Tom Friedman’s op-ed in The New York Times on November 5 puts its finger on what has been so bothersome to me since the election results started to roll in.
The closeness of the result and the fact that a winner had yet to be declared as I wrote this on November 5 says a few things about the state of the nation in 2020.
Donald Trump is the future of the Republican Party, at least for the next few years whether he won or not. All of the successful GOP senators and most new GOP members of the House on Tuesday grabbed a hold of Trump’s coattails and never let go. The GOP has moved on from its identity in the time of Reagan, Bush 41, Bush 43 and John McCain. It is the party of the white people bolstering its vote with lies about its opponents and just about everything else for that matter. Mr. Trump wields power like a club and woe be the person that gets in his way or stands up to him with sage advice (e.g., Tony Fauci). Friedman quotes Roch Lowry of the National Review:
“Trump is, for better or worse, the foremost symbol of resistance to the overwhelming woke cultural tide that has swept along the media, academia, corporate America, Hollywood, professional sports, the big foundations, and almost everything in between. To put it in blunt terms, for many people he’s the only middle finger available—to brandish against the people who’ve assumed they have the whip hand in American culture.”
I agree with this and thus believe that while the GOP has managed to rebrand itself, the Democrats have not. The Dems are rolling out the same old faces (Biden, Schumer, Pelosi) with the same old policies (government handouts) and expecting to grab a majority of voters. Surprise! That didn’t work, even if Biden won. It looks like the GOP will retain the Senate and made gains in the House. While Trump himself may be a loser, his party and its Trumpist policies were not. Red America loves Donald Trump and even though traditional red America is shrinking relative to blue America, it’s still a lot of people.
The Democrats need to redefine themselves away from the Bernie Sanders wing of free everything for everyone and get back to traditional Democratic values of equal opportunity (not guaranteed equal results), championing of the middle class, and disaligning with wokeness because wokeness, while important, cannot be the policy driver of an American political party that hopes to win.
In an earlier blog, I supported the Black Lives Matter movement because it represents equality for a significant number of Americans. After much soul searching, I cannot support reparations for slavery nor am I willing to attribute everything that is wrong in America to the sin of slavery which plagued many western nations, not just ours. The 1619 Project served a valuable service in bringing to light dark corners of our history that PARTIALLY explain problems of today, but in the end the role of a political party is not to right all the wrongs that have ever happened in history. Parties must look forward and have a plan for tomorrow not be mired in the past. Should that plan incorporate the needs of all Americans regardless of race or sex or gender identity? You bet. Should our differences be the driver of our politics. NO! Our common dreams must be.
Trumpism has a dream of a white America of harmony that never really existed. Democrats need to articulate a dream for the future and it cannot be coming from a 77-year old man.
Biden winning gets Trump out. Step one. Let’s see the vision for the future, the plan to get there and the rewards on the other side. And who will articulate the vision in the Democratic Party?