AVOIDING THE WILDERNESS

1. It’s Tuesday, June 13, 2017.

2. It’s the 50th anniversary of Thurgood Marshall’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

3. Yesterday’s Trump meeting with the lapdog members of his Cabinet seems like a scene from a James Bond film.

But here’s what happens if this is a movie: Trump acknowledges the expressions of fealty and subordination to him. Then he says, “That’s fine. But one of you isn’t as loyal as the others.”

The camera pans the panicky faces of his ministers. Then, the floor suddenly opens up under one of them — and the hapless not-sycophantic-enough secretary falls into a piranha tank.

One can only hope.

4. Much has been made in recent weeks about the fact that the Democratic Party is still very divided.

It has been so since last year’s election, in the Hillary Clinton-Bernie Sanders battle.

The split will be manifest today in Virginia, where a gubernatorial primary pits Lieutenant Gov. Ralph Northam, backed by the establishment folks who supported Clinton, against former Rep. Tom Perriello, the candidate endorsed by Sanders and his faction in the party.

It’s not so simple to say Northam, who admits to voting for George W. Bush twice, is the moderate and Perrielllo is the progressive.

Northam has taken strong positions in favor of gun control and in support of reproductive rights. Perriello has been trying to make amends on both of those issues, having won the NRA’s endorsement in the past and offered an amendment to the Affordable Care Act that would have restricted coverage of abortions.

If I lived in Virginia, I’d be hard-pressed to choose between the two. If anything would sway me, I think it’s the fact that Perriello has ever embraced the NRA – gun control is a make-or-break issue for me, and Northam is on the side of the angels with his proposal to ban assault weapons.

5. All that said, the most important thing to happen tonight is that the loser congratulate the winner and pledge complete support to him.

The likely Republican candidate is Ed Gillespie. He’s a party establishment figure – and we’ve seen what they’re about in 2017, cravenly supporting Trump to advance their own agenda. Gillespie’s got the advantage of running against a Trump wannabe – he’s going to look reasonable.

And the Democrats need to hold this statehouse. As I’ve stated before, they need to win every election they can, right down to town highway supervisor and village selectman.

It’s the party’s failure to pay attention to those details that have put it in this ridiculous predicament that it is virtually powerless to stop the Trump nightmare.

Replaying the 2016 election doesn’t solve anything. Sanders’ supporters made their case for reforming the Democratic Party, and those on the pro-Clinton side need to take some of their ideas into account. And the Sanders folks need to understand that no candidate is 100% pure, and that compromises for the common good sometime have to be made.

And the common good is getting rid of Trump and the Republicans.

In the end, I think Democrats will come together. If last year proves anything, sitting out an election is a disaster. Voting for a third party – anyone who spits up Jill Stein’s name should have someone vomit right back at them – is a disaster.

Democrats must hang together and fight. The only way to protect health care, the environment and everything else we hold dear is to be united.

Otherwise, we’re stuck here in the wilderness. And so is the rest of the world.

 

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