Much of the Democratic Party’s strategy for fighting Donald Trump has been to attack his character and his temperament. If the President’s first address to Congress is any indication of how he will approach the rest of his term, the Democrats are going to need to find a new strategy. Fast.
Cnn Political Commentator Van Jones responded today on President Trump’s first speech to a joint session of congress and how the liberals should respond. He said, “So much of what the liberals have made an issue of isn’t just his agenda, but it’s his temperament and his tone and his team…liberals are going to have to reset. He is not going to always just hand us opportunities to go after him.”
ALL liberals must heed Jones’ words. Hillary Clinton’s campaign believed that it could beat Trump by emphasizing his personality flaws and his bigotry-laced rhetoric rather than making his insufferable policy agenda the central focus. This resulted in a miserable defeat for Clinton. The election proved, even though much of Trump’s language during the campaign was odious and repulsive, that the American people are ultimately concerned with policy above all. And yet, since the election the Democrats have continued to rely on Trump’s impulsive attitude to feed them political ammunition to use against him. But if last night’s speech foreshadows Trump’s future behavioral patterns, the Democrats’ failed approach may no longer even be a viable option.
Did reading off of a teleprompter help Trump appear more composed? Probably. Did the speech present a litany of disastrous policy proposals? Absolutely. Was the speech permeated with lies and misleading information? Of course it was. However, the speech was effective and, dare I say, presidential. My biggest takeaway from this speech was that Trump has the ability to act mature and to demonstrate the necessary temperament of being president. For much of the Democratic Party, this should be a scary thought. The ability for corporate Democrats to mask their own policy shortcomings by painting Trump as a reckless bigot could be dead and gone. Trump stood in front of the country and generally tried to unify all parties and ethnic groups and did so in a professional manner that he had yet to display. And if Trump continues to preach in this manner certain progressive policies such as lowering prescription drug prices (yes I am talking to you Cory Booker), the corporate Democrats will have no answer. Like Jones said, liberals are going to have to reset.
Now that Trump has shown the potential to act presidential, hopefully the Democrats will realize that the only way to effectively confront Trump is by exposing his disregard for facts and pushing an actual progressive platform. Americans have emphatically rejected the status quo agenda that Hillary Clinton and the rest of the neoliberals continue to put forth. The Democrats need to fight for a progressive agenda that includes policies that benefit the people and not just wealthy campaign donors. The corporate Democrats need to either get on board or step aside if they truly want to prevent a second term of the Trump Administration.