November 2020 is a long way off but we’re already seeing the rumblings of punditry telling us that Trump has a lock on the Electoral College and the Democrats are in total disarray. I’m not sure if there’s methodology to this, but it seems that like a summer heat wave — both predictable and unprepared for — the plotting and the hand-wringing comes along with it.
Right now you can pick and choose your poison and night sweats about about Trump in office for another term, or you can take a deep breath, exhale, and get to work coming up with candidates and policy ideas that are less a response to the spasms of this id-driven narcissist and more grounded in what the country actually needs.
I think Frank Bruni makes a couple of good points here.
The Democratic Party and the Democratic candidates for president need to be smarter, more realistic and more disciplined than they are now. Enough with internal feuding. Enough with taking the president’s bait and bumbling into his traps. If he sets the terms of the political discussion, he wins.
He wants to spend the 15 months between now and Election Day talking about “the squad”: Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley. Democrats mustn’t follow suit. Absolutely they should defend the four congresswomen, and make clear that they are every bit as American as Trump is. In taking issue with his leadership and finding fault with our country, they’re exercising and honoring our most dearly held rights, which the president is trampling on.
So say that once, loud and clear. Maybe say it twice. Then move on. Trump wants to define all Democrats in terms of the squad, when they’re but a part of a diverse party and hardly its ideological proxies. So don’t let him. Don’t let all the other issues get muscled off the stage. If everyone’s talking about Omar, no one’s talking about health care or jobs: the stuff that actually turns elections and will turn this one. If Trump has his way, this campaign will be a bogus referendum on a bastard definition of patriotism. It will be a race-obsessed and racist jubilee. Don’t play along.
…Reeling from the ugliness of his actions and words — which are meant to make them reel — Democrats want to repudiate him as forcefully as possible. But that can lead to a reaction that’s neither smart politics nor good policy.
Nancy Pelosi knows this. It’s why she hasn’t been talking up the Green New Deal, single-payer insurance or impeachment, and the suggestion that this makes her some squishy centrist pushover — some musty relic from a timid era — is bunk. She has her eyes on the most meaningful prize, one she pursued successfully in the midterms: Democratic victory. And she can see that in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll published a little over a week ago, just 21 percent of registered voters said that there was enough evidence for Congress to begin impeachment hearings.
I wonder what would happen if the Democratic nominee simply refused to talk about Trump. No responding to whatever stupid nickname he comes up with. No sweeping denunciation of some deed of his that any sensible American already knows is wrong. Just the articulation of better solutions to America’s problems. Trump would go mad with the lack of attention. And maybe then, thank heaven, he’d go away.
I wouldn’t so blithely say he’d go away; even if he’s dragged kicking and screaming from the West Wing, we’ll have to endure his tweets and his plotting to come back like a bad repeat of Grover Cleveland’s second term, so far the only president to win again after losing re-election. So this has to be a permanent win; not just the White House and the Senate in 2020, but for the next two to four election cycles. Democrats have the numbers to be a permanent majority and they’re growing all the time. They just have to use them.