Say what you want about President Trump – and there are plenty of strong opinions on both sides – but this much is clear. He’s the president that the Democratic Party so richly deserves.
Political pundits are rubbing their hands in anticipation of Democrats taking over Congress in the midterm elections and capturing the White House in two years. The problem is, Democrats don’t have the brains to take advantage of this golden opportunity.
Networks such as CNN and MSNBC are on full-scale “impeachment watch” of Trump, and have been since the day he took office. The TV talking heads, along with leading Democrats, are waiting for special prosecutor Robert Mueller to come up with undisputed evidence that will knock Trump out of the White House once and for all.
But outside of FOX News and conservative talk-show radio, little is said about how inept the Democrats are as far as presenting a viable alternative to Trump and the Republicans. If Democrats take over Congress, Nancy Pelosi would be speaker of the House and Chuck Schumer would be the Senate majority leader. They were among the leaders of the “do-nothing” Congress that Democrats gave us years ago.
Pity the poor Democrats who have to run alongside Pelosi and Schumer. Aaron Swisher, a Democrat who is challenging Congressman Mike Simpson in the Second District, is distancing himself from Pelosi. “I don’t like her,” he says.
I’m guessing that voters in the Second District like her even less.
As for the national ticket, the names I hear include former Vice President Joe Biden (who is knocking on the door of 80), Bernie Sanders (who is even older) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (who has the most annoying voice since Sarah Palin). I’ve even heard rumblings about Hillary Clinton preparing for another run.
Can’t the Democrats find anybody under 70 years old? Or, under Medicare age? Democrats are living in a fantasy world if they think these old warhorses will lead the party to victory this year and two years from now.
Former Idaho Democratic Congressman Richard Stallings agrees with me. He describes Pelosi as “a joke” and is not impressed with Schumer’s leadership. On the national level, Democrats aren’t exactly passing the torch to a new generation.
“For a party with progressive liberals, that sounds like a pretty conservative approach to government,” Stallings says. “If they are going to be progressives, they need to take it all the way and find leadership that will stand out.”
That’s easier said than done, according to Stallings.
“I don’t think the Democrats are smart enough to take advantage of the situation,” Stallings said. “I’ve stopped giving to them years ago, because they were so incompetent. They’ve gotten rid of some mossbacks in the last couple of years, but there still a lot of changes that can be made to make the party stronger and more competitive.”
Running on a platform of “better than Trump” is not enough, says the former congressman.
“This talk about impeachment just fires up the Trump base, and I think that’s a terrible mistake,” says Stallings, who is no fan of Trump. “How can you impeach someone when there’s no evidence of a crime? It’s counter-productive. Congress is not going to impeach him, because they don’t have nearly enough votes even if Democrats take control of the Senate. Move on.”
Trump provides plenty of material for critics and the TV talking heads. But as Congressman Raul Labrador pointed out in a recent commentary, the economic picture – where elections are won and lost – is bright. The growth rate is at 4 percent, and the “normal” is around 2 percent. Labrador attributes the impressive economic numbers to the tax cuts and reducing regulations.
“Within one month of President Trump signing the (tax) bill into law, hundreds of businesses (who collectively employ three million Americans) announced they were giving bonuses, giving pay raises, or making new investments as a direct result of the tax bill. Dozens of Idaho businesses have made similar announcements,” Labrador wrote.
In addition, he said, the stock market is up about 37 percent from Election Day two years ago, and the U.S. unemployment rate is 3.8 percent, matching a 49-year low.
“Republican policies are working,” he says.
That’s more than what’s working on the Democratic side, for sure.
Chuck Malloy, a long-time Idaho journalist, is a columnist with Idaho Politics Weekly. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org