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Democrats’ cowardice must end: It’s time to teach the GOP a lesson

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Weakness emboldens bullies, liars and cheaters. More often than not, the only way to force such unsavory characters to play by the rules is to punch them in the nose every now and then (metaphorically speaking, of course).

Thanks to the Democrats’ cowardice, Republicans – like the cheaters and hypocrites some of them are – are making a mockery of American politics.

As Steve Bannon aptly noted, “We [the Right] go for the head wound, and your side has pillow fights.”

Too true. Democrats seem all too content bringing safety scissors, a sippy cup and diapers to political showdowns with bazooka-wielding Republicans.

Why? The GOP represents a minority of voters and the most economically unproductive parts of the country, making Republican bullying beyond egregious — and Democrats’ timidity too absurd to comprehend.

Unsurprisingly, the Democratic Party’s go-to political strategy – a pitiful mix of racing to concede defeat on critical issues, allowing Republicans to frame the debate and refusing to return fire when the GOP resorts to dirty tricks – has left America on the brink of catastrophe.

If Democrats have an iota of interest in standing up to Republican bullying, the gloves must come off. Indeed, the Democratic Party will quickly learn that standing up – forcefully – to Republicans will quickly earn them the trust and respect of the American people. After all, who doesn’t like a good Robin Hood story?

If Republicans engage in the ultimate act of political hypocrisy and fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Supreme Court seat, Democrats must not waver in their response. They must pack the court without a shred of the hesitation, submissiveness and timidity that now defines their party.

Whether a future Democratic Senate installs a liberal majority or mercifully returns the court to an ideological balance is less important than teaching Republicans a long-overdue lesson: Bullying, hypocrisy and double-standards have consequences. Knock it off.

Moreover, Democrats must whip up their base by engaging in the fear-mongering that the GOP mastered decades ago. The only difference is that, while many Republicans rely on lies and racial scapegoating to claw their way to power, a regressive, Handmaid’s Tale-style reality is now increasingly plausible. Scare people with facts. It works.

To further knock Republicans off balance, Democrats must immediately initiate impeachment procedures against Trump for any number of high crimes and misdemeanors. Reportedly begging China’s president for reelection help seems like an obvious starting point.

And, while we’re at it, why on earth haven’t Democrats launched round after round of congressional investigations into the Trump administration’s evisceration of core American institutions and the unnecessary deaths of 200,000 citizens? Why aren’t House Democrats taking a page from the Republican playbook and hauling in an endless stream of witnesses just before a critical election?

Indeed, Republicans had zero qualms corrupting congressional authority when Barack Obama was in office. Remember the years of frivolous Benghazi investigations? Or the GOP’s political fishing expeditions into the IRS and Fast and Furious non-scandals?

Apparently, the Democrats can’t muster even a feeble counter-assault as Senate Republicans launder pro-Trump Russian disinformation right in front of their noses.

It gets worse. Republicans cannot win key elections without resorting to attempting to suppress voting and extreme gerrymandering.

What have Democrats done in retaliation? Nothing.

Should they magically sprout a spine, Democrats must make Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico states, replete with four brand new, deep blue senators. After all, wasn’t “No taxation without representation” the rallying cry of the American republic?

D.C. and Puerto Rican Statehood would be a fitting rebuttal to Trump’s despicable words and deeds.

Moreover, consider that one vote in deep-red Wyoming (which contributes next to nothing to the American economy) is worth nearly four times more than a vote in California (the fifth-largest economy in the world).

How is that stunning disparity remotely acceptable in a democracy?

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The Democratic Party has eagerly waved the white flag of surrender on a litany of make-or-break issues, all while allowing an extraordinarily well-funded right-wing propaganda machine to frame the debate.

Democrats, in other words, have been cowed into fighting on the GOP’s terms.

Let’s start with abortion. According to American evangelicals of the 1960s and early 1970s, the Bible is a “pro-choice” text. So why – when they have the undisputed biblical high ground – have Democrats simply stopped debating the most enduring, divisive, Republican-engineered wedge issue in American politics?

Indeed, before the GOP weaponized abortion for political power, leading evangelicals cited Exodus 21:22 (and Numbers 5:20-22) to make the case that “God does not regard the fetus as a soul.”

The Bible has not changed over the last 40 years – evangelicals have.

Why isn’t the Democratic Party drawing attention to this colossal flip-flop every single moment of every day? There is, quite literally, no political downside to Democrats going on Fox News and using the Bible to blow up the artificial wedge issue that, more than any others, keeps the Republican Party afloat.

Indeed, why aren’t Democrats using megaphones to remind Republicans that the Bible – from Genesis, Job and Ezekiel to the Book of Revelation – states that human life begins not at conception, but at first breath?

Come on, Democrats. Learn from Republicans: Keep your opponents on their heels. Never stop attacking. Divide and conquer.

On that note, why aren’t Democrats opening another front against Republicans by pushing for an ultra-constitutional approach to gun ownership? Republicans claim allegiance to the Constitution, yet conveniently forget the first 13 words of the Second Amendment.

Why aren’t Democrats in GOP-style lockstep that 50 years of Republicans prostrating themselves to the ultra-wealthy resulted in the wholesale destruction of the American middle class?

Why aren’t Democrats making the obvious connection between the egregious economic inequality sweeping America – which disproportionately harms Trump’s core voters – and Trump’s massive tax cuts for the ultra-rich?

Why aren’t Democrats spending every waking moment of their political careers tying the despair, anger and misery of much of Trump’s base directly to the long-term effects of the GOP’s unyielding fealty to the 1 percent

Republicans successfully manipulating the victims of the GOP’s own disastrous policies is the greatest political con in history. And timid Democrats seem content with letting them get away with it.

Marik von Rennenkampff served as an analyst with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, as well as an Obama administration appointee at the U.S. Department of Defense. Follow him on Twitter @MvonRen.

Tags 2020 presidential campaign 2020 presidential election Barack Obama Politics of the United States Presidency of Donald Trump Republican Party Republicanism in the United States Ruth Bader Ginsburg Steve Bannon

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