, criminalizing doctors, and forcing survivors of rape and incest to leave their states as well to get the care they need. Many of you in this Chamber and my predecessor are promising to pass a national ban on reproductive freedom.

My God, what freedoms will you take away next?

In its decision to overturn Roe v. Wade the Supreme Court majority wrote, ‘Women are not without electoral or political power.’ No kidding. Clearly, those bragging about overturning Roe v. Wade have no clue about the power of women in America. They found out though when reproductive freedom was on the ballot and won in 2022, 2023, and they will find out again in 2024. If Americans send me a Congress that supports the right to choose, I promise you, I will restore Roe v. Wade as the law of the land again!”

Donald J. Trump said the following regarding Roe v, Wade:

“For 54 years they were trying to get Roe v. Wade terminated, and I did it. And I’m proud to have done it.”

More recently, the former President opined on a national abortion ban:

“Largely they’re coming in with a certain number of weeks, and the number 15 is mentioned. I haven’t agreed to any number. I’m going to see.”

My take:

There may be no issue where the “choice” component in the upcoming election could be clearer. Republicans are proud to have eliminated a woman’s right to control her own reproductive health. That assault does not stop with the overturn of Roe. It continues with efforts to ban In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF). They believe that life begins at conception. That drives all of their policy decisions. It is why they believe that a frozen embryo is a human life. I have two beautiful grandchildren and several nieces and nephews who grace our family because of IVF. So, yes, this one is personal.  Welcome to Gilead. Keep an eye on their gaslighting of this very important issue. They know voters reject their radical approach by wide margins. As a result, they will say over and over that they support IVF. Keep your eye on the ball because they don’t. When Senator Tammy Baldwin introduced legislation to protect IVF in every state, they voted no. You, the voter, have a choice!

Barack Obama inspired us with hope and change. He famously said that he did not see a blue America or a red America. He saw the United States of America. On the other side of the aisle, Ronald Reagan saw our nation as a “shining city on a hill.”  Well then, how do Messrs Biden and Trump see what lies ahead?

In his recent address, President Biden said:

“I see a future where we defend democracy, not diminish it. I see a future where we restore the right to choose and protect other freedoms, not take them away. I see a future where the middle class finally has a fair shot and the wealthy finally have to pay their fair share in taxes. I see a future where we save the planet from the climate crisis and our country from gun violence.

Above all, I see a future for all Americans! I see a country for all Americans! And I will always be a president for all Americans! Because I believe in America! I believe in you the American people. You’re the reason I’ve never been more optimistic about our future! So let’s build that future together! Let’s remember who we are! We are the United States of America. There is nothing beyond our capacity when we act together! May God bless you all. May God protect our troops.”

Reacting to his electoral victories on Super Tuesday, former President Trump said:

“In some ways we’re a third-world country. We’re a third-world country at our borders and we’re a third-world country at our elections”.

A few weeks ago at CPAC, the former President shared more of his vision for the country:

“In 2016, I declared: I am your voice. Today, I add: I am your warrior. I am your justice. And for those who have been wronged and betrayed: I am your retribution.”

My take:

Are will still a nation that believes our best days lie ahead, and that there is more than unites us than divides us?  For my own sanity, I must believe the answer is yes. Despite the sinister forces that preach doom and gloom, often fueled by Chinese and Russian disinformation, the American heart is strong. It is compassionate. It is good. The attempt to destroy our most sacred democratic traditions is what makes Donald J. Trump so dangerous. MAGA supporters know this, and it is why they typically respond, “You all suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome,” when citing Trump’s own words. They infer that DJT is not really scary and that we are all overreacting. They want us to believe that he is not a fascist who is fond of Hitler, Putin, Xi, and Orban. To my MAGA friends, yes, he is. When someone declares that he will be a “dictator” on day one, I take that seriously. We all should. This is not a drill.

The candidates have two very different views of our hopes and dreams. Don’t believe me. Believe them. You, the voter, have a choice!

 There are 236 days left to decide what your America will look like.

Don Mohler is the former Baltimore County Executive and President and CEO of Mohler Communication Strategies. He may be reached at

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