For John, BLUF: Where is the Democratic Party and where is it going? Nothing to see here; just move along.
Here is the sub-headline:
To counter Donald Trump, and to prepare for 2020, the Party needs to think big.
From The New Yorker, by Ms Margaret Talbot, 14 January 2018.
Here is the lede plus two:
One of the worst side effects of Trumpism is the way that it drives its opponents into reactive mode, amid an atmosphere of cooked-up chaos. Donald Trump wants to build a “great, great wall,” and last week he considered declaring a national emergency to do it, despite the fact that illegal border crossings have drastically decreased since 2000, and that many of those trying to cross these days are women and children who are not evading border guards but seeking them out, to ask for asylum. At the outset of 2019, we’re in the second week of a partial government shutdown—which Trump said could last for months or years—because congressional Democrats have had to take his fixation seriously and insist that they won’t allocate the five billion dollars that he wants for the wall. (The actual costs of a concrete barrier could climb as high as forty billion dollars, according to an analysis in M.I.T. Technology Review, and a report from the Government Accountability Office warns that the wall could “cost more than projected, take longer than planned, or not fully perform as expected.”)
Democrats are offering two compromises that would reopen government agencies and give the Department of Homeland Security $1.3 billion to improve border-security technology and other measures, including fortified fencing. Meanwhile, some sense of the psychological vagaries that Democrats have to contend with can be derived from the increasingly peculiar way that Trump talks about the wall, as though it were not a policy but a totem—for the protection of his own ego, perhaps. “The wheel, the wall, some things never get old,” he said last week, at a rambling Cabinet meeting.
Still, whatever compromise is eventually reached to reopen the government, the best path forward for the Democrats as they take over the House of Representatives—the most effective way to counter the Administration’s frantic, unmoored agenda-setting, while also motivating voters for 2020—will be to pursue ambitious ideas. These could include the once utopian-sounding Medicare for All; a Green New Deal, to combat climate change while creating jobs; a national fifteen-dollar minimum wage; and a Voting Rights Advancement Act, to revive some of the protections that the Supreme Court eradicated in 2013, in Shelby County v. Holder.
Of course this depends on the individual Democrats being able to stay sane and stable, but they don't seem to have a good track record in that area.
There is, also before us, the Example of Senator E Warren, who seems to be combining her left wing experience with a sense of the issues of flyover land, perhaps based upon her experiences growing up in Oklahoma and time living in Texas.
I am wondering when we will see a like item from The New Yorker with regard to the GOP.
Regards — Cliff