We Can Do This, You Know… And We Have To

Being Better Liberals

I find myself laughing at all of the breathless punditry, asking if (name of someone in the Trump Administration) has broken the law by (citation of something specific. The implied hope is that someone will do something to make it so that Lord Donny will be impeached and removed.

There are two reasons I laugh. First of all, there is all of this pretend worry that, perhaps, the Trumpies have done something technically illegal and the thought that “one thing” will magically trigger the conscience of a Republican Party that has demonstrated exactly zero conscience in about 50 years. Modern Republicans only care about one thing; gaining power. And since the only thing that gives them power is winning elections, there is only one thing they really care about; winning.

The other reason I laugh is, even if Lord Donny and his entire team is drummed out of office, nothing will change. In fact, when we talk as if something will change when he’s gone, we send a message that actually seriously undermines us.

I want to get back to that first notion, because it’s the key to making liberals and progressives powerful again. Republicans truly suck at politics. No, don’t laugh; they really do. The only reason it looks as if they have so much “power” is because the progressive movement also sucks at politics, and to a greater degree. Over the past 40 years or so, most elections have been decided in their favor based on one thing: low turnout. The funny thing is, that is the easiest thing in the world to fix, except that the loudest voices on our side suck so badly at politics. I mean, getting people to show up to vote on Election Day is extremely easy.

Do you realize the turnout in the French election last week was 74% and that French reporters were decrying the “lowest turnout ever”? If you compare countries, even though ours is one of the youngest democratic systems out there, we have about the lowest turnout. Why, you ask? It’s simple; the cacophony of noise in every election is such that there is nothing attractive to vote for. And let’s be crystal clear here; the vast majority of voters want to vote FOR someone or something. If you are one of those people who is only motivated by anger and who wants to vote for a “revolution,” you should know that your bubble is very small. People would rather NOT react to negativity, they want to feel hopeful, not desperate.

This is why we lose.

When some “pundits” are always jumping up and down and pointing to Trump and his minion as if something they’ve done is “illegal” and they should be brought down for that, it makes us look silly. For chrissakes, folks; the fact that he’s occupying the White House is illegal. The Emoluments Clause was violated the second he swore an oath to the Constitution. But more than that, what Trump represents is an affront to everything the United States and the Constitution are supposed to stand for. Impeachment doesn’t require a specific crime or a violation of a specific statute. Impeachment can occur due to incompetence. It can happen because he’s an embarrassment and he doesn’t represent this country properly on the world stage. We can impeach this idiot for anything. I mean, Republicans impeached Clinton, who turned around the economy and balanced the federal budget without raising taxes to even Reagan levels.

And that is the key that so many pundits don’t seem to understand; WE decide who gets impeached, not Congress. Republicans are the minority political party; it’s time we let them know that most of the 76% of the population who is not Republican find impeachment an absolute necessity and we have to make them realize that the one thing they give a shit about – power – is at risk if they don’t do the right thing.

Let’s be clear. Only about 23% of the voting-age population voted for Trump. About 50% stayed home on Election Day and about 27% voted for someone other than Trump. Likewise, Democrats received more votes than Republicans for Congress and they gained seats. It also means that only 23-24% of the population can even relate to the GOP. If more than three-quarters of the electorate is not inclined to vote Republican, why do we have such a hard time?

The answer is actually stunningly easy. We don’t do enough to appeal to the masses. Instead, we focus all of our attention on Democrats in a phenomenally stupid effort to perfect them. The loudest on our side strongly believe that everyone in the Democratic Party should be fully “progressive,” (based on their definition, which is usually extremist), despite the fact that such a thing has never been the case. This year, when you have a Trumpian cancerous mass in the White House and a Republican Party that doesn’t know how to govern and  that only cares about the narrow swath of voters who vote for them religiously and who take “deplorable” to a new level, it should be obvious that no one on our ide of the aisle has the luxury to demand much of anything.

It is easy to take down the GOP, although it might take a while. They only care about power, so we need to let them know that power is at stake. Mobilize people to want to vote by letting them know not just how bad the GOP is, but how much better Democrats are. Get on the phone for the next two years and call your congresscritter’s office immediately and repeatedly. If your Representative and Senators are Republican, don’t just write them off, based on your belief that they won’t do anything because they’re Republicans. Instead, call them twice as often. My teabagger Congresscritter’s staff knows me by voice and name, and they dread when I call them already and I have only lived in this district since March. That is what needs to be done.

This is important. Don’t email anyone. Don’t sign millions of online petitions. Let me assure you that no one who can do anything ever sees those petitions and your name means nothing to them.  Know your Congresscritter and call their offices directly. Don’t call a bunch of others, either, because they don’t work for you. But get on the phone and make them realize there is a price to pay. Get your friends who are concerned about what is happening to call, too. There is strength in numbers, but only when those numbers are in their districts. A Republican representative in upstate New York doesn’t have the time or the inclination to care what a liberal in Austin, Texas thinks about anything. If you live in Los Angeles, know that your concern over what a congressperson from rural Georgia does will necessarily fall on deaf ears.

Let me explain; 500 phone calls on an issue scares them. 1,000 people calling makes them really nervous. 2,000-3,000 makes them apoplectic and it will often make them do the right thing. Those numbers are only valid when all of those call come from constitutents, however, so work in your own part of the world.

One more thing. Make all of this about the Republican Party, not just Trump. We can make them impeach Trump, if we work at it, but we also have to use this “opportunity” to make sure everyone knows that Trump is just the tip of the Republican iceberg. Trump is not an anomaly; nothing he says and does varies one iota from the Republican message over the last half century.

We can defeat these bozos, but we have to play politics smart. We have the power; we have to use it.

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