Democratic President Candidates 6: Hammer Trump Failures, Create the Ideal USA – Martin Westerman, 2/13/20
In her Feb. 1, 2020, NY Times column, Maureen Dowd bemoaned two decades of watching Democrats try to play fair as Republicans ruthlessly played to win – from the misogynist Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings, 2000 Bush vs. Gore recount and Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld lies to Iraq war, to the Merrick Garland Senate pantomime and Feb. 6, 2020, DJT impeachment hypocrisy. Democrats may warn Republicans that history will judge them harshly, but “history is written by the winners,” wrote Dowd.
My first question is, Where are the ruthless Democrats and Independents?
We must paint the Whiner In Chief (“The (fake) news media-women-immigrants-Democrats-people of color treat me terribly”) into the Loser In Chief. President DJT may think he’s the Winner In Chief, but winners don’t whine – unless they’re sore losers. Hey – there are two new slogans for our presidential candidates!
Let’s compare promises DJT made in his 2017 inauguration speech with results in 2020:
. I take an oath of allegiance to all Americans – no, loyalty oath only to DJT and his family and cronies, or no place for you in federal government; and invitations to Russia, China, Ukraine, etc. to hack U.S. elections and spy on DJT rivals, and use of federal agencies to attack political rivals,
. At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other. When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice – no (Hitler-style salute) allegiance to the U.S.A., no loyalty to each other discovery, and plenty of room for prejudice,
. eradicate ISIS – no (cue snorting laughter)
. stop the “American carnage” – no, if increased mass shootings and U.S. border violence against families are any indication… otherwise, a meaningless phrase
. give struggling families much to celebrate – unaffordable housing prices, losses of living wage jobs, closures of factories, choking of new U.S. industries, removal of environmental protections, etc.
. make every decision on trade, taxes, immigration and foreign affairs benefit American workers and American families – no, trade war that has left agriculture in depression, industry, trucking & shipping in mild recession, deficit at $1.1 trillion
. stop enriching foreign industry at the expense of American industry – no, foreign industry is doing just fine, at the expense of American
. repair America’s decaying infrastructure – no
. protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs – no.
Every 2020 presidential candidate needs to:
(a) hammer DJT’s failures,
(b) repeat: winners don’t whine, losers do,
(c) hang a name — “Mister empty promises” or “Donald Danger” around his neck,
(d) keep a running tally of lies Trump has told to excuse his failures – 16,361 as of Feb.
12, 2020. (CNN reports that the rate of DJT’s dishonesty increases with his time in office. In 2017, he made 1,999 false or misleading claims; in 2017 – 5,689; in 2018 – 7,688; and in 2019 – 8,155)
(e) remind voters of what promises he has kept, and the dangers they pose for the U.S.A.:
i. to make U.S. money laundering easier for oligarchs, dictators and criminals,
ii. to give Russia free rein in Middle East, central and western Europe affairs, and carte blanche in the Oval Office
iii. to invite Russia, China and other countries, with blessings of Moscow Mitch & Leningrad Lindsey (& Lamar), to meddle in U.S. elections for DJT’s and Republicans’ benefits
iv. to encourage white supremacist thugs, domestic terrorists and Nazi-wanna be’s
v. to favor Christianity over other religions for theocrats like Minister Mike (Pence) and his Evangelicals, violating the U.S. Constitution
vi. to approve paying protection money and bribes for favors, and to punish those who resist, testify to the truth, and/or blow the whistle anywhere in the DJT administration – military, intelligence and diplomatic communities, justice department, etc.
vii. to encourage enemies of truth (freedom of the press), justice (Bill Barr vs. accountability), and the American Way (governing norms). All are welcome in DJT’s house,
viii. to approve white patriarchy, that abhors independent women, and people of color,
ix. to benefit American oligarchs, treating corporations as people, money as speech, and monopolies as preferable to business competition.
There’s more, but you get the picture. And any 2020 candidate who doesn’t repeatedly remind constituents of these facts and dangers is either out of touch, forgetful or incompetent.
Humans and political dynamics haven’t much changed since 400 B.C.E., when Plato said the best leaders were those who do not want to lead. They would understand that they don’t know everything. They would seek to know the truth of what is fine and good, just and unjust. Through education, they’d develop virtue, be humble, noble, honest, sincere, gentle, dignified, live with integrity, and not desire honors. That kind of person “would be elected or selected (drafted or compelled, if need be) by the people themselves to be their leader.”
In 1884, General William Tecumseh Sherman refused the Republicans’ draft to run for U.S. President (Rs were that period’s Ds), saying, “I will not accept if nominated, and will not serve if elected.” But Plato said one incentive would force the virtuous man to serve as leader: to avoid being governed by someone worse in office. He could help create an ideal city, governed by “people who are awake rather than dreaming,” not by “people who fight over shadows and struggle against one another in order to rule.” The virtuous man would only lead if compelled, and avoid the shame of taking office willingly.
Sure, it’s important to talk bread and butter issues. But 2020 is about beating the DJT Republicans. From Plato’s perspective, they don’t qualify for leadership on the Plato Scale. And we cannot create the ideal country if they remain.