Illustration for article titled Trump Reaches Out Directly To Us Gearheads And May Be Advocating One Car Per Family But Its Hard To Tell

I’ll be the first to admit that my particular demographic (short, weird-haired, taillight-obsessed dipshit/father) isn’t usually the most targeted one by political candidates, so when the President of the United States himself issues an Official Tweetmissive that directly addresses my specific interests as someone who “like(s) automobiles,” I pay attention. The only problem is that it doesn’t seem like anything in this tweet is true.

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I know it drives a certain fraction of our readership nutclusters when we address political issues, but, come on, how are we supposed to ignore a Presidential tweet that begins “If you like automobiles?” Here it is:

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First, let’s be honest here: while I’m sure there are a number of Democrats who would like to see a world without cars and having only public transportation and the occasional llama cart, I guess, that’s by no means whatsoever the case for the vast, vast majority of Democrats, who own and drive cars by the millions.

Just to be sure, I found the most recent DNC platform (which dates from the last presidential election in 2016—the 2020 platform won’t be available until the DNC convention in July) and searched for any references to cars or automobiles. If “all” Democrats want to get rid of cars, it should be in the party’s platform, right?

I just found two references, one for “cars” and one for “automobile”:

“We will transform American transportation by reducing oil consumption through cleaner fuels, vehicle electrification increasing the fuel efficiency of cars, boilers, ships, and trucks.”

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and

Democrats are committed to defending, implementing, and extending smart pollution and efficiency standards, including the Clean Power Plan, fuel economy standards for automobiles and heavy duty vehicles, building codes and appliance standards.

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These are both pretty tame statements about efficiency and fuel economy, but there’s nothing in there about banning cars.

Let’s look at the campaign platforms of the two Democratic presidential frontrunners, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, and see if we can find anything about banning cars, why not?

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Bernie Sander’s website has a lot of information about his Green New Deal plan, and while cars are mentioned a lot, it’s mostly in the contexts of incentive programs to get people out of older less efficient cars and into newer, more efficient, American-made cars:

Vehicle trade-in program. Provide $681 billion for low- and moderate- income families and small businesses for a trade-in program to get old cars off the road. Families with a conventional car will be able to access an additional incentive for trading in for an American-made electric vehicle. The Obama administration conducted a successful trade-in program that helped accelerate the transition to more efficient cars. We will expand on the program and make it stronger by requiring even higher efficiency and make it available only to cars manufactured in the U.S.

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Luckily, this is a voluntary plan, because I’m keeping my miserable archaic cars.

There’s also mentions of grants to encourage EV buying:

Grants to purchase a new EV. Provide $2.09 trillion in grants to low- and moderate-income families and small businesses to trade in their fossil fuel-dependent vehicles for new electric vehicles. Currently, purchasers of electric vehicles are wealthier than buyers of conventional cars. As president, Bernie will make sure working families share the benefits of this transition and nobody is left behind.”

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There’s also some talk about developing alternative domestic energy sources to power cars and trucks and electric school bus initiatives, but that’s pretty much it. No mention of taking cars away, or limiting anyone’s car ownership, at least nothing in writing.

Now, there is talk about eventually transitioning to 100 percent EVs; that’s not a ban on gas cars, it’s an eventual goal, but that would mean no gas cars down the road if that were to happen. Personally, I’d rather see some provision made for continued combustion-powered cars, even if it’s a comparatively small percentage, and with loopholes for vintage cars and so forth.

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Joe Biden’s site really only mentions cars once, in terms of fuel economy standards:

“Set bold corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards requiring a 54.5 miles-per-gallon standard for cars and light-duty trucks by model year 2025, which the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration predicted: “[would save] consumers more than $1.7 trillion in gas costs and [reduce] U.S. oil consumption by 12 billion barrels.”

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There’s no mention of a blanket car ban in his platform otherwise.

Also, you have to admit, banning cars would be a pretty stupid policy to take in an election year. It’s a hard sell, asking people to vote for your guy and, oh, also, we’re going to take away the most expensive thing you own after your house, so, you know, tough shit!

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The current Democratic party is also not even remotely extreme or radical enough to push a “no cars” plan, anyway. The overall party just isn’t that radical, really, despite these attempts at making them seem more dangerous and bold than they really are, which is, let’s be honest, kinda boring.

Okay, so I don’t think we can verify that all Democrats want to get rid of cars, gasoline or otherwise. Then we get to the next sentence of the tweet, which is sort of confusing:

“Remember also, no more than one car per family.”

So, is this the President reminding us that we’re only supposed to have one car per family? It’s just kind of interjected in there, after the bullshit about Dems wanting to get rid of cars, which, if they did get rid of them, would be 100 percent fewer cars than one car per family, so that can’t be what Trump is saying the Democrats want, right? They want to get rid of cars, not let families have one, according to him, so I guess this statement is from him, and he’s advocating one car per family?

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Shit, if that’s right, I’m, screwed. I’d have to get rid of five cars! Don’t make me choose!

You could argue that he’s suggesting that the “one car per family” thing is a Democratic initiative, even though no such initiative exists and there’s no mention of any such plan in any official Democratic statements that I’ve been able to find.

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Really, there’s as much evidence that this one car thing is his idea he’s talking about. Actually, there’s more evidence, because Trump tweeted “Remember also, no more than one car per family” in a tweet, and that’s a direct quote.

I’m sorry, Mr. President, but I’m an American, and I want my fleet of shitboxes.

Now let’s look at the last line of this tweet:

“I, on the other hand, have new plants being built all over Michigan, Plus!”

I think we can infer that he’s talking about automobile manufacturing plants, and when he says “all over Michigan, Plus” he may be referring to Michigan Plus, which is sort of like Disney Plus, which is like regular Michigan only you can watch The Mandelorian there.

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Or, it just could be a shitty grasp of written English.

As far as new automobile plants being built all over Michigan, well, that’s not exactly true. I mean, there are some plans for new plants—FCA is planning a new Detroit factory, and GM will be turning their Hammtrack plant that closed in 2018 into an EV factory, but that’s not so much a new plant as it is re-working an older factory. Ford is doing some similar things with two of their existing plants as well.

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GM’s Warren, Michigan transmission plant closed last year and remains closed.

So, there’s still plenty of car manufacturing in Michigan, but a number of plant closures and layoffs have happened during this administration, and there’s not really new plants being built “all over Michigan,” Plus or not.

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So, what’s the takeaway from President Trump’s first tweet directly targeted at car lovers? It’s either a couple of outright lies and one pretty misleading statement, or, if we want to be charitable, one lie, one plea from Trump for one car per family, and one misleading statement.

You can pick! Either option sucks!

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus, 2020 Changli EV • Not-so-running: 1973 Reliant Scimitar, 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!)

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