Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I drove taxis four nights a week in New York City. Many people in the Big Apple are preoccupied with one thing or another, and it happened sometimes that someone would climb into the cab and just quietly sit back and look out the window. I'd take off in the direction that the cab was aimed, and I'd let them take a moment to fill me in on the destination. If we hit a red light in the meantime, I would take the opportunity to bring up the subject. I'd turn around so that we were looking at each other straight on, me wearing my Kangol Spitfire, my Andy Warhol glasses, and my winning smile, and I'd say, “so, where we goin'?”
That usually drew a laugh, sometimes preceded by a sheepish grin, and then they'd tell me the destination. It was fun. It's a good question, too, and not something that should be casually overlooked. One should almost always know where one is going.
Now that the Democrats have regained a power base in Washington, it might be a good time to ask them where we're going, as far as they're concerned. Maybe we could ask them where they are going. I hope that they have some kind of plan, and I am very anxious to see what it might be. The operative word being, “anxious.”
The Republicans have gotten as far as they have because they formulate a short, simple set of stated goals, then reduce those goals to easily remembered and repeatable slogans, and then they stay on message, shoulder to shoulder. That's a great way to approach politics. If you put ten Republicans in a room for one hour, they will come out in smiling agreement with carefully coordinated statements for the press conference. Try that with ten Democrats and the result would be a level of chaos that would be hard to describe in English. You might need to resort to Italian. It's a better cursing language.
Here are my feelings on the subject. The Democrats have three huge jobs that urgently need doing:
- Demonstrate clearly that they are more in tune with the hopes and dreams of the American people, which they are;
- Put forward a few choice pieces of legislation that will either pass or make the Republicans look ridiculous, which should be easy; and
- Find some attractive, electable national candidates. Because I don't see any yet.
Re: number one, the problem is that the majority of American voters that prefer Democratic policies are clustered in large states. This has emerged as a huge problem with our Constitution itself. California's population is what, thirty-six million? They have one of the largest economies in the world? They have two senators. Wyoming's population is fewer than one million. Their economy is negligible. They have TWO SENATORS.
Related problem: as far as the Electoral College goes, every vote in Wyoming is worth about five times as much as a vote in California. Trump proved that you can string together a few million yahoos and take over the entire country. One man, one vote MY BONY OLD WHITE ASS.
Just appealing to a vast majority of the American people is not enough to win permission to govern under our Constitution.
Re: number two, the House of Representatives is where legislation is generated. That's where bills start. So starting a few that will show the Democrats in a good light should be a reasonable plan. A little advice? Start with bills that clearly enhance people's health and income security. Do something about getting the big money out of politics. Maybe chip away at that wildly unpopular tax cut for the super-rich that passed last year. Do something about voter-suppression. Keep those bills coming. Don't even try to find common ground with the Republicans, because that's impossible. And don't worry about those bills dying in the Republican controlled Senate. THAT'S THE FUCKING POINT. Go into constant campaign mode and spend a lot of money on TV ads harping repeatedly about how you are trying to help the country but those pricks the Republicans just won't lift a finger to help anyone but billionaires.
Re: number three, let me just say that I happen to like Bernie Sanders, but he's not a viable candidate outside of Vermont and the hipster neighborhoods of Brooklyn and Los Angeles. I like Elizabeth Warren a lot, but please, she'd do about as well as Michael Dukakis in a presidential election. I love Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but please give the woman some time to grow into a bigger job. Tim Kane won his seat again, but let's face it, he's not going anywhere. He was already a major mistake on the ticket with Hillary. Beto O'Rorke's time has not come yet. Please, in the name of all that is good and holy, never mention either of the Clintons again to me in any context. I love Barack Obama as a party chairman or something, maybe a Senator, is that legal? He'd be a perfect Supreme Court Justice. But let's be serious about the new blood. Who's out there? The Democrats need someone young, with zero baggage, with some charisma, someone who would be considered at least a very good speaker. A great speaker with charisma would be better, but you've got to start somewhere.
Hey, get that Jimmy the Greek guy on the phone! What are the odds that the Democrats will be able to get any of this together? Where we goin' Jimmy?
Long are the odds, I'm afraid. It's the same old faces at the DNC and in leadership positions in Congress. The same old “we've got to get entitlement spending under control” mob of Democrats who are only slightly less Republican than the real Republicans. Unless I miss my guess, the Democrats will simply continue to maintain their own position in the power/financial structure, satisfied with second place because after all, the money is good. Second place takes off the pressure! They'll just keep on coasting along like they have been for a long while now. Where are the Democrats going? Nowhere. They like it too much right where they are.
It will be interesting to see how positions of power affect some of the Democratic rookies in the House. Interesting, but most likely disappointing. They talk about some real money now. The stock tips alone will launch you into eight figures with little effort. Hell, just the book deal money would be enough to sorely tempt me. It's not like I don't understand why our politicians sell us out, but I don't have to like it.
I only hope that the Democrats don't start a lot of useless investigations one after the other. What could be a greater waste of time? Trump conspired for decades with Russian gangsters to violate international banking laws! Trump is enriching himself while in office! Trump is taking money from foreign powers who are seeking to influence his decisions! Trump has violated our tax laws! Trump has lied on the record thousands of times! Trump doesn't have a clue what he's doing! Everybody knows all of that already; it's old news. That kind of thing will only be a colossal waste of time, and it will not win one extra vote for the Democratic candidate for president in 2020. Worse than a waste of time, it would all be counterproductive.
The Democrats need to start working hard to win. They need to start taking back state legislatures and governorships. They need to do something about Gerrymandering. They need to convince the hayseeds that they care about the people out in Clodhopperstan. They need to want to win, and they need to want to make America as good a place as it can be.
I'm not convinced that they worry at all about either of those last two things.