To begin with, do yourself a favor. Lower your blood pressure, ease the pains from your ulcers, and quit waiting for it, cuz it ain’t happening. And when I say it, I am of course referring to the eventual Republican outrage against The $1 Store Caligula’s racist ranting.
I for one never bothered waiting for the squeals of outrage from the GOP piglet pen. Mainly because Trump’s racially charged babbling isn’t an outlier to the GOP’s racial doctrine, it’s woven into the fabric of everything the “modern” GOP stands for.
In 1956, Richard Nixon was royally bummed that Bobby Kennedy beat him to the punch in “using” the civil rights crusade of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King to court black votes. And as such, in his own presidency, he used blacks, as well as the long haired hippies, as fodder for his “law and order” campaign. Reagan went full in on the racist “southern strategy,” and George Bush’s campaign had operatives in South Carolina putting fliers under windshields saying that John and Cindy McCain’s adopted Vietnamese daughter was McCain’s bastard child. Even Justin Amash of Michigan permanently split with Trump and the GOP over the Mueller report, and not Trump and the GOP’s racist behavior regarding immigrants. Racism is baked into the GOP cake.
But 2020 is rapidly approaching, and in that particular galactic war, the force will be with us, if only we can master it and use it wisely. Think of me as an oversized Yoda, all wrinkly and dumpy, just a little taller.
Cast back your mind you will, my young padawan learners, to the distant past of 2018. In those midterms, in all but the reddest of districts, what was the favorite pastime of GOP incumbents everywhere, especially in battleground House districts. The incumbents all pretended that Jabba the Trump was on a smugglers run to Kesselring. They wanted nothing to do with him, much like a merchant never wants anybody to know that he’s paying “dues” to the mob for protection. House incumbents, especially in suburban moderate districts, lived in terror of Emperor Trumpatine showing up to campaign for them.
Well, this is 2020, and their luck has finally run out. And although the massacre of 2018 culled down their herd, there are still incumbents like Will Hurd of Texas who barely survived with their asses unscathed. And now there’s “nowhere to run, and nowhere to hide.” Darth Trumper is going to be sitting atop the Republican ticket next November, and there’s not a damn thing these incumbents can do about it.
Donald Trump is the ultimate force, if we only learn to harness and use it properly. In 2018, Democratic House challengers largely ran without ever directly referring to he-who-shall-not-be-named (mixed metaphor, but it fits nicely). There is no reason to change that in 2020. Democratic challengers and incumbents alike can refer to Trump’s racist rantings and programs as Republican rantings and programs, and there’s not a damn thing that their opponents can do to defend themselves, since they were too chickenshit to raise their voices against it. Democrats can tug at the heartstrings and consciences of those suburban soccer moms, and then switch smoothly into promises of restoring “goodness and decency” to Washington while they’re busy repairing roads and bridges, cutting classroom sizes, and lowering healthcare and drug costs.
The same thing goes for the eventual Democratic presidential nominee. They can take all of the pot shots they want, and draw all of the contrasts they want between themselves and Trump, but they need to label those things as Republican ideologies and policies, because it reinforces what local candidates are already saying, and more people will see presidential utterances on their evening news than they will of their local candidates.
And it isn’t just about national House races either. Remember, state and even county candidates are running with (R)’s after their names on the ballot as well, and redistricting is coming in 2020. The old plumbers adage is that “shit flows downhill,” and the Democratic presidential and national candidate team is going to have he opportunity to dump a 55 gallon barrel of shit over the head of every Republican candidate on the ballot.
Look, Donald Trump is going to be Donald Trump because, hey, a dog’s gotta howl, right? And besides, Trump swears that this is how he got elected in 2016, and old dogs don’t cotton well to new tricks. But in 2016, Trump’s utterances were nothing more than the flaky characteristics of an unusual candidate. In 2020 we have had four years of those being the utterances and policies of the United States government, done in our name, and with our tax dollars. And I refuse to believe that the majority of this country are comfortable with where he is taking us. Our strongest weapon in defeating Donald Trump in 2020 can be Donald Trump. My advice to every Democratic candidate between now and next November? Screw the polls, run like you’re ten points down, and don’t let up until you breast the tape. May the force be with us.