Having reluctantly embraced a narcissistic bully who has cast himself as the anti-establishment, politically incorrect champion of angry white men, Republican elders now find themselves in bed with a racist cheater: a man who has not only flung racial slurs at a federal judge but who has just been freshly exposed for cheating hundreds of people over the past four decades. We have long known that Trump University was a massive scam. But that story pales beside what we have just learned about Trump's way of doing business.
Since 2006, according to USA Today, Trump's companies have been cited 24 times for failing to pay overtime or minimum wage. Also, since the 1980s he has been sued more than 3500 times for failing to pay all he owes to contractors, sub-contractors, hourly workers, real estate brokers, and even the lawyers who represented him in these suits. He claims that he has simply penalized them for work that was either late or not up to snuff. But no matter how good or prompt their work actually was, he forced them to settle for being shortchanged, which sometimes meant driving them into bankruptcy. That's your nominee, Republicans!
On the other hand, the worst of times for the Grand Old Party is fast becoming the best of times for Democrats.
After a long and sometimes bitterly contested primary battle with Senator Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton has won the Democratic nomination. Even if you count only pledged delegates (who cannot change their votes), she has won a majority of them--2203. That's a bit less than the 2383 required for nomination, but almost 400 more delegates than Bernie won, and her popular-vote margin of victory over Bernie in all state primaries is now 3,720,351. If Bernie insists that the Democratic convention must heed the voices of the people, how can he plausibly argue that any one of the 577 superdelegates now supporting Hillary should switch to him?
He knows he can't, which is why he has just pledged to "work together" with Hillary Clinton to defeat Donald Trump in the coming election. And right after the nation's final primary election in Washington, DC next Tuesday, he will surely pledge to support Hillary herself.
In doing so, he will take a giant step toward unifying a Democratic party that has up to now been sharply divided between revolutionary Berniphiles and pragmatic Hillaricrats. All along, Hillary has argued that the gap between her and Bernie is nothing compared with the gap between both of them and the Republican party--especially as commandeered by Donald Trump. Now that Bernie has agreed to work with Hillary against Trump, the wounds of division inflicted by their primary battle are already starting to heal.
The best way for Hillary to complete the healing process is to take a giant step of her own: make Senator Elizabeth Warren her running mate.
Oh yes, I know very well the arguments against doing so. Senator Warren is not only an outspoken lefty guaranteed to scare the hell out of Wall Streeters and corporate titans (the very people that Bill Clinton once so effectively courted, and that have lately been lavishly paying Hillary herself for speeches); she's also another woman. If Hillary Clinton has already broken the glass ceiling by winning the Democratic nomination for president, how can she dare to choose anything but a man to run beside her--and pick up the pieces?
Here's my answer to that question.
In January of 1992, when Bill Clinton was running in the New Hampshire primary and Hillary was known only as his wife, I introduced her to a small crowd at Dartmouth College--her first audience there. (Shortly after, I introduced Bill to a much bigger crowd at Dartmouth as "the next president of the United States.") Ever since 1992, Hillary has been running with a man at her side--first Bill, now Barack Obama, who has just warmly endorsed her. But having won the Democratic nomination, having demonstrated that a woman can do so, why can't she choose another woman to run beside her?
Up to now, I confess, I was convinced that she needed a male running mate to keep her centrist credentials intact, that in order to make the medicine of her female candidacy go down, she would have to feed queasy voters a spoonful of male sugar. But last night I had an epiphany. It came while I was watching a TV broadcast of Senator Warren's speech to the annual convention of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy. Watching her explain how Donald Trump's attack on a federal judge exemplifies the "full scale" Republican assault on judicial integrity, I suddenly realized that no one of either sex is better qualified to run beside Hillary this fall--or even as well qualified. How can her sex be a liability? If a woman can be our president, why can't a woman be our vice president? In a TV interview broadcast later last night, after Senator Warren's speech, she was asked by Rachel Maddow if she thought she was ready to be commander-in-chief, which of course all vice presidents must be. "Yes," she answered simply. "I do."
I not only believe her; I also think she'd be a brilliant asset to Hillary's campaign. She is the best possible solution to the biggest problem Hillary now faces: how to propitiate the Berniphiles.
Nothing Hillary might say or do at this point could more effectively prove that she has heard Bernie's message loud and clear, that she is fully committed to fight for the rights of working people and ordinary consumers against the rich and the powerful. I predict, in fact, that Berniphiles would find Hillary's choice of Warren nothing less than thrilling.
And Warren herself is thrilling to hear. Besides her standout record as a champion of ordinary Americans (she helped to found the Consumer Protection Agency), she radiates the one thing that Hillary has never quite managed to generate: charisma. Determined to make both law and economic policy serve the needs of ordinary people, she delivers her points with a passionate intensity that I believe millions will find irresistible. She is not just qualified to be Hillary Clinton's running mate. She is the ideal choice.