Bret Stephens wrote an op-ed piece in the New York Times that must have been gut wrenching for him. The essay is titled, “The Rules For Beating Donald Trump.” Stephens explains why several tactics by Democrats to bring down Trump are actually hurting their party.
Considering that the op-ed is written by one of many people at the Times who despise Trump, Democrats should take heed. Note: this blog has repeatedly indicated that Democrats have done next to nothing to convince voters to support them, other than to denigrate every word and action of the president. Do they have anything constructive to offer about the direction of the country? If so, why don’t they tell us what they are and why the country would benefit from their leadership?
Back to Stephens’ Rules:
Rule No. 1: “Don’t argue with sunshine.” The translation of this is Democrats should not try to convince the electorate that positive things happening under Trump are actually bad. Tax reform comes to mind. In 2018 Americans have more money after paying taxes, no doubt about it. This in part has spurred the economy to a growth rate of more than 4% for the last quarter. Every economic and ethnic group is benefiting (who says trickle down economics is a myth). To criticize Trump because the higher resulting growth rate may be “temporary” “untrue” or “not a result of Trump’s efforts” is a losing political ploy.
Rule No 2: “Stop predicting imminent disasters.” Here, Stephens makes an excellent point. He says, in essence, that voters don’t want to hear that the world is ending under Republican rule even as things are improving. They want to be optimistic about their future. And many voters are beginning to think that Democrats want something horrible to happen to America so that Trump’s chances of winning in 2020 would decrease.
Rule No. 3: “Stop obsessing about 2016.” Amen to this. All the nickel and dime bantering about the last election is poisoning Washington and not helpful to Democrats, in particular. Trump won the electoral vote. Hillary was a disaster. The country wanted a change. Trump is keeping his campaign promises.
It’s almost two years since the 2016 election and Mueller’s band of Trump-haters have done nothing other than to indict several inconsequential political hacks on charges unrelated to Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia. Continuing the investigation is not helping the Democrat’s cause. The fact is Trump was not in a position to influence the election and did not have the political savvy or experience to do it in any case. How can Trump be blamed for, or implicated in, Russian tampering, which is not in doubt?
Rule No. 4: “Ignore Trump Tweets.” Democrats and the press are obsessed by the president’s moronic tweeting habit. Having said this, the tweets enable him to set a new agenda each day. They allow him to change the debate in Washington during every news cycle. It’s impossible for the president to create policy in a short communication, but he can get people talking about whatever is on his mind.
As a corollary to Rule No. 4, “Ignore social media screams along with Trump haters, too.”
Rule No. 5: “Beware of the poisoned chalice.” No matter what anyone says to the contrary, the 2018 mid-term elections are not the most important in history. Past presidents have rallied from a turn over of power in Congress. It’s unclear how the electorate is going to respond to the candidates and to current events in November in any case.
Rule No. 6: “People want leaders. Not ideologues.” Expansive conversations about the evils of society do nothing to change them. Every new law to fix a problem in our society needs to be formulated, debated and passed by Congress. Ideals and fancy oratory are not the end all to political change. Our leaders must divert from ideology to practical solutions to improve our country.
Thank you Mr. Stephens. I generally don’t agree with anything you say, but I believe you analyzed the issues of Democrats perfectly in your essay. Perhaps over the next two years, you will be able to convince liberals that practical suggestions, comity and cooperation are more valuable than political criticism, blathering and whining.