While the country watches on in angst over investigations into possible collusion between Russian spies and President Donald Trump and his associates, Democrats in Congress must realize they must do more than simply oppose Trump.
Politicians on the left need a message and they need a plan—a plan to beat the Republicans, relieve Trump and the GOP of their death grip on the U.S. government, and come up with their own agenda to run the country.
Otherwise, the Dems will plan to fail.
The party is presently engaged in a rebranding process, with an economic agenda called a “Better Deal,” a jobs package centered around infrastructure, minimum wage and trade. Democrats could also throw in a “Medicare for all” or single-payer slogan to counter the train wreck known as Trumpcare– the “repeal and replace” legislation that would eliminate Obamacare in favor of a dystopian Republican nightmare, a vision of wholesale human rights abuses, suffering and death. And let’s not forget issues such as crippling student loan debt, which Bernie Sanders championed in the 2016 campaign as part of an effort to address the needs of young people.
With the walls closing in on the Trump administration, in light of growing revelations that point to the Trump campaign possibly colluding with Russia to rig the 2016 presidential election in favor of Trump, the Democrats must be ready. The talk has been shifting to treason, with the real possibility that people from the Trump campaign and White House staff could face prison bars before this is all over. This White House is looking more and more like an organized crime ring (think Goodfellas rather than House of Cards).
Everybody, it seems, has talked with Russian agents about something or another, and they’re already lawyered up and ready to take the Fifth. This, as Special Counsel Robert Mueller stacks his team full of prosecutors, and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman appears poised to take down Trump, and go after his money and his people. Trump may be the worse president since Andrew Johnson, and he and his team are steadily dismantling the government and America’s beloved democracy.
But Democrats have to do more than decide what to wear at the Trump impeachment party, if and when the president leaves office, and the Republican Party possibly implodes with him. Democrats should be ready to pick up the pieces and rebuild the country.
Ohio political activist Nina Turner spoke some truths when she said the Democrats lost “because they lost touch with the people, not because they were moving left.” Meanwhile, a recent discussion on NBC’s Meet The Press between RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel and DNC Chair Tom Perez highlighted the Democrats’ failure to go for the jugular, fight hard and seize on some fresh, new talking points. Fighting nice, being polite and not wanting to offend anybody has cost the Democratic Party the presidency, both houses of Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court and a majority of state houses and governorships, even when they win more votes.
This quixotic quest by the Democrats for conservative, white so-called blue-collar Trump voters is foolish and pointless. After all, they love the man because he beats up on Latinos, Muslims and Black folks, and grabs women by the p*ssy. So, how does the party that stands up for people of color and women’s rights plan to run as the “racist light” or “misogyny light” party? What Dems need to do is run real people who don’t need spinning and consulting, and real ideas that don’t need to be passed through focus groups.
They must find more candidates like Randy Bryce, the progressive Army vet and steelworker who wants to unseat Speaker Paul Ryan in Congress. They need young candidates and they need to compete everywhere, including in the new South, that one day will not be so red, and is growing with Blacks, Latinos and progressive whites.
What’s more, women must seize the reins of leadership in the Democratic Party, particularly women of color. Black women are the backbone of the party, the most enthusiastic voters and the most devoted party loyalists, yet their votes are taken for granted, and they are ignored. Listen to Congresswoman Maxine Waters often, and follow the lead of Senator Kamala Harris, a rising star who made Attorney General Jeff Sessions nervous, and may very well make Donald Trump Jr. cry in an upcoming Senate hearing.
Say what you will about the GOP, but they stayed focused on undermining the Obama presidency and attempting to decimate his signature accomplishment, Obamacare. Similarly, Democrats would be well served to continuously bang the drum of a Trump impeachment, and his removal via the 25th Amendment on the grounds he is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”
If the Democrats want any chance of rebuilding, they must fight and eradicate all Republican measures to disrupt and destroy democracy. This includes eliminating gerrymandering of electoral districts, fighting voter suppression efforts on the state and federal level that are meant to target Black and brown voters, and stem the rising tide of GOP-controlled states. Once they control two-thirds of the states, conservatives awash with Koch brothers money will realize their dream of a constitutional convention to push a balanced budget amendment, eliminate federal taxes, limit the role of government, and threaten our freedoms under the Bill of Rights.
Finally, the Democratic Party would be well served to align with the resistance and social justice movements that are working on the ground to bring about change in the lives of everyday people.
Much is at stake, and the Democrats must ask if they are up to the task. If not, they need new blood and better ideas to get the job done. What they are facing is a gunfight, and butter knives won’t do.
Follow David A. Love on Twitter at @davidalove.