The following blog post is adapted from an article that I wrote last week that was published in the October newsletter of the Women’s National Democratic Club, of which I am, I believe, the only male member.
The mid term election coming up in just over three weeks is the most important mid term election in my lifetime. Democrats have one shot at impeding a tyrannical president, who is leading our country into dangerous and unchartered waters.
The simple message that resonates with almost anyone uneasy with the direction Trump is taking our country in is this: we need to put the brakes on. The polls all show Trump’s declining popularity except from his stalwart base. A large percentage of Americans are unhappy with what is happening with regard to addressing climate change, the way immigrants are being treated, disparities in income, tax breaks for the rich and super rich, tariff wars, gun violence, access to affordable health care, police brutality against people of color, unaffordable college education, how women are treated, the Russian interference in our elections, and our weakening role as a leader of nations. The list could go on. With regard to basic human values, the rule of law and what America is supposed to be all about, this President is an unmitigated disaster. The recent ordeal of the Kavanaugh confirmation process only amplifies the toxic influence of Trump and the failure of the Republican-controlled Congress to exercise their Constitutional responsibility to provide a check on an out-of-control executive branch.
Democrats are very aware of the Trump disaster. You can’t pick up a newspaper or turn on the TV without being reminded of the fragile and frightening state we are in. But it is not just Democrats. It is also a high percentage of Independents—whose ranks are growing as disillusioned Republicans jump ship, and some traditional Republicans, especially well educated, suburban women, who for now are staying in the party but if pushed far enough by the anger toward women, could vote for a Democrat in November.
But make no mistake: It is no longer the Republican Party. It is the Party of Trump. And there is not a single “former Republican,” elected official in Congress who has had the courage to consistently take on the president for his unconscionable behavior. With the Party of Trump in the majority in both Houses of Congress—and now the Supreme Court– Trump is getting pretty much what he wants. There is no way to stop him unless Democrats regain control of at least one branch of government.
Yes, protecting people from the Republican agenda of scrapping the pre-existing conditions prohibition under the ACA is important, as are the traditional issues that we Democrats believe in like civil rights, fairness, and a strong social safety net. But those issues are not going to make the difference. With Trump there are no issues. It is all about him, and this mid term election is all about Trump.
It looks like Democrats have a good chance of taking back control of the House, not so much the Senate, but even that is possible. What we need is a Blue Wave and a big one. This will send a message that America has not sold out on its traditional values and that there is no place for a narcissistic demagogue leading our country. It will show that America still has the resilience to make midcourse corrections.
Pundits and talking heads tell us that the Kavanaugh confirmation has re-energized the Trump base and that they will turn out en mass, possibly delivering a Red Wave, assuring the ‘total victory” that Trump rants about at rallies. If this happens, it is doomsday—not just for Democrats but for everyone who is worried about the divisiveness in our country and where Trump is taking us.
Whether Democrats succeed or not will depend on two things: getting a large share of the Independent and moderate Republican vote and voter turnout by Democrats. Trump’s base will turn out. We know that. The record for Democrats turning out in mid term elections is poor, bordering on terrible. If we are going to change the direction of the country, this year has to be different.
So Democrats: keep your eye on the ball. Though his name is not on the ballot, the 2018 mid term election is about Trump and only about Trump. Checks and balances must return. The stakes have never been higher.