By J.D. ALT
So, I will now, once again, court blushing naivete….
In the middle of a contemplative walk—during which, I confess, I was imagining with enthusiasm how the Democrats might extract revenge should they win the House of Representatives in the mid-term elections (hearings and subpoenas relating to the FBI “investigation” of Brett Kavanaugh, subpoenas for Donald Trump’s tax returns, drawing up articles of impeachment, etc.)—I was suddenly struck by the realization of what a terrible mistake it would be to do any of that.
Hard as it might be to bite their collective tongues, what the Democrats ought to do if they take the House this November is to dramatically and forcefully CHANGE THE SUBJECT. Strategically, leading up to the 2020 elections, this would be, by far, the most intelligent and effective course to take. Should the Democrats continue throwing gasoline and flaming matches on the emotional blood-feud which has come to dominate our politics and news cycles, they will be playing directly into the game-plan Donald Trump has imposed on the Republican party—and American politics in general.
Donald Trump doesn’t want anyone to be talking rationally about the real issues and needs the great majority of Americans are actually confronting in their daily lives. He wants the conversation to be a demagoguery shouting match—not about important public policies, but about conspiracies against his administration, his allies, his followers. He doesn’t want people to seek solutions, he wants them to seek enemies. He wants Evangelical Christians to hate pro-choice Americans. He wants American workers to hate Latinos and immigrants. He wants men to hate female sexual assault victims. He wants everyone to hate journalists and reporters.
If the Democrats play into this vindictive narrative after the midterm elections, they could lose a sure-fire opportunity to retake control of the entire federal government in 2020. To say it again: don’t do it! Instead, if they take control of the House of Representatives, Democrats should CHANGE THE SUBJECT. And they should do it in a way that forces the media to change the subject as well.
Here are some thoughts about how that might be done:
If this strategy were employed by a Democrat-led House of Representatives, it would not matter if any bill they debated and passed was ever taken up by a Republican controlled Senate—or signed by Donald Trump. It wouldn’t matter if any of their hearings resulted in meaningful policy proposals. What would matter is, first, the topics of conversation in the American political dialog would change from what Trump-Republicans want to talk about to what progressive-Democrats want to talk about. Second, the seeds of the real issues facing America—and the real possibilities and opportunities for addressing them—would be planted in the thinking processes of American voters.
Third, the referendum “subjects” of the 2020 elections would be established—and it would not be what the Trump-Republicans will want to be campaigning about. The wind might well be taken out of the sails of the hate-campaign juggernaut. Some percentage of the “Trump base” might rediscover they are also middle, or lower-middle-class Americans facing real, practical challenges in their lives—challenges which the Democrats are actually talking about and proposing to fix.
If 2020 can be framed around a powerful and compelling progressive platform—based on a growing awareness of the possibilities of modern fiat-money—it seems likely the Democrats could take the House, the Senate, and the Presidency. Then, under those circumstances, and with that growing awareness, at long last, they could lead the country out of the wasteland of fiscal austerity and global corporate power.
The real “populists,” it might ultimately be discovered to our national and personal benefits, are not the Trump-Base Republicans. The real “populists” are creative progressives, operating in local communities around the country—and supported by the rational understanding and management of a national fiat-monetary system.