By Ralph Nader
Does the Democratic Party know how to defeat the foul-mouthed, bigoted, self-enriching crony capitalist Donald Trump? Trump pretends to be a populist. In reality he does the bidding of Wall Street instead of Main Street and weakens or repeals governmental health and safety programs.
Defeating corrupt, disgraceful, disastrous Donald should be easy. He is, on many documented fronts, the worst and most indictable president in U.S. history. Moreover, Trump is personally obscene and is a walking tortfeasor against women. He is a politician who doesn’t read and doesn’t think. He doesn’t know anything about government and doesn’t care about the rule of law. All he seems to know how to do is stoke the war machine with taxpayer dollars and shut down law enforcement agencies designed to protect the health, safety, and economic well-being of citizens from today’s Big Business robber barons.
Dumb as he is on the matters of public policies, Trump is a cunning schemer and a master of deflection. For Trump, every day is a reality show, in which he must dominate the news cycle with his destructive, personal politics of distraction. The mass media, looking for ratings and readers, can’t get off its Trump high. He even taunts them with this conceit.
In our autocratic two-party duopoly, the country is left with the anemic, corporatized Democratic Party establishment to save the country. Every day the Democratic National Committee (DNC) feverishly calls big donors. Most candidates are addicted to the narcotic of campaign money and think their pathetic political consultants will solve their electoral problems.
Then there are the twenty or so Democratic presidential candidates exhausting themselves by trying to stand out from one another while fitting into the straightjacket of the DNC’s rules and debate format. Some are advancing major changes and reforms, such as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. The DNC apparatchiks, however, would rather have Joe Biden. Even so, some party bosses worry that his age, gaffes, and past record could make him a Hillary redux, should his current makeover not stick.
None of the presidential candidates are taking on Trump directly. A few glancing ripostes, sure, but most Democratic candidates think attacking Trump is a distraction from their proposals for America. They don’t seem to be listening to viewpoints such as those stated by Ana Maria Archila, of the Center for Popular Democracy: “Don’t just condemn the racism and the language but use it as an opportunity to argue for a vision of the country in which we can all be included.” In reality, the Democratic candidates all fear taking Trump on daily in this way, because of his intimidating personal smear tactics supinely reported by the mass media, which rarely allows rebuttals to Trump’s trash talking.
Now comes the possible crucial third factor in the race. Well-funded, vigorous voter turnout drives in ten states that are driven exclusively by the civic community. Freed of the shackles of the serial loser DNC, this independent civic drive can easily turn the tide in these key electoral swing states. Based on past elections, there will be 120 million non-voters in 2020. Bringing out 10 million non-voters in states like Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Missouri, Arizona, Colorado, and Montana could swamp Trump, who is stuck with greasing his minority base of frenzied supporters. Getting out the voters who stayed home four years ago is also a priority.
An independent civic initiative, funded by small and large donations, can also jettison the Republican control of the Senate and end the Republican stacking of the federal judiciary with corporate right-wing ideologues. The DNC can help ensure a Democratic Senate by convincing some tractionless presidential candidates to return to their states and run for the Senate. Governor Steve Bullock of Montana will be more valuable in the Senate than clinging to the debate stage.
Then there is the prospect of Trump defeating himself. He never recognizes any boundaries and is convinced that he can get away with anything because he always has. He is a repulsive loud-mouth and has been a serial fugitive from justice since his years as a shady businessman.
Trump knows that the Democrats don’t want to get down in the mud with him. So he makes the mud their quicksand, with the media dittoheads replaying his reality TV show monologues. If there are any Democratic Party activists who know how to goad Trump regularly, they had better step forward. The sum of Trump’s electoral strategy is lying by the hour, creating false scenarios, false achievements, and phony promises conveyed by relentless intimidation. His Achilles heel is being goaded by mockery and accusations symmetrical to what he is dishing out. That’s the way overreaching bullies are brought down.
His vanities are the roadmap. He is sensitive to charges of having a “low-IQ,” of his presidency being characterized as a “disaster,” of being anything other than “a stable genius,” of being nicknamed, of having a snarling visage with unattractive bulging body parts, of being a racist, a tool of Wall Street, wasteful of taxpayers’ money, and of not creating infrastructures, jobs he promised. The Trump presidency has brought us the first ever reduction of life expectancy in the U.S., the stagnation of wages, and an avalanche of cancerous particulates into the water and air of our country. Including his coal country base!
He gives his crowds verbal “red meat,” while giving Washington away to the big bankers and the “greed hounds” of big business. He is a flatterer and flummoxer of people who let their emotions displace what is best for the communities where they live, work, and raise their children. People are being battered by record-breaking intense heat, storms, floods, tornados, droughts, and Trump tells them the climate crisis is a hoax. All while his programs worsen the situation.
It is time to persuade a large majority of voters that Trump is the Fake President destroying the best in America and bringing out the worst. But he has to be directly confronted on all fronts. No more free rides for the Tweeter.