1. It’s Wednesday, July 11, 2018.
2. Leon Spinks turns 65 today. That’s one of those that makes someone of my era feel really old.
3. Today’s a double treat for those of us into numbers.
Of course, it’s 7-11, so it should be lucky. Although obviously not if you’re English.
It’s also one of just two times in the 21st century when today is mathematically correct. The next time is July 11, 2077.
4. Here is what i’ve concluded 537 days into the Trump administration: It is a waste of time, breath, electrons and anger to expect this presidency and its band of rogues to spontaneously combust from unmitigated evil.
My 85-year-old mother – an unapologetic, unrelenting, unwavering Democrat – keeps asking me when Trump will be impeached. Last week, she wanted to start a pool on when the House would vote.
As much as I hate disappointing my mom, I told her this: It ain’t gonna happen.
Impeachment would be an awful solution to the Trump problem. Not quite worse than the actual problem itself, but too close to it to make it worthwhile.
Unless it can be conclusively proven that Trump’s conspiring with Russia actually altered 2016 election results that tipped the Electoral College in his favor, there’s no way impeachment can be justified.
As of right now, Trump won the 2016 election by the rules in place. And while most leaders of any stature would have done something, anything, to appeal to the 2,904,897 more people who voted for Hillary Clinton, the fact is they gave him the keys to the White House legitimately.
And, even if the votes were there – and they’re not – all impeachment would do is exacerbate the fissures in our society.
Which is what Putin has wanted all along. He probably couldn’t give a damn whether Republicans or Democrats run the country. He just wants the outcome that weakens the United States. He knew the Republicans were pliable and he took advantage, but impeachment would just divide the country even further and weaken it more.
Yes, Trump is awful. I want to prosecute him for what his administration has done to people seeking refuge in this country from the horrors of Central American violence. I want him to serve time in a federal penitentiary for that.
And if he and his minions collaborated with Putin, they deserve to rot in hell.
But merely getting angry doesn’t help. It just emboldens the pillbugs. They see the anger – not to mention the pain and hardship – Trump policies cause as “liberal tears” they can drink. It’s a joke to them.
It’s also a waste of bile to get riled up by congressional Republicans. Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell wanted what they wanted – their agenda, enacted.
It doesn’t matter what Trump did. It doesn’t matter what the Russians did. They are single-minded in their mission – undoing everything Democrats and even Republicans have done since the start of the 20th century.
5. So what should Democrats do?
They don’t control the presidency, the Congress, the Supreme Court or a majority of state governments.
The idea is to change that.
That can’t really happen until the midterm election in November. And even then, it’s a crapshoot. Republicans, through gerrymandering, have rigged some of these states so that it’s incredibly difficult to win even if they win.
But the midterms are where it’s gotta start. And Democrats have to win as many House, Senate, gubernatorial and state legislative races as they can. They shouldn’t concede any of them because the district or state is too historically “red.” You can’t win if you don’t play.
And here’s the other thing: Winning won’t happen if all Democrats do is say they’re not Trump.
I still believe people vote FOR things, not against them. For the Democrats to win as convincingly as they need to – to begin the task of rescuing this country and restoring its place as a leader among nations, and not Vladimir Putin’s chewtoy – they need to stand for stuff.
They need to show that they are thinking about the 21st – and even the 22nd – century world.
George Washington believed that the best defense is a good offense. He proved that at Trenton in 1776, crossing the Delaware on Christmas night in a surprise attack that set the British back just enough. This was after he got womped through most of the other 358 or so days of the year.
The Democrats need to remember this. For the past three years, Trump’s nihilism has dominated the national conversation. The whole idea of making America great again implies that the solution to the nation’s problems lies in doing what we did 75 or 100 years ago.
That’s not how progress is made. That’s not how great nations stay great.
We need to excite the imaginations of the American people. We need to tell them there are other things we can do to restore our authority as a leader in the world.
It isn’t trashtalking Angela Merkel.
It isn’t keeping those who truly seek freedom for entering our country.
It isn’t making women subserviant to the whims of the religious right.
It isn’t limiting health care to those who can afford it.
It isn’t trying to restore coal as a way to power modern technology.
And it sure as hell isn’t turning the necessary task of protecting our nation into Gestapo-lite tactics that leave parents terrified that they’ll never see their kids again.
Democrats must – absolutely must – spell out what they want to do to make this country better. And they need to sell those ideas. Every day. A tag team of party leaders making themselves visible online and on the air. 24/7/365.
The ideas don’t have to be perfect – what plays for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York might need to be different for Doug Jones in Alabama. And then you work out the differences.
But Democrats need to stand for something substantive. Not for the people who support Trump – they’re not listening to anything we say. This is their bonfire of the vanities and they’re too busy dancing around the blaze they’ve set to everything great this nation has done since World War II.
This is for the people who actually care about this country and what it stands for. Or who want to care and haven’t been engaged because it hasn’t affected them – until now. We outnumber the Trumpistas. We did on Nov. 8, 2016 and nothing that’s happened since then will change that.
I am no expert on public policy. I’m barely knowledgable about journalism, a profession I’ve worked in for 40 years.
But I have some ideas. Over the next few weeks, I’ll share them. And what I hope you’ll do is think about what you want Democrats to do besides get angry at what Trump and his people do.
Because getting angry isn’t making things better. Winning might.