A moral victory is still a loss

Two weeks ago we didn’t know who Jon Ossoff even was; now he’s the poster child of a failed Democratic party, one that cannot take advantage of a president whose historically low approval ratings keep inviting defeats, then fending them off.

The blame game is, of course, at full throttle: the Democratic party is too liberal; it has abandoned its liberal tendencies and become too centrist; Pelosi has to go; being anti-Trump is not enough.

I’m not a Democratic candidate or party leader, just a witness to the disaster, but I do agree that the anti-Trump message is not enough. It wasn’t in November—why would it be now? By the same token, however, it might be enough if Democrats had what Republicans have: an actual leader. Now you may claim that this Republican leader is a halfwit or a moral degenerate or a liar or a scofflaw or at the very least a delusional megalomaniac—and you would be accurate; but as long as the Republicans sense their own victories coming about through his “leadership,” they would be foolish to abandon him.

The Democrats without Obama are adrift. They have been relegated to little Facebook stunts, always coming off like the second-stringers who want a chance to play but can’t get their hands on the ball.

Obama has put in his time and shouldn’t have to rescue the party, but his post-election sense of fair play and reluctance to criticize accomplish nothing. He above all others realizes that the Machiavellian approach of people like Mitch McConnell has prevailed.  Democrats—Obama, Clinton, Pelosi, the lot—who fail to grasp that fact doom this country to a bleak future of stagnation and isolation, entrapped by a self-perpetuating plutocracy.

Trump spins lies and people believe him; the Democrats spin warnings but the voters don’t care. The opposition has always been demonized, they say, and our downward spiral accelerates.

What the Democrats need is a candidate for 2020 and they need him now, a person who will gather some spin and some interest and who will become the de facto party representative. It can’t be Nancy Pelosi anymore. The same constant wingnut onslaught that finally undid Hillary Clinton has undone her also. Remember, in 2013 the Republicans, having watched Romney’s flameout, had no candidates with even a whisper of a chance of uniting the party by 2016…and yet here we are.

It’s time for some Democrat to descend that escalator, to make that grand entrance and tell the American people that he’s running for President of the United States and reveal exactly what he aims to do. He doesn’t have to mention Trump at all, but he does need an actual platform and a method to articulate it. Hillary had only the former. (By the way I use he only to be grammatically—or maybe archaically?—correct. A woman with the same ability to articulate a message is needed just as desperately.) But without that leadership we Democrats are no longer the party of Kennedy and Obama, but the party of Dukakis and McGovern—philosophically noble and politically exhausted.

2 Replies to “A moral victory is still a loss”

  1. The team without a coach is also missing a critical number of players. I have to believe that truth and justice will prevail.

    I keep searching for some Zen wisdom to get me through this painful present.

  2. I’ll admit, that defeat Tuesday night—even though I wasn’t surprised—was distressing. It just made me want to say okay, assholes win, they’re in charge, I give up.

    But since that’s exactly what they want, I figure let them earn every minute of their power and never give them a moment’s peace or security. It’s not exactly zen, but it gets me through the day.

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