Friday, February 3, 2017

Democrats Must Not Normalize Trump By Opposing His Policies Only On Their Merits

Abby Something
As I argued here, the Democrats need to oppose everything Trump does in order to undermine his presidency.  Every political victory he claims bolsters his legitimacy and increases his power.  But in challenging his nominations, orders, directives and policies it is critical not only to attack them on their merits but to frame them in the context of three things:  (1) his conflicts of interest stemming from his un-divested business empire and his failure to release his federal tax returns; (2) his affinity for white supremacists including, but not limited to, his bff Steve Bannon; and (3) his relationship with his other bff, Vladimir Putin, and other Russian officials and oligarchs. 

For example, the fact that Trump will seek to roll back the protections of Dodd-Frank should certainly be challenged as an abdication of his campaign promise to protect the public against Wall Street -- and an outrageous gift to the financial industry.  But it must also be stressed that Trump is helping companies with which he has -- or may have -- a financial interest.  Democrats should be demanding disclosure of Trump's ties to every bank and investment firm that stands to benefit from Trump's proposed gutting of regulations so that the public can know whether he is acting in the best interest of the country or to line his own pockets.

The Muslim ban, limiting a federal program that counters violent extremism to only "radical Islamic extremism," and the proposal to abolish the Johnson Amendment that prevents tax-exempt religious organizations from campaigning for candidates must be opposed not only as bad policy, contrary to American values and in violation of civil rights and freedom of religion.  This must be seen in the context of Steve Bannon's stated goals that appear to include creating a White Christian Nation.  Democrats should demand that Trump explain whether he agrees with his chief strategist and, if not, why he continues to staff the White House with Bannon allies.

And Trump's belligerent conversations with foreign leaders and his disparagement of NATO and the European Union must be seen not just as foolhardy from the perspective of diplomacy and national security.  They raise serious questions about whether Trump's connections to Russia are influencing his moves on the international front -- questions that need to be raised over and over again.

Liberals and progressives have been indefatigable in taking on Trump these first couple of weeks as we are forced to play political whack-a-mole on a seemingly infinite range of issues.  It is having an impact and our leaders in Congress are definitely listening.  But it is critical that we don't end up in the usual partisan debates over policy -- debates that the media expects and that will serve to normalize the presidency.  We need to push the Democrats and the media to view Trump always through the prism of his financial self-dealing, his sympathy for white supremacy and as a Russian stooge. 


Anonymous said...

Wondering if you have thoughts on strategies the Democratic Party should use to return to power in the House, Senate and White House. Seems like you've hit the nail on the head as to how to weaken Trump, but as the election showed that's not enough. Ultimately, these steps alone will only set up the Democrats as the next "Party of No," don't you think?

Post a Comment