I’m struck at how many people have come up to me recently and said, “Trump’s going to get reelected, isn’t he?” And in each case, when I drilled down to ask why, I bumped into the Democratic presidential debates in June. I think a lot of Americans were shocked by some of the things they heard there. I was.
I was shocked that so many candidates in the party whose nominee I was planning to support want to get rid of the private health insurance covering some 250 million Americans and have “Medicare for All” instead. I think we should strengthen Obamacare and eventually add a public option.
I was shocked that so many were ready to decriminalise illegal entry into our country. I think people should have to ring the doorbell before they enter my house or my country.
I was shocked at all those hands raised in support of providing comprehensive health coverage to unauthorised immigrants. I think promises we’ve made to our fellow Americans should take priority, like to veterans in need of better health care.
And I was shocked by how feeble was front-runner Joe Biden’s response to the attack from Kamala Harris — and to the more extreme ideas promoted by those to his left.
So, I wasn’t surprised to hear so many people expressing fear that the divisive and climate-change-denying man, who is our president was going to get reelected, and was even seeing his poll numbers rise.
Dear Democrats: This is not complicated! Just nominate a decent, sane person, one committed to reunifying the country and creating more good jobs, a person who can gain the support of the independents, moderate Republicans and suburban women who abandoned Donald Trump in the midterms and thus swung the House of Representatives to the Democrats and could do the same for the presidency.
But please, spare me the revolution! It can wait. Win the presidency, hold the House and narrow the spread in the Senate, and a lot of good things still can be accomplished. “No,” you say, “the left wants a revolution now!” OK, I’ll give the left a revolution now: four more years of Donald Trump.
Four years of Trump unburdened by the need to run for reelection and able to amplify his racism and likely get to name two right-wing Supreme Court justices under age 40.
Yes sir, that will be a revolution!
If the fear of that doesn’t motivate the Democratic Party’s base, then shame on those people. Not all elections are equal. Some elections are a vote for great changes — like the Great Society. Others are a vote to save the country. This election is the latter.
That doesn’t mean a Democratic candidate should stand for nothing, just keep it simple: Focus on building national unity and good jobs.
I say national unity because many Americans are terrified and troubled by how bitterly divided, and therefore paralysed, the country has become. There is an opening for a unifier.
And I say good jobs because when the wealth of the top 1% equals that of the bottom 90%, we do have to redivide the pie. I favour raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans to subsidise universal pre-K education and to reduce the burden of student loans. Let’s give kids a head start and college grads a fresh start.
But I’m disturbed that so few of the Democratic candidates don’t also talk about let alone celebrating American entrepreneurs and risk-takers. Where do they think jobs come from?
Trump is growing the pie by cannibalising the future. He is creating a growth spurt by building up enormous financial and carbon debts that our kids will pay for.
Democrats should focus on how we create sustainable wealth and good jobs, which is the American public-private partnership model: Government enriches the soil and entrepreneurs grow the companies.
It has always been what’s made us rich, and we’ve drifted away from it: investing in quality education and basic scientific research; promulgating the right laws and regulations to incentivise risk-taking and prevent recklessness and monopolies that can cripple free markets; encouraging legal immigration of both high-energy and high-IQ foreigners; and building the world’s best enabling infrastructure — ports, roads, bandwidth and basic social safety nets. The message is simple and it can connect with enough Democrats — as well as independents, moderate Republicans and suburban women — to win the White House.
— New York Times
Thomas L. Friedman is a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and author.