by Arlington County Democratic Committee Chair Kip Malinosky, from this month’s newsletter (“The Voice”)
Democrats must be an effective, aggressive opposition party to President-elect Trump. When President Obama was elected eight years ago with nearly 10 million more votes than Senator McCain, in the face of the worst economic crisis in 80 years, Republicans settled on a strategy of total congressional opposition to his agenda. When President Bush was elected 16 years ago, during a time of peace and prosperity, while losing the popular vote by 500,000 votes, dozens of Democratic legislators voted for Bush’s tax cuts and the war in Iraq. Now thata Presidentelect Trump will take office while losing the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes, what will Democrats do?
Resist, organize, and try to win every elected office we can through 2020. It’s clear in politics that playing nice is dangerously naive. People mostly view politicsthrough the prism of the presidency: if the president is popular, his party performs well—and, if he is unpopular, his party performs poorly. We should not hurt people through legislative resistance; therefore, the Republican tactic of threatening a breach of the debt ceiling should be off the table. On everything else, however—nominees and legislation—Democrats should place holds, filibuster, and vote no.
Let’s make no mistake: Trump’s agenda is frightening—repealing Obamacare, beginning a new nuclear arms race; mass deportations; a Muslim travel-ban; stripping away every regulation preventing runaway climate change; and, of course, massive tax cuts for billionaires.There’s no giving a president with these plans a chance, especially one who got a smaller percentage of the popular vote than Mitt Romney.
Even on an issue where there would seem to be symmetry between the parties, like infrastructure spending, what Trump is proposing would harm more than help the country. As Bernie Sanders put it, “Trump’s plan to repair our infrastructure is a scam that gives massive tax breaks to large companies and billionaires.” Voting no is the principled and politically advantageous position to take.
In 2004, when President Bush was reelected, he bragged about earning political capital and intending to spend it on privatizing Social Security. Congress stopped him. Democrats in the minority were united in resistance, Republicans in the majority were divided and Democrats won. Bush’s second term agenda unraveled shortly thereafter. Once again the specter of privatization of Social Security and now Medicare along with repeal of the Affordable Care Act haunts the land. Democrats need to be united in resistance to these privatization schemes.
Ironically, the Tea Party—formed in large measure to fight the Affordable Care Act—may show the best tactics to save Social Security, Medicare and the Affordable Care Act itself.
Several Democratic congressionalstaffers created a guide (view it at: www.indivisibleguide.com) to show how the Tea Party was stunningly effective at grinding the gears of Congress to a halt. In short, we need to focus on members of Congress, partner with other progressive groups, and advocate resistance to Trump’s agenda through attending town halls, district office meetings/sit-ins, and coordinated calls.
We need our entire Virginia Congressional Delegation to know the breadth and depth of resistance to Trump. Arlington Democrats have already initiated this process by approving a resolution against the repeal of theAffordable CareAct and Medicare.And you can call Senator Warner’s office at 703- 442-0670 and Senator Kaine’s office at 703- 361-3192 and tell them to join usin resistance.
Finally, we need to win elections. In Virginia we have three special elections to the General Assembly on January 10. If we win both state senate races, we can flip control of the Virginia Senate. Please join usfor one our Arlington Democratic phone banksinto these critical races. Full details are posted at www.arlingtondemocrats.org
For the New Year, let’s resolve to resist and to win.