October 2018 Democrats: Keep Your Eye on the Ball

October 2018 Democrats: Keep Your Eye on the Ball

Democrats: Keep Your Eye on the Ball

The midterm election coming up in just a few weeks is the most important mid term election in my lifetime. We have one shot at impeding a tyrannical president, who is leading our country into dangerous and unchartered waters.

The simple message that resonates with almost anyone uneasy with the path Trump is taking our country is this: we need to put the brakes on. The polls all show Trump’s declining popularity except from his stalwart base. A large percentage of Americans are unhappy with what is happening with regard to addressing climate change, the way immigrants are being treated, disparities in income, tax breaks for the rich and super rich, tariff wars, gun violence, access to affordable health care, police brutality against people of color, unaffordable college education, how women are treated, the Russian interference in our elections, and our weakening role as a leader of nations. The list goes on.

Democrats are, for the most part, very aware of these issues. You can’t pick up a newspaper or turn on the TV without being reminded of the fragile and frightening state we are in right now. But it is not just us Democrats. It is also a high percentage of Independents, whose ranks are growing as disillusioned Republicans jump ship, and some traditional Republicans, especially well educated, suburban women, who for now are staying in the party.

But it is no longer the Republican Party. It is the Party of Trump. And there is not a single “formerly” Republican representative in Congress who has had the courage to consistently take on the president for his unconscionable behavior. With the Party of Trump in the majority in both houses of Congress, Trump is getting pretty much what he wants. There is no way to stop him unless Democrats regain control of at least one branch of government. This is, after all, the role our Founding Fathers intended for the legislative branch of government.

The midterm election is our opportunity to put the brakes on. That is the central message we Democrats must broadcast relentlessly between now and the November 6 election: “Elect people who will stand up to Trump!”

It looks like we have a good chance of taking back control of the House, not so much the Senate, but even that is possible. What we need is a Blue Wave and a big one. This will send a message that America has not sold out on its traditional values and that there is no place for a narcissistic demagogue leading our country. It will show that America still has the resilience to make mid-course corrections.

Whether we succeed or not will depend on two things: getting a large share of the Independent and moderate Republican vote and voter turnout by Democrats. Trump’s base will turn out en mass. The record for Democrats turning out in midterm elections is poor, bordering on terrible. If we are going to change the direction of the country, this year has to be different.

So Democrats: keep your eye on the ball. Though his name is not on the ballot, the 2018 midterm election is about Trump and only about Trump. Checks and balances must return. The stakes have never been higher.

–Joseph Howell, Chair, Task Force on Populism

Howell is the author of Hard Living on Clay Street, originally published in 1973 with a 2017 edition with the cover endorsement by Joan C. Williams of the University of California: “Want to know why Trump won the 2016 election? Read this book.”