How to Practice Good Politics

As someone who has been enmeshed in politics since I was 14 and I worked on the ill-fated McGovern campaign, I have come to understand the difference between good politics and bad. Donald Trump is the worst politician I have ever seen. I used to think George W. Bush was the worst that even the GOP could do, but I was wrong. There is no circumstance under which making people feel fearful is good politics. Yes, those on the far right seem to thrive on fear and chaos, but they only make up about a quarter of the electorate.

Yet, here’s Donald Trump, playing so hard to his “base” that he ignores the other three-quarters of the population. In a democracy. Even with a little help from his friend Putin and Russian intelligence, there is no way anyone can win by appealing only to the most idiotic 24-25 percent of voters, especially if more than half of the electorate turns out to vote.

What I am trying to say is, Donald J. Trump seems destined to be a one-term fake president, as long as the rest of us do our jobs and don’t damage the Democratic nominee, whoever they may be. Just show up to vote and stop trashing other Democratic candidates, and we’ll survive this. We’ll end this election season with a Democratic President, a Democratic Congress, and Democrats in the majority in a majority of states if we don’t shoot ourselves in the… process.

Trump is horrible as a politician, and it’s time the press started noting that. 2016 was an anomaly; I know the press treats it as if it was just another election, but it was anything but. Trump didn’t “win.” He lost the popular vote by a large margin, and he won the electoral college by 77,000 votes in three swing states, despite all of the shenanigans from the Russians and others.

Keep in mind; Trump didn’t even win a majority of votes during the Republican primaries. Bernie Sanders received a higher percentage of the Democratic vote than Trump received of Republican primary votes. Trump won the nomination by default and he won the general election because he cheated.

And there is no doubt that there will be a lot of cheating again this year. The Republican Party is a minority party; they can’t win if everyone shows up to vote. Therefore, they work to gain every advantage for themselves. They do not want everyone to vote and they make that fact clear every chance they get. They love to cheat and they hate it when everyone shows up to vote.

I was taught this when I was about 15, by my first political mentor, who happened to be a Republican; a liberal Republican (yes, they were a thing at one time) who managed to live long enough to endorse and vote for Barack Obama for President. He told me in 1973 that the GOP had changed, and they lamented the fact that turnout in the 1950s and 1960s was “too high” and they looked forward to doing what they could to get fewer people to show up. This was reinforced in 1980, when Republican guru Paul Weyrich told the Republican Party that the best way to gain political success was to purposely say things designed to drive down turnout.

By all rights, if those of us who profess to hate Trump and those of us who lament the fact that the current Republican Party has made a mess of things for the last 40 years all agree to encourage people to show up and vote and if we all push a hopeful message, instead of piling onto the GOP’s message of doom, Trump will lose in a landslide and no member of the current version of the Republican Party will ever get to run the government again. As a Baby Boomer, my parents’ generation managed to do it, and so can we. We just have to join hands and agree that life under Republicans is unbearable; it’s not good for anyone.

2020 doesn’t have to be like 2016; we have the ability to make it more like 1932, in which we trust Democrats to deliver the government back to the people and we stop trusting the GOP with anything.

Also published on Medium.

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