In recent days various things have gone in Donald Trump’s favor: the Supreme Court allowed him to use military funds from the Pentagon to construct his border wall; a federal judge gave a green light to his hardening of the asylum laws to prevent Central Americans from soliciting asylum in the United States; and the hearing of special counsel Robert Mueller before Congress on the topic of “Russiagate” did not produce the fireworks that Democrats hoped for, in order to generate national clamor toward Trump’s removal from office.
And all this took place while Trump continued distilling racism on Twitter with his comments about legislators of color and even cities represented by legislators of color. First he insisted that four Democratic congresswomen, all U.S. citizens and women of color, return to the countries “plagued” by crime from which they came; and then he told Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings, an African American who represents the 7th District of Maryland, which includes the city of Baltimore, that he should dedicate his time to working on behalf of his city “infested” with rats, a “dangerous and disgusting” place where “no human being would want to live.” The population of Baltimore is primarily African American.
Trump’s mastery of prejudice and racism is evident, as is the fact that he has unconditional support from Republicans.
We are still sixteen months from the 2020 presidential elections, and if Trump is re-elected, we would have another four years of this harmful spectacle.
What alarms me is that instead of advancing a unifying strategy that permits them to combat Trump, the Democrats remain locked in a battle among themselves over their differences on public policy, positions taken in the past, or about whether or not to initiate an impeachment process against Trump for obstruction of justice in the Russia matter.
Believe me, I would welcome all of these deliberations if we found ourselves in the middle of a normal political panorama, but unfortunately that is not the case. The possibility of having another four years of division, prejudice, and damaging public policies at the domestic and international levels should be motive enough for the Democrats to concentrate on refining and spreading a unifying message, reaching out to those sectors of voters they ignore and then court every four years, registering voters, mobilizing their base, and seeing which other segments of the electorate, offended by Trump, they can attract.
But instead, I see some Democrats behaving as though they have the luxury of dividing themselves while Trump parades around as the only candidate for his Republican Party and, despite his low approval ratings at the national level, presides over an economy that would be the envy of any politician searching for reelection.
In the House of Representatives, progressive voices are facing off against traditional leadership because they believe Trump should be impeached. Many of us wish that would occur. The Mueller report captures obstruction of justice and conspiracy with the Russians, and to this day the possibility exists that Russia will interfere once again in the 2020 general elections. But who wins in an impeachment trial 16 months before the general election, when it’s already predetermined that the Senate will not move forward? Trump will declare himself a victim of the “extreme left,” mobilize his base, and although he cannot win with his base alone, it’s probable that some moderates who are discontented with him will opt to stay at home instead of voting for some Democrat.
On the other hand are the twenty-plus Democratic primary candidates who aspire to the presidential nomination of their party. The attacks amongst themselves contribute nothing. How wonderful that they want to outline their differences, but what has occurred in the attacks on Joe Biden is approaching ridiculousness. Now it turns out that some positions Biden took forty years ago offend some of his primary opponents; but they seem not to have been offended when Biden was, for eight years, Vice President alongside the first African American president in the history of the United States, Barack Obama.
Or the attacks amongst themselves over the details of their public policy plans, whether it be health, Medicare, criminal justice, the border and immigration, climate change, and on and on. Hillary Cliton and Al Gore’s voluminous plans were known by heart and neither was elected president. News flash: if you don’t win the presidency, your brave plans remain unwritten.
People: look who is president. A chaotic individual without plans, who is not qualified for the post, and whose only strategy in 2016 and now for 2020 is attacking immigrants and people of color to exploit racial prejudices in his favor.
The Democrats should be outlining their differences with Trump, explaining how they will go about rescuing the values of this nation, which are being trampled on a daily basis by this president and his defenders.
Trump has generated an existential crisis for this nation, which must decide if we will stay on this route or if we say enough is enough in 2020.
But we have to set aside the internal machinations that contribute nothing and could have the effect of turning off an electorate that, unfortunately, has been normalizing what is not normal. And disaffected voters stay home.
Maribel Hastings is a Senior Advisor to America’s Voice.
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