An Oct. 24 letter writer contends that the American republic will not survive another Trump presidency ("Four more years will ruin us"). The conduct of this White House has been too frequently deeply disappointing. But I also believe our constitutional guardrails are strong. America will be OK, and this kind of catastrophizing does not serve the public discourse well.

2016 was the first presidential election year I did not support the Republican ticket. It was not easy to write in my vote for then-Speaker of the House Paul Ryan given my antipathy for Hillary Clinton.

I am a dedicated conservative but share the letter writer's concern for chaotic, undignified and dishonest presidencies like Donald Trump's. But what then does four years of Democratic rule look like? This is where things get scary too.

The current crop of Democrat presidential contenders advocates for more federal bureaucracy and regulation and less protection for the unborn and religious freedom. The contenders want to grow government's role in the economy and health care and dampen free markets and trade.

While Trump's temperament is troubling to me, the reality is his record is imperfect but strong. The administration's tax and regulatory reforms have led to a booming economy that has produced the lowest unemployment rate since 1969 and the highest consumer-confidence level in 18 years. And his appointments to the federal judiciary have been nothing short of superb.

To beat the president in November, Democrats must move beyond their anti-Trump tirade and overtures to the radical left. As troubling as this White House may be, today Democrats simply offer no appealing alternative.

Andy Brehm, St. Paul

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The pipe dream that I see in the presidential race relates to Democrats thinking that just tweaking existing programs will garner GOP support. The GOP appears to be so extreme at this point that it's unlikely that small changes will win the day. We need "big structural change" in this country as proposed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

How to get big changes passed? The general public understands that there's much that needs to be changed in this country, and big changes will attract citizen activism in lobbying our elected leaders. Tweaks won't get the public's attention and passion.

Bonnie Wittenburg, Wayzata

IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS

What a ridiculous political stunt

Forty-seven GOP members of the House are allowed to sit in on the closed-door impeachment hearings — 47 GOP members who have full access to questions, full access to the testimonies, witnesses and behavior of the Democrats. These are 47 GOP members who have every right to leak to the president, the press and fellow Republicans.

The Republican members storming the secure room where impeachment testimonies were occurring ("On president's cue, chaos mars hearing," front page, Oct. 24) was nothing more than a political stunt designed to move the Republican Party further in the orbit of President Donald Trump. If the GOP members demand transparency, they should be going to the Republicans who actually are sitting in on all these hearings. If they are angered by this process, they should either demand Sen. Lindsey Graham call in witnesses or should call out former Speaker John Boehner for signing into law these new rules. Innocent parties do not pull stunts like this.

Jack Parker, Minneapolis

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Carl Sandburg once said, "If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell."

Yesterday in a sophomoric flash mob stunt, House Republicans stormed a secure room in an attempt to stop testimony from being received. The president blasts Republicans who don't fall in line behind him as "human scum." The White House calls distinguished diplomats and respected civil servants "radical unelected bureaucrats waging war on the Constitution." The entire executive branch refuses to respond to legal subpoenas, while the president calls the congressional impeachment investigation bulls**t, illegitimate and a coup, before raising the stakes to call it a lynching — comparing it to a horrific, murderous mob action.

Looks and sounds a lot like pounding the table and yelling like hell to me.

Dave Pederson, Minnetrista

HILLARY CLINTON

Those e-mails? Officially no big deal

Perhaps because of the media furor around Trump's imminent impeachment, one of the biggest news stories of the past five years finally came to an end last week, and this ending was almost completely ignored by the press ("No willful misuse of Clinton's e-mails," Oct. 19). I am referring to the bogus scandal or scandals regarding Hillary Clinton's use of a private e-mail server and the supposedly nefarious deletion of some of the e-mails on that server. This manufactured story line, amplified by Russian social media bots, very likely helped propel Donald Trump into the White House in 2016. Last week, the State Department meekly released a letter to Sen. Charles Grassley that concluded no systemic or deliberate mishandling of sensitive information had occurred because of the Clinton's use of a home server. None.

Of course, the Republican-controlled Senate could not let the cat out of the bag to the American public that the whole kerfuffle was contrived from the start, so they even went to the trouble of administratively "reclassifying" some of the thousands of e-mails they looked at. This is comparable to taking a highway where the speed limit is 70 mph and changing the speed limit to 50 retroactively, then going back and giving everyone who drove on the road when it was 70 mph a speeding ticket! This egregious misuse of State Department protocol and investigative resources was then used to bolster the exonerating evidence and make the ridiculous assertion that 38 Obama administration employees were culpable for 91 violations of security protocols. That conclusion would only make sense if they all owned a time machine.

However, changing the rules retroactively to make an extremely weak conclusion look worse than it really was wasn't egregious enough for these pillars of decency in the Trump State Department. They then undertook a despicable process of contacting and reprimanding the honest, hardworking State Department employees whose reclassified e-mails had passed through that server. This is the sort of misuse of public resources and abuse of power that has become standard operating procedure for the Trump administration. The American people should bill the Republican National Committee for the millions of taxpayer dollars that have been wasted on promoting and inflating this phony scandal and misleading the world.

Stephen Kriz, Maple Grove

VOTING RIGHTS

Felons vote while incarcerated in Maine, and the sky isn't falling

I lived in Maine for 10 years, where currently incarcerated felons are allowed to vote ("Suit seeks to restore the vote to felons," front page, Oct. 22). Minnesotans might be interested to hear that nothing bad happened as a result.

Chuck Baynton, Roseville

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