Focus on What’s Important …

I was thinking this evening, as I tried to thaw my frozen fingers by the heat emitting from the side of my laptop, about my blogging priorities for the coming year.  I was making a list, trying to focus on the most essential things that need to be kept in the spotlight as we ramp up to the 2018 mid-term elections in November, and at the same time trolling the news for anything interesting or inspiring.  Suddenly I came across an OpEd piece by Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, that just seemed to mirror my thoughts.  I am a firm believer in not re-inventing the wheel, as they say, and so I thought that I would share a portion of his article, for he says it better than I could.

This new year, tell Trump: Enough  By E.J. Dionne Jr. Opinion writer December 31, 2017

DionneWith New Year’s resolutions and almost everything else in life, it’s essential — and often extremely difficult — to set priorities. This applies especially to politics, now dominated by the provocations and outrages that emanate daily from President Trump and his White House.

In 2018, Trump’s abuses of power, his indifference to truth and his autocratic habits will be the central issues in our politics. Nothing else comes close.

This means there is no more vital business than containing Trump and, if circumstances demand it, removing him from office. This applies not only to progressives and liberals but also to everyone else, from left to right, who would defend our democratic values and republican institutions.

This may sound obvious, but it’s not. Among Democrats, there are often irresistible temptations to fight internal battles in preparation for 2020: Clinton people vs. Bernie people, the center-left vs. the left, the market-friendlies vs. the social democrats and democratic socialists.

These are necessary arguments, and, in any event, they cannot be suppressed. But they are not the most important thing. With special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation under constant threat from Trump’s apologists, solidarity among his opponents is imperative. This is all the more pressing in the face of the Republican leadership’s shameful cowering before a president who is perpetually in search of loyalty and sycophantic praise.

It is a habit of political commentators to say that Democrats “lack a message” and a program. It’s worth mentioning that this has not stopped them from winning a lot of elections, some in unlikely places, over the past few months.

Of course, Democrats must offer a compelling vision of a just country and a coherent approach to the world. They have to be mindful of the complicated and highly diverse coalition they need to build — starting with African Americans but also reaching out to working-class voters of all races who are being hurt by Trump’s policies. Most districts cannot be won without broad, multiracial alliances.

But this is a year of midterm elections, not a contest for the presidency. Voters typically use off-year ballots to render a judgment on a president’s course, particularly when they are unhappy — think 2006, 2010 and 2014. The most effective midterm slogan ever was the GOP’s 1946 plea: “Had Enough? Vote Republican.” With a change in the last word, it would fit the current anti-Trump mood well.

Trump, not some ingenious new policy, will be the issue on voters’ minds, and opposition to him will be the most powerful force pushing voters to the polls. Yes, progressives should talk about Trump policies they would try to check or roll back — beginning with the GOP’s egregious tax giveaway — and work to make their ideas on health care, jobs, infrastructure, the environment and education more persuasive. But the point of 2018 is to meet the emergency this presidency has created.

Let’s not shilly-shally about this. To truly check Trump, Democrats will need to win elections in usually unfriendly territory. As my loyally Republican Post colleague Michael Gerson wrote recently, Republican politicians will abandon Trump only “if they see it as in their self-interest.” For this to happen, they will have “to watch a considerable number of their fellow Republicans lose.”

Friends of republican democracy are called upon to set aside their differences to resist the corruption of presidential authority, to stand up for truth, and to insist that Trump be held accountable.

The priority of 2018 is for our nation to rise up and say: Enough.

Well said, Mr. Dionne!  I will add, only, that my two highest priorities in the coming twelve months are removing Trump from office and changing the demographics in Congress through the mid-term elections.  These goals necessarily start with protecting the sanctity of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into ties between the Trump entourage and Russian interference in our election and democratic process.  I will also be focusing on the actions of current members of Congress who are not working in the interest of this nation or its people.  Other issues that I cannot ignore are climate change and our role in the global effort to protect our environment, the decline of the value of education in the U.S., and everything else that affects the quality and equality of life.  Looks like I have my work cut out for me, yes?  Here’s to fighting he good fight starting … NOW!

9 thoughts on “Focus on What’s Important …

  1. At the first sign of in-fighting at any Democrat meeting, etc the senior official shall be empowered to thwack the participants over the head with a rolled up poster of Trump while intoning ‘Waddya think we’re here for Shmuck!!’
    Just my friendly suggestion. (tips hats in a jovial manner)


  2. Jill, I also like Dionne’s work. He is thoughtful in his opinions even when I may not totally agree with a point. Our democracy is in crisis with this man’s recurring attack on the truth, the media and civil rights. Also, his faux populism is unwound when his many decisions are shown to heavily favor the haves such as stopping a planned mortgage premium reduction for a million people just two hours into his Presidency, his support of stopping the requirement that financial advisors must make prudent recommendations on your behalf not theirs, his attack on the ACA and cutting funding to help poor people with deductibles and copses and his tax law which favors the wealthy.

    And, if he is not guilty of Russian involvement, why is he acting so guilty? With Bannon’s comments, things will start coming to a head on the near future. Kushner and maybe Junior will be on the next indictment list. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • All true, but since every single thing he has done is against the ‘populist’ platform, against the best interests of the naion, and benefits,typically, only his wealthy cronies, how is he still polling at 37% – 38% in the aggregate polls? Are his base truly unaware of how the passage of the tax bill will affect them? Are they really that disbelieving in climate change that they are willing to bet their grandchildren’s futures on it? I’m just so confused by that.

      Yes, I think we are going to see a bunch of fireworks and then, perhaps, a big bang in the coming weeks. I just hope innocent people don’t get hurt.


  3. Dear Jill,

    Needless to say E.J. Dionne is one of my favorite columnists.I am in love with his slogan, “Had Enough, Vote Democrat.”

    The only nuanced adjustment to his ideas would be when the impeachment process should begin. My instincts would be for DEMS to push hard to win as many seats as possible in the US Congress and elsewhere; and then to set up a 9/11 type commission with non-partisan list of who’s who to thoroughly investigate and publish anything and everything associated with the Trump Russian saga.

    By then Mr. Mueller, the Special Counsel for the FBI should have dug up enough data to begin the impeachment papers. Before then, impeachment procedures which should have been started with the help of at least a few republicans, would have been inundated with obstacles created by a republican led congress which would muddy the waters to the point that the impeachment process could be tainted as partisan.

    But I am torn on this point.

    I will be writing a blog soon arguing that the House and the Senate of the US Congress need to legislatively protect the FBI Special Counsel Mr. Mueller from being fired. If they can’t muster up enough votes for this step, then I am open to demanding impeachment asap.

    In short, I am with Mr. Dionne, there is nothing more important than turning the US congress into a democratically led body. This would be a righteous start to a new beginning.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 3 people

    • Much as I would like to see Trump gone tomorrow, I agree with you, that an effort too soon would be destined to fail and perhaps jeopardize future efforts. I think our best hope is the Mueller investigation, and I would bet money that if Bob Mueller is allowed to complete his investigation, there will be more than adequate grounds to remove Trump from office immediately. Meanwhile, yes, let’s put our efforts toward upending Congress in November!!! I’m glad we’re on the same side! Hugs!!!

      Liked by 1 person

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