There are a few pieces out early this week that make the point that Democrats should start protecting the will of the people by acting like a true opposition party. They’re right, and it’s now up to us to make it to our Democratic representatives. Today, I’m calling my Democratic reps and telling them something very simple: they should make it clear that they refuse to work with Trump on anything until he conforms to three basic norms:
Denouncing hate speech at every turn.
Divesting his business assets to guard against corruption.
Stopping attacks on free speech and the press.
Here’s a new wrinkle: I am telling my reps that if they compromise with Trump despite his continued violations, I will hold them accountable and consider supporting challengers in their next primary. Why? Because our representatives need to know we’re serious this time.
Here’s the larger argument:
First and foremost, Trump and the GOP do not represent the will of the people. Write that down. Stick it on your fridge. Remember it. Democrats won more votes in the Presidency, Senate, and likely the House than Republicans did. Democrats, not Republicans, are the majority party in this country. Our system, for reasons not worth getting into now (but worth talking about later), handed more political power to Republicans. But power is not a mandate. Democrats have absolutely no responsibility to work with Republicans. If anything, Republicans have a responsibility to moderate to represent the will of the plurality/majority of Americans who voted (yes, okay, you can can stop laughing now).
Second, Trump and his enablers are already abusing their newfound political power to violate basic Presidential norms. The list is long, but the areas I choose to focus on are: enabling and refusing to condemn hate speech by appointing Bannon and Sessions and not disavowing hateful attacks done in Trump’s name, profiteering from political power by refusing to divest business assets, and chilling free speech by attacking the media, protesters and, yes, the cast of Hamilton.
Not only is this alarming, dangerous and unprecedented (#notnormal), but again, it is against the will of the people. Over 1.5 million (and counting) more Americans voted for Clinton, who largely campaigned against Trump’s flouting of political norms.
Democrats don’t have a lot of power right now, but they do have one tool: the filibuster for legislation in the Senate. They should use it to teach Trump how to be a President for all of us. It’s very simple: no compromising on anything — infrastructure, Obamacare fixes, Supreme Court nominees — until Trump disavows hate (Bannon firing would be best symbol of this), divests his business assets, and stops attacking protesters and the press.
Then, and only then, can we even begin to talk about compromise.
Exported from Medium on October 22, 2020.