Bravo to Nancy Pelosi for taking impeachment off the table for now. She is a strategic thinker who understands the importance of timing, mass moods, and what it will take to defeat Trump. She’s no small circle thinker nor someone who throws Trump and gang softballs to hit out of the ballpark. Her aim is to win the war, and not just a battle here and there. The new freshman class wouldn’t do themselves any political harm if they observed how she carries herself in what is a very turbulent time.
We should not assist Trump in his effort to turn next year’s election into a referendum on socialism. To do so is a fool’s errand. Thumping Trump and robust reforms — health care, climate, voting rights, jobs and higher wages, immigration, gun violence, and much more — should frame the agenda and constitute the main talking points now and next year. That doesn’t mean pushing the mute button on socialism, but it does mean that it shouldn’t command center stage.
Today’s Democratic Party will be a little fractious, but I don’t worry much about that. It’s inevitable, especially with the recent influx of new members who come from diverse backgrounds, experiences, and political traditions. And in most instances it is a positive thing, especially when Democratic legislators and the larger coalition resisting Trump keep in mind that the main — the strategic — task facing them is to thump Trump next year. From my experience in a much smaller pond, keeping a lid on things may succeed for a while, but will come back to bit you in the longer run.
Oscar Wilde once wrote, “The truth is rarely pure and never simple.” Didn’t always embrace this notion, but do now. And, actually, have for a while. I’m much more suspicious of theories and practical actions that rest only on abstractions, generalities, and timeless assertions.
Democratic candidates in the presidential primary should make clear that there is no longer any ground for bipartisanship in Washington. The grounds for such a policy disappeared when the Republican Party was taken over by right wing extremists with a big assist from their corporate and billionaire backers years ago. In their understanding of political governance, there is no room for compromise. Win at any cost and take no prisoners are their guiding strategy when in power. Or, in the event that they find themselves in the minority, obstruct the legislative process, make government dysfunctional, and blame the other side for the dysfunction and obstruction. What is more, don’t give your enemy on the Democratic side of the aisle or in the White House even the semblance of a victory.
What is the takeaway from this for Democratic aspirants for the presidency? Talk straight to the people. Don’t create illusions about some non-existent ground for bi[partisan solutions to today’s social problems. Make the case for an election outcome that not only lands you in the White House, but secures Democratic control of Congress by a wide majority as well. It also doesn’t hurt to remind voters that President’s Roosevelt and Johnson enjoyed such congressional majorities and were thus able to forcefully address the problems and crises of their time.