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Opinion editor's note: Star Tribune Opinion publishes letters from readers online and in print each day. To contribute, click here.


James Brandt in his commentary "Even a poor candidate can make a good president" (Opinion Exchange, May 29), states that he may vote for Donald Trump for president, indicating that his preference isn't for Trump's character but his policies.

That sentiment is often expressed by those supporting Trump but I would hope that he and all other voters would not forget nor set aside the powerful words of President Franklin D. Roosevelt who stated that "The presidency is not merely an administrative office. That's the least of it. It is more than an engineering job, efficient or inefficient. It is pre-eminently a place of moral leadership. All our great presidents were leaders of thought at times when certain historic ideas in the life of the nation had to be clarified."

Dale Anderson, Eagan


Reading Brandt's piece making a case that Trump was a good president — despite being a bad person — made me feel badly for Brandt. As a liberal, I don't have to face that dilemma. Do I vote for a person who supports my political perspectives, even though they lack moral character?

Brandt cites specifics. Of course, we liberals can counter all his specific "accomplishments" of Trump with our own specifics. For instance, Brandt cites Trump's COVID vaccine "warp speed" development, but overlooks Trump's dismissal of the COVID threat as a mere case of the flu — despite expert advice to the contrary — or Trump promoting hydroxychloroquine as therapy when it was not therapeutic, and potentially dangerous. Likewise, Brandt's citing of positive economic data during Trump's watch disregards the devastating economic impact of the pandemic — something President Joe Biden had no control over. Additionally, Brandt's criticism of Biden's immigration policies overlooks Trump, as a "closet president," commanding his lap-dog Republican lawmakers to torpedo Biden's attempt to buttress border resources to better deal with the crisis. And one could counter each and every attempt by Brandt to cite policy justification for voting for a morally bankrupt Trump.

But specifics aside, as a liberal, I actually feel some sympathy for Brandt. We liberals don't have to compromise our standards when we vote for our nominees. Sure, we have liberal politicians who make poor choices in their communications. (For example, Rep. Ilhan Omar's "It's all about the Benjamins" comment.) But their moral integrity is never in question. Unfortunately, conservatives like Brandt aren't offered an option like, say, Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas or John Kasich of Ohio — both conservative men whom I could accept as presidents despite my disagreeing with their political philosophies.

Rather than doing contortions to justify the unjustifiable — voting for Trump — Mr. Brandt might do well to exert his energy toward placing conservative candidates on the ballot that will serve our country well and will make us citizens proud to be Americans.

Richard Masur, Minneapolis


In Brandt's commentary, he admits neither candidate is an attractive choice or someone I would strongly support.

Like many fellow Americans, I am not willing this time to vote for the "lesser of two evils."

That's why I am supporting and endorsing Jill Stein. Her platform with the Green Party is all about people, planet and peace. She is an alternative that could bring about real change we desperately need.

Michael McDonald, St. Paul


We're just preaching to the choir, here

The second theory in Ezra Klein's "Seven theories for why Biden is losing" (Opinion Exchange, May 28), was "It's the media's fault." More apt would have been "It's disinterest's fault." A poll shows Biden leads by a whopping 49 points among voters who rely on newspapers, but Trump leads by a very large 26 points among ostriches who don't follow political news. That means several of my previous letters to the editor about Trump's disqualifications were just preaching to the choir. Let's all sing "Don't Stop Believin."

Jim Bartos, Maple Grove


Article discussing fast-food prices is misleading

I am writing to express my concerns regarding the recent article titled "Fast-food prices are a soar point" (Business, May 22). While I appreciate the attention given to consumer pricing trends, the article contains several inaccuracies and misrepresentations that require correction.

With value and affordability top of mind for millions of Americans in today's inflationary environment, your readers deserve the real facts.

Firstly, the article fails to mention the many economic factors contributing to price changes. It is crucial to consider the impact of rising supply chain costs, increased wages and inflationary pressures that have affected all sectors of the economy, not just fast food.

In the case of McDonald's, our price increases in the U.S. are closely connected to the increase in the costs of running restaurants. McDonald's average "input costs" (salaries, food and paper) have risen about 40% over the past five years, and so has the average price of McDonald's menu items. Additionally, the data cited in the article appears to lack context and proper sourcing, leading to misleading conclusions. You say, for example, the price of a Big Mac has doubled in the last five years. It has not. The national average price of a Big Mac in 2019 was $4.39 and is now $5.29. That's a 21% increase.

In reality — prices for many McDonald's menu items have risen less than the rate of inflation, and our prices remain well within the range of other quick service restaurants.

McDonald's has always been the go-to destination for great value, and we remain committed to bringing our customers affordable options at a time when they need it most. Across the country, and in the Minneapolis community, your readers can find that at their local McDonald's.

Going forward, I urge the Star Tribune to provide a more nuanced and accurate portrayal of the factors influencing restaurant pricing.

Michael Gonda, Chicago

The writer is the senior vice president and chief impact officer of North America of McDonald's USA.


Get out there and enjoy a local performance

You can experience exquisite beauty, physical prowess, exciting drama, deep emotion and personal sacrifice like nowhere else in the world, right here in Minnesota. I'm not talking about our Timberwolves (Go Wolves!) but about the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO).

Unlike the Wolves, courtside seats for the SPCO are available for a very reasonable price — sometimes even free! Attending their concerts is a stimulating brain massage. Witnessing their performances produces healthy benefits of many kinds. Your creativity will be enhanced in amazing and unexpected ways.

In addition to attending SPCO concerts, now is the time to let the SPCO management know how much you love this orchestra and what they mean to you. We are in danger of losing this world-class resource. Some musicians have already left or are planning to leave. Let the directors and management know today that you want the SPCO to do more, not less; to increase their outreach into various neighborhoods and new audiences, to do more concerts and more videos. Musicians sacrifice a tremendous amount of time to produce great music. They deserve good pay and benefits. Experiencing a SPCO performance is a big part of what makes Minnesota marvelous. Please let them know you are passionate about this wonderful team that regularly gives us performances as excellent as any orchestra in the world.

Michael Michalk, Mound