After the Acquittal

Trump Remains an Existential Threat to Democracy

Credit: Better Pick Quick by Christopher Weyant, The Boston Globe, MA

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Donald Trump’s outrageous behavior and lies will continue endlessly until he is no longer in office. Indeed, they come so fast and furious it already seems like eons ago that he abandoned the Kurds, assassinated General Soleimani, had Melania hang the Medal of Freedom on Rush Limbaugh at the State of the Union, have Attorney General Barr intervene in Roger Stone’s sentencing etc. The outrageous behavior, which pleases his base, will not stop. However, there is an antidote.

If those of us who understand Trump as an existential threat to our democracy are smart, and do the following, we can defeat this man both in the popular vote and most importantly in the Electoral College in November: Use the ability to defeat Trump as the sole criterion in voting for the Democratic standard bearer, advocate for the primary candidates, and for the Democratic National Committee, to begin to address the needs of both African-American and Latino voters, and work to ensure that the Democrats keep the House and take back the Senate.

The only relevant attribute the Democratic nominee has to have is being able to deal with Trump’s lies and insults, which will come fast and furious. In this context, whether you’re a progressive or a moderate has become irrelevant. This election will not be about policy. It’s clearly just about the threat Trump poses to our Democracy.

If the Democrats can’t unite and turn out their base, it’s four more years of Trump. This means beginning now, the candidates have to start talking about issues relevant to both African American and Latino voters. Among black voters, 85 percent say they would choose any Democratic presidential candidate over Trump. For Latino voters, 64 percent say they would vote to replace the president. In both groups, 57 percent were in support of impeaching and removing him from office. Yet, to date we have heard very little aimed at these constituencies.

Donald Trump, at his State of the Union Address, began his pitch to black voters. The importance of black voters to the Democratic Party, nevertheless, has been clear for decades. No modern candidate for president has won the White House without securing a majority of the black vote. According to polling, economic factors (especially for young black men), criminal justice, and civil-rights issues are important to African-American voters. Candidates for the presidency need to address these issues.

Latino voters, just as critical to a Democratic victory in November, are an entirely different story. A record 29 million Latinos were eligible to vote in the 2018 mid-term elections, equaling 12.8 percent of all eligible voters. However, 25 percent of Latinos say they would vote to re-elect Trump. This segment of this constituency has to be won over.

Latino voters have a deep concern over economic issues. However, ever since the day he came down the escalator, announcing his bid for the Republican nomination, he has been demonizing Latinos. He called Mexicans coming across the border murderers and rapists. He branded migrants seeking entrance into the country as an invasion, to the point that a hate filled White Supremacist, echoing Donald Trump’s invasion language, shot and  killed 22 Latinos shopping at a Walmart in El Paso. And, he shamefully separated Hispanic children from their parents and imprisoned them at the border. This behavior should not get lost in the fog of Trump’s outrages. It should be incorporated into Democratic campaign messages.

Finally, Moscow Mitch, the “grim reaper,” and his Republican colleagues need to be replaced, giving the Democrats control of the Senate if normalcy is to be restored to our politics. The impeachment trial, because of Republican control of the Senate, was a predictable farce: no witnesses and a near unanimous partisan vote for acquittal. As long as McConnell is Senate Majority Leader, regardless of who is president, progressive bills will not be passed and conservative judges will continue to populate the federal judiciary.

As a young law professor, my dean said to me: “Lawyers for social change have to work harder.” Well, we’ve reached the point where citizens for democracy “have to work harder.” We not only need to put aside our political preferences for a progressive or a moderate, we have to concern ourselves with elections outside the borders of our respective states. The truth is, it’s going to be up to us to see that this maniac is removed from office.

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