Since Tuesday’s election disaster, I’ve heard some mealy-mouthed talk from certain Democrats, not so much about being willing to work with President-elect Trump if there happen to be areas in common, as in not emphasizing: a) that Democrats will not forget – or let anyone else forget – the despicable way in which Trump was elected; and b) that Democrats will absolutely/strongly oppose any of Trump’s outrageous policy plans, whether mass deportations or discrimination against Muslim Americans or massive tax cuts for the top 0.1% or…we could go on all day.
Fortunately, we have steel-spined Democrats in Congress like Rep. Gerry Connolly, who earlier today on the Kojo Nnamdi Show (listen to the audio below) really nailed how to approach this (horrible) situation. Key points made by Rep. Connolly include the following (bolded added by me for emphasis):
1. “I’m not saying mindlessly oppose this president. But I think we do a disservice to our country in normalizing how Donald Trump became president. He fearmongered, he demagogued, he used racism, he used bigotry. And we can’t forget that [or] let a whitewash of that now that he won the election, well let’s have an era of good feelings. We need to remind people of who he is; a tiger does not change his stripes.”
2. “And we also need to oppose him if he actually tries to implement the agenda he ran on in the campaign.”
3. “Count me skeptical” in Trump’s ability to deliver Republican support for Metro.
4. “Most of [Trump’s] agenda has to be opposed. We’re not going to support a ban on Muslims. We’re not going to support the dismantlement of NATO. We’re not going to support waterboarding and worse as an American policy in terms of how we treat prisoners of war. We’re not going to support bigotry against immigration. We’re not going to support mass deportation…”
5. “We’re in the minority, and we have to plant our flag very clearly. Because more people voted for Hillary Clinton than voted for Donald Trump. And we’re not a party that’s disappearing or falling apart; there’s actually a fair amount of cohesion. We have to recover, we have to regroup, we have to decide what it means to be the loyal opposition under these circumstances. But it doesn’t mean normalizing how he got elected or kind of conflating agendas such that there’s not really much difference between us and we’re going to give him a fair chance.”
6. Maybe Trump will have a “complete conversion, a change of view,” but “I wouldn’t count on it, the man is 70, and as I said, a tiger doesn’t change its stripes. So I think we’re in for…choppy waters. We have to make sure we’re ready for that. And we don’t get ready for that by watering down our own values or our own agenda. We fight for what we believe in…If we’re not up to our role as loyal opposition, then he’s going to run roughshod over us and the agenda will be much harsher, with sharper edges, and do more damage than it needs to.”