Rank-and-file Democrats and party operatives are in full freakout about everything. The big-tent party that looks like multicultural America has a top-tier presidential field that is all white. The Iowa caucuses were a disaster. The anemic turnout there has folks worrying about a looming turnout problem. And folks are still fretting over who would be the best nominee to go up against impeached President Trump. A man who was acquitted by a compliant, Republican-controlled Senate saw the highest approval ratings of his presidency and boffo jobs numbers — all in the same week.
Yet, in that same week, Trump continued to pour lighter fluid on the inferno of outrage among Americans of conscience. He used his remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast to question the faith of political opponents. His post-acquittal victory lap in the East Room was a vulgar display of vindictiveness. Then Trump exacted revenge by firing Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union. Both men testified in the impeachment hearings against the president. And the president spent the weekend doing what he usually does any day of the week: bullying his adversaries.
Trump shows us every day that he is unfit to be in the White House and to lead an enterprise as important as the United States. Any of the leading candidates would be a better steward of the nation’s interests at home and abroad. But far too many Democrats are wallowing in their fears or are insisting on purity. Neither is an option, folks. Trump must not win a second term. Thankfully, Democrats are beginning to embrace that view.
More and more, I’m hearing from people who say they don’t care where the candidates are on the issues. That’s partly because they know that the differences between the aspirants are about as wide as a strand of hair and are infinitely better than whatever Trump proposes or actually does. Also, they have been driven to this point because they view the president as an existential threat.
Trump-instigated tariff fights are hitting family farms. Legal and undocumented immigrant families are being targeted by his immigration policies. Food stamps for the poor are under threat. Health-care protections are under threat. So is a woman’s right to choose an abortion. Meanwhile, over the weekend, masked white nationalists walked the streets of Washington chanting “Reclaim America!” with nary a condemnation from the White House.
One of the concerns about the Democratic field is that it is unclear who will fire up the base enough to beat Trump. Again, whoever the Democratic nominee is will be that person. But MSNBC anchor Joy Reid and others at the table weren’t buying my argument. At the end of the segment, Reid said, “Jonathan Capehart has come out for a congealed, cold cheese sandwich that’s been left outside for a full day.”
I don’t agree with Reid’s characterization of the Democratic field, and I don’t think that the eventual nominee won’t fire up the base and others who want Trump out. But if you do, heed my advice: Put that sandwich in the microwave, and put some hot sauce on it. When you are starving and facing death, you will eat that sandwich! Come November, our nation and democracy might depend on it.
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