I know, I know, I know.
But as much as I share the opinions (and prayers) of my progressive colleagues, the truth is that the odds are overwhelmingly against Republicans using their control of Congress to fix this mess. No matter how dangerous things become. And they are becoming dangerous.
So about all I have left is what I’ve said before: Work my tail off to get progressive Democrats elected to Congress and the Senate next year. Some colleagues assure me that just running against Trump is sufficient to win. But I disagree. I lived through the Nixon years. There was every reason to boot that crook out of office when he ran for a second term. Vietnam. Watergate. And so on. It didn’t work. Closer to home, Fife Symington won reelection while the hammer was coming down on him for his real estate dealings. It didn’t work either.
The unfortunate truth is that without coordinated progressive campaigns we might not be able to unseat him. And I don’t want to trust the job to Republicans.
So what does that mean? For openers, just running against Trump, I believe, won’t be enough. We have to avoid sounding “negative” and appeal to voters need for aspirational campaigns. Some of that will, by necessity, mean fixing the mess that we’ll face in 2018. Of course we’ll need to talk about restoring the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the job of actually protecting the environment. And on, and on, and on.
But the key ingredient, I believe is to follow the advice President Bill Clinton gave to some young Democrats. “When we talk about ourselves, we lose. When we talk about the people, we win.”
So I believe that between now and when the first ballots are mailed out in October 2018, we progressives will have to find ways to to talk with voters, not at them. And that starts with listening, really listening.
Now here’s a warning based on too many years of experience: we’re not going to necessarily like what we’ll hear. That’s ok. We need to start somewhere. And that is the only way we’ll be able to intelligently, aspirationally, talk about them, not us.