What Are Democrats Thinking?
Thursday, September 5th, 2019 @ 8:30AM
“I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat.” – Will Rogers
I recall laughing at this quote by Will Rogers the first time I read it. Unfortunately, over the years it has become more salient as I witnessed Democrats squandering opportunity after opportunity. There never should have been a President Trump. Even he was convinced that he could not win. Yet, Democrats managed to turn a sure victory into another agonizing defeat. True, James Comey and the Russians played significant roles in getting Trump elected but if we had just spent more time in Wisconsin and Michigan. I am still upset with Bernie Sanders whose attacks on Hillary Clinton helped to drive her popularity down. Just 74 percent of Sanders voters pulled the lever for the Democratic candidate while 12 percent voted for Trump. Of course, Sanders does not belong to the Democratic Party.
Democrats can lament our failure to get the needed numbers of African Americans and Latinos to the polls. But the time for handwringing is over. We are stuck with Brett Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court justice for decades along with more than 125 federal judges appointed by President Trump who are 70 percent white males. God bless Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg for her courage and sacrifice to remain on the Court during Trump’s first term despite her health challenges. The movie RBG salutes the indomitable spirit of this extraordinary woman. But not even she would be expected to endure a second Trump term.
As we approach the 2020 elections, the primary goal is to end the Trump nightmare. But there is another dreadful person whose tenure as Senate Majority Leader needs to be terminated. Mitch McConnell needs to go. “Moscow Mitch,” as he has been dubbed by MSNBC’s Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough for his failure to allow votes on legislation to protect the 2020 elections from subversion by the Russians, also robbed former President Barack Obama of his constitutional right to appoint Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. Democrats need to flip three Senate seats to take control. There are 33 senators up for election in November 2020—23 are Republicans. It will be an uphill climb for Democrats to win control of the Senate. Their best hope is that presidential candidates Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper decide to run in their respective states. Thus far, only Hickenlooper has thrown his hat in the ring. O’Rourke and Bullock say that will not run for the Senate. What are they thinking?
Then there is Stacey Abrams in Georgia who gained national fame and nearly universal name recognition when she nearly overcame enormous odds in her race for governor in Georgia last year. With two U.S. Senate seats up for grabs in Georgia, she says it is not a job she wants to do. Say what? How many of us have taken jobs we did not want to do? I remember scrubbing pots in a diner as a teenager because my family needed the money. I can only surmise that she has an aversion to Washington, DC because she also would not consider being selected as a vice presidential candidate. Go figure. Becoming a United States Senator might be a sacrifice, but it is one that is critically needed. If the Republicans remain in control and McConnell remains majority leader, he will treat the next Democratic President the same as he did Obama. There will be no Green Deal, or Medicare for all, or student loan relief. Things may be less chaotic than they are under Trump, but the country will still languish.
Identity politics aside, the diversity of the Democratic Party should be celebrated. It has been interesting listening to all the Democratic presidential hopefuls lay out their policy ideas during this phase of the campaign. Each must present different ideas to distinguish her or himself from the others. God forbid they agree on everything. However, in order to prevail as a party, Democrats must collectively give the American people a bold vision for the future. They must tell us how they will harness the potential of all Americans to compete in the 21st century. You will not stay ahead of China with tariffs. Democrats must lead with progressive values—American values that will counter hate, fear and envy. Perhaps it’s time social workers get into the national conversation. We know about values. Perhaps we can help change the public discourse.