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It's Not Just Capitol Hill Democrats Who Are Still Traumatized By The 2016 Election.

4 min read

It may be a bit extreme to agree with the statement that Capitol Hill Democrats are suffering from some form of PTSD over Election 2016 (I think John Heleimann who said that), but I’m seeing things in the comments section here on Daily Kos that have me seriously concerned about some Democratic voters or even some pundits.  Specifically, there is this nasty premise that Democrats are not going to win back the U.S. Senate in 2020.  Therefore, if a Democrat wins the White House, he/she better think of some way to work with a Senate still dominated by Mitch McConnell.  And we would all be in a better place if the Democratic candidate was some kind of bipartisan miracle worker or uniter.  Yes, defeat Trump.  Everyone agrees on that.  But McConnell and his fellow Senate Republicans are not seriously factored into the equation for political defeat by some.

This is so misguided on many levels.

First, who is helping Trump with his agenda?  Who is preventing any House bills from seeing the light of day?  Who is protecting Trump from oversight and from being convicted if there is any impeachment by the House?  Who is actively rigging the judiciary?

Mitch McConnell and his fellow Senate Republicans.

Who brags about being the “Grim Reaper”?  Who bragged about stealing a Democratic SCOTUS pick?  Who actively sabotaged the Obama agenda?

Mitch McConnell and his fellow Senate Republicans.

NO DEMOCRATIC AGENDA will move forward while Mitch McConnell controls the Senate and the filibuster continues to exist.  It makes no difference if the bills are proposed by a conservative, moderate, or liberal Democratic president.  Obama proposed bills that Republicans had supported in the past, but McConnell and his Republicans blocked those bills.  If you don’t believe me, go ask Obama.

Obama bent over backwards trying to make deals with the Republicans, and they kept moving the goal posts.  Obstructionism and political and economic sabotage were being played by Republicans long before Trump showed up.  So what makes anyone think that there is some great uniter who will be able to work with McConnell?

I will repeat this:  it does not matter where the Democratic candidate is on the political spectrum, McConnell will not play nice with them.

We cannot do half measures here folks.  We cannot just defeat Trump and expect things to suddenly change.  The path for Trump to take power was paved for by McConnell and the other Republicans.  Therefore, we must take back both the U.S. Senate and the White House.

It is just my belief (emphasis on that word), but I think the fear of Trump has blinded some to the dangers of the modern Republican Party.  Democrats believed that Clinton would win in 2016, and it was a huge shock that the fucking electoral college gave it to Trump.  Believe me.  I’m still reeling from that myself.  And many want to play it “safe” and find a candidate who will defeat Trump without alienating a large swath of voters in 2020.  Defeating McConnell and his Senate Republicans is an after thought to the primary goal of defeating Trump.

And I am seeing this play out in some of the comments on Daily Kos.  There are these impassioned arguments that we have to pick someone for our nominee that can work with Republicans.  The voters want Democrats to work with Republicans!  People want bipartisanship!  Progressives are out of touch with what voters want, and only a moderate candidate can get things done working with Republicans! It’s a smart strategy to push for bipartisanship while running for president!

I will belabor this point.  A President Joe Biden will not get to sign any bill of significance with a Republican controlled Senate.  Nor will Corey Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Bill Bennet, or Steve Bullock.  You could make Joe Manchin our presidential candidate, and it will make no difference.  Hey, why not draft Joe Lieberman?  Lord knows he is now an “independent” who has pissed all over Democrats.  Maybe he would have a better time of negotiating with Mitch McConnell?

I think it is a terrible idea to internalize as an axiom that Democrats cannot win back the Senate in 2020.  And I think that this is a narrative that Republicans and others in the political establishment want.  If we as Democrats accept that McConnell and Republicans will hold power after 2020, it will become a self fulfilling prophecy.  The Senate is out of our reach, so let’s go for the White House instead.

Then what?  We have the White House and House.  Senate Republicans will give a Democratic president the middle finger.

And running on a bipartisan platform normalizes what Republicans stand for.  It says to the voters, “It’s OK to vote for a Democrat for President and a Republican for the Senate.  They will split the difference and make great legislation.”  We had that under Obama and Clinton.  

How did that work out?

The Republican Party is now the party of Trump.  Does anyone truly think that we can negotiate with the Trump Party?  We have to defeat BOTH Trump and the Senate Republicans.

Let’s not let fear dictate our political strategies.  We must defeat the Republicans in 2020.  Period.

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