“It all comes down to really human stuff,” Van Jones said at an event I attended recently. It was part of a larger series talking about criminal justice reform, and more specifically the passage of the FIRST STEP Act.
Van went on to highlight how he and his organization went through fire and back to pass this bill, all because they had the gall to work with Trump on getting this piece of legislation passed. Van quipped something along the lines of, “These people were all to happy to get in line and help these communities when Barack Obama was president, but as soon as Trump took office, they were nowhere to be found.”
I remember feeling odd hearing Van’s words. Normalizing Trump and the Frankenstein’s monster that is the modern Republican Party is tough, to say the least. While it’s a good thing that people are coming home because of this bill and some oppressive prison policies have been reverted along with some sentencing guidelines being adjusted, if politics is about anything at all it’s quintessentially about optics. In a lot of ways how something or someone looks is far more important than any actual substance. Trump knows this.
That’s why the appearance of bipartisanship is far more important than substance. We like our leaders to work together. What it all boils down to is whether or not we accept Trumpism as the new normal
It’s the question every Democrat grapples with when they consider whether or not to impeach, whether to focus on Trump in their messaging or ignore him, whether to work with Republicans or condemn them, whether to go big with our ideas or remain moderate and whether or not to focus on issues or Trump’s criminality. It’s the question that keeps us all up at night.
I find myself unsure of what even I believe the answer is to this important question. Van’s point was that if you truly want to help communities you should be willing to fight for them whether a Democrat or Republican occupies the presidency. I agree, but in the same vein Trump’s administration is directly responsible for a lot of heinous shit, the most obvious example being the crisis at the southern border. Begrudgingly extending a hand sends the message that maybe this guy isn’t so bad. Maybe he has a point, and them ore acceptable and palatable he becomes. We actually have the same dynamic with Fox News. In debating whether or not Bernie Sanders and others should show up on the network, the arguments fell along the same lines.
Beating Trump, essentially delivering a rebuke to Trump and Trumpism, is paramount; thus, the act of choosing the correct candidate has taken on frantic importance. The specter of 2016 looms large. In the darkest timeline we must conjure images far worse than are current state of affairs where Trump wins a landslide victory and he does away with term limits or even elections all together. All the Fox & Friends hosts are now jesters in his literal court that dance for him when instructed, and in this universe, the New York Times is required by law to write seven fluff pieces about him per day.
I’m writing to you today to tell you that this isn’t the darkest timeline, that our clown king’s days are numbered, and that just this once I give you permission to say these words aloud.
Trump Won’t Be Reelected.
Once you have said it, expel the sentence from your brain until November 4th. But in the back of your mind, nurture that thought: that human’s are objectively good. That we are better than our basest instincts, that fear will not govern us, and all the heinous shit that Trump’s uncorked will evaporate in the midst of his resounding defeat.
I know it doesn’t seem likely, but nothing seems likely until one day it does. And despite what the media tells you, this time around is different. The media may not have learned anything, but you and I have. We have seen who Trump really is, a pathetic man with no North Star, a sad king without any clothes.
If you liked this post, here are a few others I’ve written that you might enjoy: