To Democrats: Don’t fill up on appetizers from Trump
Regardless of your political views, there’s one thing we can all agree on with our federal government: it’s keeping us entertained. There’s no denying these are exciting times. I’m not convinced if entertainment is a good thing coming from our legislators to provide but nonetheless the stories are fun to watch unravel.
Take a series of news stories a few weeks ago that started with attorney general Jeff Sessions Russian scandal. For reference, AG Sessions reportedly had met with the Russian Ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, while Trump was still on the campaign trail. At the very least, the story was puzzling if not suspicious. Once the scandal starts to dominate every news headlines, we get these tweets from president Trump:
For a moment put aside whether or not you believe he was actually surveilled. It cannot be a coincidence that just as Sessions recused himself from investigations and that story was picking up steam, Trump gives the media something they can’t resist: a better story. However, American citizens are just as responsible for Mr. Trump being able to direct our attention like a good magician. There’s a reason he has nearly 30 million twitter followers.
What is even more intriguing is that I don’t think Mr. Trump even told member of his own cabinet his strategy. Not even a White House intern would let him misspell the word “tap.” Regardless of his spelling, the Democrats and the media ate this story up and still to this day are calling for investigations into every word of the tweet or asking for apologies or even acknowledgement of Mr. Trump lying. Please. Not only is that a pointless use of your resources, it’s a fight you cannot win! No president has ever made it through a term without lying to the public, for better or for worse, and the only president to apologize for lying in recent memory was Bill Clinton. And I think we can all agree these are different circumstances.
That reminded me of a series of events from the campaign trail. While on the campaign trail, Mr. Trump made some rude remarks about Jeb Bush’s wife and her ethnicity. And Jeb backed himself into a corner on the next debate. He tried to get Mr. Trump to apologize for the remarks about his wife. Can you guess how it ended? Trump brashly disregarded the request. Now what do you do if you’re Jeb Bush? First he disrespected your wife, now he's made it clear he has no respect you either. Short of firing back insults, you can’t do a thing and even worse, you’ve shown your weak. That is my fear about the democrats’ approach. Pick battles you can win! Don’t focus on ‘Trump just being Trump’ remarks; focus his (or his team’s) actions that are cause for punishment. Legitimate, legal, constitutional approaches are needed otherwise the resistance faces the same fate as Jeb.
So if you can’t attack the president for a perceived blatant lie what can you do? I’m glad you asked. Democrats goal should be to dismantle or at least divide the republicans. One things voters made clear this past election is that they're fed up with the institution parties; and that’s true on both sides of the isle. The Republicans have already shown weakness despite controlling the House, Senate, White House, and soon the Supreme Court. But that same Republican party cannot even pass a bill that they have been salivating over for eight years! Paul Ryan walked with his tail between his legs to find moral victories in their health care defeat. Obamacare is the law of the land not because the Democrats saved it (although they did their part), but because the Republican’s couldn’t resist the urge to say “no”--even to their own party.
Democrats should be calling for the head of Devin Nunes, head of the House intel committee, for running to Speaker Ryan and Mr. Trump to discuss strategy and reveal information before even briefing his whole committee. If that doesn’t scream double-dealing I don’t know what does. But instead, I read about people complaining how often Trump plays golf or how many times he goes to Mar-a-Lago. What good will come of that? You could barricade the gates of that resort and Trump would fly in on a helicopter just to show you he can. What good will come of these battles. Fighting battles you can’t gain anything from just makes you look weak. So, do everything you can to direct heat on Rep. Nunes and the rest of the Republican institution, because the American people have shown their getting restless with them anyway
Another intriguing part of this presidency is that never in our history have we had a president that was his own news source.
Trump is the first president to utilize a medium other than TV or radio to have an open dialogue with the public. His twitter account is its own news agency--a “state news agency.” Where else around the world do you hear those three words together? It could be that with each passing, disproved Tweet, that news source becomes less credible-- albeit the President of the United States. Or it could be that the American public is hungry for some entertainment out of our government. Since, it's the first time we have encountered something like this before, it is difficult to figure out how to combat it. But one thing is certain: in order to be a worthy opponent of the controlling party in soon-to-be all three branches of the government, the Democrats cannot get swept away in newfound thirst for drama in Washington.