On the day after the election, things seemed as if they could either way. Donald Trump could have acted like a president-elect. He didn’t, of course. Coupled with behavior such as flouting ethics rules were deficient cabinet choices and the increasingly clear understanding that the election was not conducted fairly. If the goal is bipartisanship, the period between the election and tomorrow’s faux inauguration has been disastrous.
The question becomes simple: How should Democrats – elected or not – think about the government and consequently conduct themselves? The good news is that the signs are that the elected Democrats are going to react ferociously.
The Washington Post sums up about where we stand in a story about the back and forth between John Lewis and Trump:
The incident has left Democrats and Republicans bracing themselves for yet another showdown between the president and his political opponents — one that threatens to usher in a new era of the kind of crippling hyper-partisanship that often characterized the eight years of the Obama administration.
That’s correct: Things will melt down. It also is wrong in tacitly creating a false equivalency between the two administrations. Perhaps at some point the media will get it.
The interregnum is over and it is time to decide how to think about, and deal with, a usurper. New Yorker columnist Adam Gropnik, in a very good and very depressing post, suggested that everyone has to make distinctions between policies with which he or she disagrees (“elections have consequences,” after all) and those that are outside the bounds of what happens in America. Destroying ACA is stupid and inhumane but something that can happen in our system. Creating a registry of Muslims is not. Wrote Gropnik:
So we need to stiffen our spines and broaden our embrace, grasp tightly but reach out far. The conservatives who see Trump for what he is and are shocked by it—and there are many, though not as many as there should be—should be welcomed. We can postpone arguing about the true meaning of the Second Amendment while we band together to fight for the Constitution that precedes it.
And, since elections indeed do have consequences, cheating in elections has consequences as well.
The overriding goal of The Political Bridge is not to discuss Trump. Enough great sites already do that. It is to promote understanding between Democrats who voted for Hillary Clinton and those who didn’t. It may be that the understanding must be on two levels. On one — the initial one I had in mind when I started the site — is for Democrats from rural, non-coastal red and purple areas and those from the deep blue coasts to look to the future as a more unified party.
The downward spiral of the past couple of months suggests a second goal: To urge people — HRC Democrat, Bernie Democrat, independents, third party voters and sane Republican — actively and legally resist.
The fact that Trump was not honestly elected and doesn’t care is reason enough to resist. It also suggests—as the rest of his career does—that he will do so again when it suits his needs.
It is only possible to defy political gravity for so long. It all will come crashing down. Trump is a man for no season. His approval ratings are already those of an unpopular third year president. A good number of Republicans will abandon him, especially once the health care drama plays out and they must begin fighting for their own political lives.
Trump and his department heads will do a tremendous amount of damage. That’s the reality. Democrats need to rally behind Chuck Schumer and stop what they can. And, more than anything, they need to prepare for 2018 and 2020 by making the GOP own the mess they created.