With Trump as president-elect, Democrats must step up their game

By Nick Riebel || Staff Writer

I think liberals, progressives, and Democrats, can agree that we need better leaders of our party than Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and Hillary Clinton. If you personally or politically like these people, I do not necessarily mean to say that you should not like them. I do have issues with them in terms of policies and personalities, but I take issue in this article with their failed strategies and tactics. And I would have said this even if Hillary Clinton had won.

Let us say that Hillary Clinton has narrowly squeaked out a victory. I suspect that we would continue to go along as if everything was going great (and I do not necessarily exclude myself, I thought the election of 2012 proved that Democrats were largely on the right track in terms of how to win elections in this country). I believe that if Clinton had won, we would have either narrowly won or lost the Senate (more likely won it than lost it, given the total absence of split-ticket voting in Senate races this year: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/11/17/is-split-ticket-voting-officially-dead/?utm_term=.18ccb04c8fe6 ). We would likely not have re-taken the House, although we would have taken more seats than we did in reality (Darrell Issa would most likely have been defeated, for example, and he definitely does not deserve to serve in Congress. The party seems to have a habit of not doing a good job in recruiting for winnable races, or making sure races that are potentially winnable are won; they do much better in fundraising from Wall Street and the wealthy for themselves in their safe races, rather than helping progressive challengers to defeat vulnerable, conservative/Tea Party Republicans. Yet I digress). We would have still had a divided government, growing partisanship, and mounting voter frustration. We would have gotten little accomplished, and I will boldly go against conventional wisdom and argue this: even if Hillary Clinton had won the presidency, the Senate would have blocked or filibustered her Supreme Court nominee(s). We already had senators stating that they would do so, even if she won:https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/10/19/john-mccain-is-right-senate-republicans-could-block-a-clinton-supreme-court-indefinitely/?utm_term=.4cb93db11066. (I will say here that Republicans blocking Merrick Garland was a nasty, cynical move, which is paying massive political dividends: perhaps Democrats can learn something from this, especially considering Hillary Clinton has won the popular vote somewhere between two to three million. But I digress again.)

I have argued with Democrats, of a largely establishment bent, that if we were to take similar measures as Republicans have done throughout President Obama’s time in office, we would be just as bad as them. And perhaps their argument is valid. However, I think it’s also dumb: say what you will about the Republicans, but what they’ve been doing has been working. If we truly want to govern, maybe we shouldn’t be so nice to them as we have been. Remember how hard they attacked President Obama, just for doing reasonable, center to center-right policies? We need to hammer Trump and his Republican allies when they pass their ultra-conservative and “alt-right” agenda. What I predicted would happen under a Trump presidency is already happening Trump is assuming full control over everything. I do not say this with relish, or happiness at being proven right about our future president again. Congress and the Supreme Court, the military and the media, are obviously not going to stand up to him. Foreign nations are not going to stand up to him (worse, they may just try to manipulate him, as he is gullible and not particularly intelligent).

Trump will be able to do whatever he wants. He has all the power in the world, including nuclear weapons, to do whatever he wants. I hope he does not launch any horrible wars, or unleash weapons of mass destruction. I fear he will. Democrats cannot be the “go-along-to-get-along” party. We have to stop our enemies, Trump and his conservative, Tea Party, Republican cult, once and for all. Compromise and negotiation would be possible if the other side was reasonable: President Trump is proof that the GOP and almost half the nation has lost their minds, and they need to be removed from power. I hope the Democrats decide to stop trying to be “elder statesmen and women” and actually fight as if the future of our nation and planet depend on it. Because it does.

Senior Nick Riebel is a staff writer. His email is nriebel@fandm.edu.

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