Our Progress in Resisting — Or Lack Thereof

June 30, 2017

I look forward to each Friday’s column from Andrew Sullivan in New York Magazine.  I don’t always agree with Sullivan, but he consistently makes spot-on observations.  Here’s how this week’s column begins in its section on Trump/The Republicans:

The polls remain dreadful for this joke of a president; the contradictions of Republicanism are being savagely exposed; the legislative agenda of an all-Republican government is careening. And yet I have the sinking feeling that the strategy we’re seeing from the resistance is defeating itself.

Some of this has to do with the usual Democratic mediocrity. Pelosi has no ability to project a coherent message; Schumer seems entirely reactive; and the base has fixed its sights on a Russian-collusion fantasy that may eventually be revealed as a vegan nothing-burger. Can you imagine the victory tour Trump would have then? I just don’t know why we cannot simply let Mueller get on with his job, keep our mouths shut for a while, and wait for whatever results.

Most of the rest of this section of the column deals with the cultural politics of the left (its excesses).  But those two opening paragraphs are what especially draw my attention.  We aren’t getting leadership from the Democratic Party. Where would the Democrats take the country if they were the ascendant party?  What would they do about health care? trade? immigration? foreign policy? energy? Etc.  We need to be waging the 2018 election right now, framing a message that invites everyone to a progressive future. We’re not hearing that from the current putative leadership of the party.  (As Sullivan says toward the end: “Make an actual case on issues people care about, as the Labour Party did in Britain, surprising the world.”)

How about “Make America great again” as a slogan?

Coda: check out the plummeting regard that the world has for the United States under a Trump presidency in this graphic from the Economist.  Notice that the only two countries where confidence in the United States has increased are Israel and Russia.

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About Doug Bennett

Doug Bennett is Emeritus President and Professor of Politics at Earlham College. He has a wife, Ellen, and two sons, Tommy (born 1984) and Robbie (born 2003).
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