Yes, Donald Trump is an egoistic, incompetent, careless, and ignorant leader. Yes, his words and actions continue to upend the very fabric of our democracy and threaten our system of government. And yes, his presidency has already stained the United States’ reputation across the world, while at the same time is slowly unraveling the security arrangement that has kept us out of a major military conflict since the end of the Second World War. But no, I and the rest of the country, do not need you, the Democratic Party, to explain how awful Donald Trump is for America; we need you to govern.
And by govern, I do not mean holding the Senate floor for a night in order to stage a painfully obvious publicity stunt. I do not mean going on the Sunday morning talk shows to bemoan your Republican colleagues. I mean sitting down and writing a bill to fix Obamacare. I mean taking that bill to the floor, and when Mitch McConnell refuses to schedule a hearing on the bill, defend it. I mean talking about that bill every second of every day, until the Republicans are forced to engage in a policy debate. I mean scheduling town halls and waging an actual campaign for a progressive agenda and combat this country’s problems head on.
If the Democratic Party does not want to wake up to another disastrous November 9th, it needs to do something drastic, and fast.
Democrats have said since the election that there will not be “business as usual.” Yet the strategy of being the minority party is the same as it was under Bush and the same as the Republican’s under Obama: Block everything. As a progressive, I expect and hope that the Democrats in Congress can block or mitigate large pieces of the Republican policy agenda. Yet, we need more than that. With a demagogue in the White House, resistance is not going to cut it. The American people want solutions, tangible solutions and the Democrats need to produce them.
Even those that recognize there is something wrong seem to blame individuals because they fail to see that the rules of politics of the last century are obsolete. Fueled by the loss of Jon Ossoff in Georgia, many Democrats are convinced that the losses can be attributed to individual candidates. ‘Hillary wasn’t relatable enough’ or “Ossoff was too moderate.” It seems like the politicians, even on my own side of the aisle just don’t get it. The future of the Democratic Party is not about how liberal or moderate its candidates are, it is about building and pursuing a real agenda - an agenda that the American people can support, that the Democratic base can push, and that Democratic candidates can run on. Right now we don’t have an agenda for the base to push, and we continue to lose elections because we focus entirely on the opposition party and specifically, Donald Trump.
Even today, the only Democrat who was able to articulate a progressive and hopeful vision for Healthcare after the release of the Healthcare plan in the Senate, is a man who will never run for office again: former President Obama. His absence has clearly left a giant void in the Democratic Party, and it is unclear what the party even stands for any more without using ‘Trump’ to describe it. Branding the party as anti-Trump only empowers Trump because it allows him to drive the debate. As scandals and policy pushes come up, Democrats are only being reactive instead of proactive.
My progressive friends and colleagues continue to assure me that 2018 will send a message and check Donald Trump. These hopes are unfounded. The Democratic Party faces the steepest uphill battle it has faced in decades and the party is far more likely to lose seats than pick them up.
If the Democratic Party does not want to wake up to another disastrous November 9th, it needs to do something drastic, and fast. The current strategy of resistance is uninspiring and is simply not working. In fighting this healthcare bill, the American people need to hear more about how Democrats will fix their problems, and less about how horrible the Republican bill is. A good start would be to acknowledge Obamacare’s flaws and write a bill that will fix its problems. Only then can we have a productive and revealing debate in this country about healthcare – a debate that I fully believe progressives can win.