The Kennedys vs. Trump

The Kennedys vs. Trump
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Lets interrupt our discussions of obstruction of justice and standards for impeachment to consider some uplifting news for Democrats and Americans.

I enthusiastically support the candidacy of Christopher Kennedy, son of Robert and Ethel Kennedy and a passionate progressive in the Democratic tradition, who is seeking the Democratic nomination to run for governor of Illinois in 2018.

Chris Kennedy is a can-do business executive who has managed major Kennedy family enterprises and has long been a civic leader and champion of protecting the environment, educating our children, feeding the hungry, standing up for workers and elevating our politics.


By contrast, with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner in Illinois and President Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpGillibrand backs federal classification of third gender: report Former Carter pollster, Bannon ally Patrick Caddell dies at 68 Heather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN Ambassador job MORE in Washington, Kennedy stands for a moral vision of public service in which “here on earth, God’s work must truly be our own,” to quote Jack Kennedy, his uncle.

In early April I wrote a column titled “Joe Kennedy’s Big Truth” about the leadership of Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (D-Mass.) in opposing the monstrous bill passed by House Republicans to repeal ObamaCare, which has created an intense national backlash that dramatically increases the growing chances that Democrats will regain control of Congress.

While Chris Kennedy is a leader rising in Illinois, Joe Kennedy is a leader rising in Congress who was recently chosen to spearhead the drive of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to win more House seats in the Northeast in the coming midterm elections.

Chris Kennedy’s campaign for governor will receive major national attention as 2018 comes closer because it creates a powerful and dramatic contrast between the vision of America of the Kennedys and Democrats and the vision of America of Trump and Republicans.

In the America of the Kennedys the patriotic purpose of politics is to lift the lives of people with the higher calling of asking what each of us can do for our country, and not only ourselves.

In the America of Trump, the purpose of politics is to use government to make more money for oneself, masquerading as populism but glorifying greed, vanity and self-interest.

In the America of the Kennedys, immigrants are those who came and made America great, while in the America of Trump, immigrants are often portrayed as foreign objects who should be demonized as campaign props designed to appeal to racism and fear.

In the America of Chris Kennedy and Joe Kennedy, workers deserve a higher wage with equal pay in a rising tide that lifts all boats. In the America of Trump, workers and contractors should be stiffed whenever possible, while maternal care for mothers should be treated as optional or cut to finance tax cuts for the rich.

When I first came to Washington, by good fortune and not great talent, I began working as a junior political aide to then-Sen. Birch Bayh (D-Ind.) on my fourth day as a college freshman. Every Friday afternoon my bosses would take me to the Mayflower Hotel, where Kenny O’Donnell, the great friend and confidant of Jack and Bobby, would tell us stories about the great men he knew and loved.

Some like me learned politics from the great aspirations of the Kennedys; others like Trump learned politics from the enemies list of Richard Nixon.

I vividly remember many things that O’Donnell told us. “Some days Jack, Bobby and I would get to the White House very early,” O’Donnell told us one afternoon, “and Jack would ask us, ‘How are we going to change the world today?’ ”

In the America of the Kennedys — John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Ted Kennedy, Chris Kennedy, Joe Kennedy and all who believe in what they stand for — politics is about action that achieves results that make the world a better place.

The Kennedys champion human rights and challenge dictators to tear down walls. Trump praises dictators and wants to build new walls.

Chris Kennedy and Democrats battle for the dreams that never die. Donald Trump and Republicans battle to escape impeachment.


Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), then-chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. in international financial law from the London School of Economics. The views expressed by this author are their own and are not the views of The Hill.