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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Don't help him (at least until we can figure out what the hell is going on)

by digby

This piece by Michael Tomasky about Democrats needing to oppose Trump and listen to their base features a helpful reminder of some similar situations in the not so distant past:

In recent history, the Democrats were most notably in the oppositional spotlight twice: in the early 1980s, when Ronald Reagan was president, and then in 2001-2002 when it was George W. Bush. Both times, the Democrats were overly accommodating. The 1980s are ancient history now in terms of polarization, but just for the record, I’ll note for you that 63 Democratic House members and 30 senators backed Ronald Reagan’s first budget. That represented nearly a third of all Democrats then in Congress.

When Dubya became president, things were more polarized, but even so, three Democratic senators and 13 House members backed Bush’s first tax cut. Those numbers are small, but they’re a lot more than the zero votes Republicans routinely gave Barack Obama (he did get three GOP senators on the stimulus package, but no House members). And many more Democrats backed the No Child Left Behind act, another early Bush signature bill.

The Democrats who cast these yea votes did so in part for their own local reasons, but there has also long been a fear on the Democratic side of opposing these Republican presidents’ big initiatives because the Democrats feared they’d work, and then they (the Democrats) would be seen as “anti-growth.” The same logic was at work on the Iraq War vote for many of them, especially the ones with an eye on the White House—if the war was a success and they voted against it, they’d look “weak.”

They were wrong every time. Voting for Republican economic schemes just ended up muddying their own message and lending bipartisan cover to a massive wealth transfer to those at the top. And voting for Bush’s war, well…

In casting these votes, Democrats went against the passion of their grassroots. This has been a key difference between the two parties for a good 20 years now: The Republicans relentlessly pander to their base, while the Democrats keep theirs at arm’s length (think of the way Pelosi immediately slammed the door shut on impeachment talk when she became Speaker in 2007).
He's right about resistance. I'm not so sure that "the grassroots" agree on what that means, unfortunately.It sounds like Bernie Sanders is the new leader of the grassroots so I'm sure it will be more clear in the future. I'll leave that to others going forward.

From my perspective it's too early to know how to react to this freakish psychopath beyond trying to remain as clear in my mind as possible about what he is and what he is doing. It's very easy to lose focus in this weird environment, everything is surreal and bizarre and it's taking everything I have to maintain a sense of reality. So, I'll document the atrocities as best I can and try to analyze what's happening to the best of my ability in this chaotic environment.

But yes, one of the biggest dangers is that Democrats will see it's in their interests to help Trump. I hope they don't do it. Giving this man bipartisan cover is a mistake. I know it in my bones.