I just read in an op/ed by David Leonhardt with the title, “What I’ll Be Looking for Tonight.” It contains some commentary about Warren and Sanders — who face off tonight — fighting for the further left voters. (I agree with Leonhardt’s critique of them both for moving further to the left on certain issues — health care, for example — than is politically wise.)
What I would like to see them competing over is who can be the fighter we need in going up against the atrocity that the Republican Party has become– not just Trump but also Mitch McConnell, the whole Trump Party, the plutocracy, the lying.
THAT is where the real battlefield is in America today- and we need to win on that battlefield before we have much chance of winning on the various issues.
With 2/3 of Democratic voters wanting impeachment, with many feeling frustrated or even despairing at how much Trump has appeared to be succeeding in getting away with presidential conduct that should never be tolerated, I think there’s a political windfall to be gained for that candidate who best expresses that yearning, that anger, that eagerness to see the Democrats start vanquishing the evil force that’s taken over the right.
So if I were advising Elizabeth Warren — which I would love to be able to do — I would tell her: “To win the most Democratic voters, focus less on fishing for ideological voters with a health care plan (that eliminates private insurance altogether, which a lot of Americans don’t favor), and more on demonstrating that you are the fighter that will take on and take down that dark force that’s been laying waste to America.
It can be tied to the issues — what the Republicans do about health care, about minimum wage, about immigration, about climate change is all relevant to the battle against this destructive force — but the battle against that force is clearly where the action is in American politics today:
- The House passes great bills, but McConnell will not even let them surface in the Senate;
- The President is going all out to put himself above the law by hiding his criminality and corruption;
- The Republicans in Congress don’t bat an eye about betraying their oath of office.
This is a crisis in the history of American politics — an utterly lawless President, the likes of which America has never seen; an utterly moral bankrupt major American Party, more thoroughly so than any major Party in our history.
That’s where the energy is. That’s at the heart of virtually all our political narratives– from Border Wall, to “Go back where you came from” to leaving American democracy open to attack from a hostile power (and a proposed Director of National Intelligence who represents a betrayal of American national interest), to a tax cut to enrich the wealthiest.
Finding the way to engage that energy is the route to political power for the Democratic Party.
And for the candidates, being adept at harnessing that energy in the Democratic base — by demonstrating the will and ability to strike effectively in the battle — can be the route to the Democratic nomination for President.