Like a couple of frat boys sharing an inside joke, a smirking President Trump told the smirking Russian President Vladimir Putin to steer clear of the 2020 election. The two clearly thought that was a hoot insofar as Russia’s meddling in 2016 very likely helped win the White House for Trump, as former President Jimmy Carter noted recently.

“There’s no doubt that the Russians did interfere in the election,” said Carter. “And I think the interference, although not yet quantified, if fully investigated would show that Trump didn’t actually win the election in 2016. He lost the election and he was put into office because the Russians interfered on his behalf.”

Putin, meanwhile, called western democracies “obsolete” at the G20 summit in Japan. To prove it, he will undoubtedly interfere in the 2020 U.S. election again to benefit his would-be authoritarian buddy. Trump and Senate Republicans appear to welcome his help since they’ve done nothing to safeguard our elections.

California Sen. Kamala Harris put some daylight between her presidential candidacy and the rest of the Democratic field last week during the second debate. She’s smart, articulate and tough, running circles around presumptive favorite Joe Biden.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg likewise shined. The Navy veteran who served in Afghanistan is a devout Christian, a graduate of Harvard, a Rhodes Scholar and happens to be happily married to another man. A Harris-Buttigieg ticket could be in the offing, and I’d love to see former prosecutor Harris clean Trump’s clock in a presidential debate.

Speaking of the president, after saying his meeting with the Russian dictator was a “great honor,” Trump was off to visit his other BFF, Kim Jong Un, at the DMZ. Nothing says love like legitimizing a murderous despot. Naturally, Fox News bloviators praised the get-together after condemning President Obama in 2013 for saying he’d meet with Kim.

Trump fans like plain talk, so here’s some: Those “detention centers” on our southern border are concentration camps where children seized from their parents by the administration are being held in horrifying conditions. Attorneys who visited the camp in Clint, Texas, described little kids caring for toddlers, babies sleeping on floors, no diapers, lice, inadequate food, no soap or toothbrushes, no clean clothes and guards standing around watching children suffer.

Trump’s America: concentration camps run by profiteers billing the U.S. government $775 a day for each imprisoned kid.

Sen. David Purdue, who enthusiastically enables Trump, wants your vote in 2020. I’m old enough to remember Purdue campaigning on fiscal responsibility. That was before he voted for Trump’s huge tax cut paid for by borrowing another trillion from China.

The tax cut was billed as middle class relief, but that was a GOP hoax. The 1% and corporations were the real beneficiaries, according to the Brookings Institution, which called the cuts “welfare for the wealthy.” And as predicted here, the tax savings are being banked by the billionaire class while corporations pay bigger dividends and C-suite bonuses, and buy back their stock. Trump promised they’d invest those savings in plants and people, another hoax.

There are responsible billionaires out there, by the way. Last week, 20 of them said they want to be taxed at rates proportionate to their wealth. That’s the dark cloud of socialism! cry the gullible.

Socialism is the new/old Republican scare word. They’d have you believe the kind of democratic socialism Bernie Sanders is calling for would result in a Stalinist state. They deliberately conflate democratic socialism with socialism and communism in a relentless campaign to confuse and frighten voters.

“The price of socialism is freedom,” claims Perdue. That’s right, you should be “free” to die of cancer because you can’t afford treatment; “free” not to go to college because tuition is out of reach; “free” to make an unlivable minimum wage.

We already have democratic socialism in the form of Social Security and Medicare, the most popular government programs ever enacted. Conservatives fought both tooth and nail using the same bogus attack as Perdue’s.

Republicans don’t want health care reform, either, not because it will bring down the republic, but because insurance middle men, big pharma and corporate hospitals wont get their enormous cuts to the health care pie. Such deception is baked into the GOP; conservatives can’t tell Americans what they really want because if they did, they’d be voted out of office.

To make sure that’s mitigated, Supreme Court conservatives last week ruled partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts is not covered by the Constitution, so gerrymander away to ensure elections like those in Georgia are weighted in favor of Republicans.

Justice Elena Kagan, who wrote the minority dissent, said that the decision is “tragically wrong,” and, “imperils our system of government...Part of the Court’s role in that system is to defend its foundations. None is more important than free and fair elections.”

Free and fair elections — how quaint. But that’s not what Republicans want, right, Vlad?

Kevin Foley is a public relations executive, writer and author who lives in Kennesaw. You can contact him through his website at kevinemmetfoley.com.

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