In the week where Democrats announced historic and fully-deserved articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, they also started blowing it and throwing away 2020.
Just as impeachment needs their complete focus, Democrats started talking about how the rest of the year could be devoted to “getting things done in Washington.” They want to “get it over with” and move on to “passing legislation that improves the lives of everyday Americans.”
I put those phrases in quotes, because they’re the usual generic political pablum vomited from the bowels of a hundred focus groups.
In the words of the great American political scientist Lyndon Baines Johnson, “Are you fucking kidding me?”
Sadly, there's nothing more predictable and pathetic than Washington Democrats biting the bipartisan rube bait. First, they love any chance to spend money. It’s the signifier for accomplishment for people who love them some government. Second, they still believe we live in a world where bipartisan comity sells.
For all the skill Nancy Pelosi has displayed as a political opposition leader against Trump, the idea that working with him is a net political positive for the Democrats is scorchingly stupid.
Donald Trump doesn't really want to pass USMCA or family leave or anything else for that matter. He certainly doesn’t want to pass anything on Democratic holy-grail issues like health care, gun control, or climate change.
Donald Trump will Lucy them every time, pulling back the football at the last second. Democrats will walk out of Cabinet meetings thinking they can move forward on family leave or infrastructure spending only to see tweeted shit-talk from a president with zero good faith and less intelligence but who does understand that his base wants war, not cooperation. Nothing real will pass, and if it does, they’ll get zero credit from Republicans, and nothing but a shrug from their base.
2020 is a referendum on Donald Trump. That is all 2020 is about.
The optics of sitting in the White House pretending to try and work with Donald Trump is like those awkward moments of mommy and daddy playing nice during the holidays while engaged in a horrifying long-running divorce. Everyone is uncomfortable, no one is fooled, and the net result is to simply delay the pain.
Democrats need their base voters fired up and turned out. They need to harness and channel the energy that motivates their most passionate voters to knock on doors, make calls, and show up at the polls in record numbers in 2020. That energy is the natural reaction to Donald Trump’s corruption, criminality, and evil. Why squander and dilute it?
The cognitive dissonance in declaring Trump a lawless, reckless criminal who seeks to have foreign powers decide our elections and ride roughshod over our democracy and also declaring “we can work with this guy” is utterly astounding. What flavor of dumbfuckery inside the Democratic consultant class thinks playing happy families and singing Kumbaya with a president who lacks every moral and political scruple works to motivate their base?
“But wait... what about Republicans who want to accomplish something on issue X?” you ask.
I assure you, Republican members from swing states who offer up bipartisan legislation right now aren’t doing it for the good of the country. They’re doing it because they understand the political poison of Donald Trump in the suburbs. They want to be able to run in 2020 by saying, “Well, Trump is what he is, but I partnered with Democrats to help pass the Toilet Seat Standards and Safety Bill.”
Speaking of the Senate, the concern isn't simply Pelosi getting wrapped around the axle by this trickery.
It’s that Chuck Schumer has absolutely zero margin to work inside the Senate. He can't rely on Joe Manchin and a couple others when push comes to shove, and right now his 2020 operation needs all the help it can get.
Schumer must provide a contrast for Democratic voters. If Republicans—especially those running in purple states like Cory Gardner, Martha McSally, and Susan Collins—can go home and say, “I'm trying to work across the aisle! I co-sponsored a child-care bill! Pay no attention to the Trumpstank wafting off of me!” it's a net political deficit for the Democrats. Normalizing Trump doesn’t help.
Trump richly deserves impeachment. That won’t move the Republicans in the Senate, and the battle to hold this president to account is far, far from over. The idea that Democrats need to race through impeachment and that it will stain Trump permanently flies in the face of today’s short-attention span politics. This is a war that doesn’t end in a single House vote. It doesn’t end by shrugging and saying, “Oh, it was too hard to sue everyone to get testimony from the White House.”
Trump gets this joke. He understands it perfectly.
This president is a con man, and he’s sold various pigs in various pokes to various rubes for a long time. He conned people into believing he was rich. He conned people into buying overpriced condos and mid-tier golf resort memberships. He conned the American people into believing he was a god-tier business genius and paragon of negotiation skill and leadership. He conned the GOP out of its entire portfolio of political beliefs and turned it into a cult devoted to worshipping him.
How the actual hell do Democrats fall for the same scam?
It boggles the mind that the Democrats haven’t learned the tricks of the GOP. The purpose of the Benghazi hearings wasn’t to get to the bottom of the attack, but to torture Hillary Clinton for a year. The dilatory pranks of the GOP in the current hearings aren’t to get to the truth, but to raise the level of pain and confusion in the process. The Republicans understand that this game is cynical, ugly, and purely based on political, not policy, outcomes.
Democrats are poised to lose the impeachment fight because they don’t.
Jesus. Do I have to do all of this for you?