Some years hence, historians will wonder how the American people could possibly have elected such an incompetent boob as Trump to the presidency. The plainest surface reason is that they simply could not stomach the arrogance and pretensions of Hillary Clinton. There is, however, a deeper reason, one that is far more difficult to parse. They voted for Trump because he told them what they wanted to hear — better health care, lower taxes, better jobs, even better schools. Of course he lied about all of that, as those who voted for him are quickly coming to realize. The point is that he said it, and that the Democrats did not. The other thing historians will long ponder is how such an intelligent human being as Hillary Clinton could be so woefully inept in sending, or rather not sending, a message to the voters.
Now Republicans are handing the Democrats a second chance by offering an awful health plan and an even more awful tax plan while threatening to gut entitlement programs and ruin American efforts at advancing global trade and reducing global warming. Yet Democrats are threatening to muff the chance by spending all their time howling at Trump’s blunderings and generally replacing the Republicans as the party of no. Where, for instance, is the Democrat plan to make plainly needed corrections and improvements to Obamacare? Where is the Democrat plan to repair our tax laws, to strike down loopholes, simplify and rebalance the progressive nature of the income tax, reduce the national debt, etc.? Answer: nowhere.
The American voter — north, south, east and west — is waiting to hear that government is really for all the people and not just for the rich and powerful. In my humble opinion, the Democratic party has to shout from the rooftops the positive message of what it has always stood for. First and foremost, it stands for the rights of the average Joe and Josephine. It stands for the right to a living wage, and it stands for the right of that average worker to organize and collectively bargain for that wage. It stands for the right to competent health care at an affordable price.
More generally, the Democratic party stands for the right to vote, and the right to have that vote count just as much as any other vote. It therefore stoutly opposes gerrymandering and voter suppression laws. It stands for equal rights for all human beings, and therefore it condemns Trump’s casual endorsement of sexual predation, and it condemns the silence of Republicans on sexual predators like Roy Moore. It stands for safety in the workplace, and so opposes the loosening of workplace safety rules. It stands for equal education opportunities for all, and so opposes the tearing apart of the public school system by Betsy DeVos. It stands for protection against financial vultures, and so opposes the free rein being given to Wall Street by the secretary of the treasury. It stands for a preservation of the American atmosphere and landscape, and so violently opposes the selling of public lands and the refusal of Republicans to stop Trump’s destruction of any steps to save the environment.
In a word, the Democratic party stands, or ought to stand, for stewardship. This is neither our economy nor our environment. It is a world we hold in trust for our fellow human beings and for those who will come after us. It is, unquestionably, a changing world, but our obligation is to manage those changes for the benefit of all the people and for all the coming generations.
The Democratic party. Wait a second, that’s me. And you. If you want this, say it loud and clear.