“Democrats hate god and country”
To: 2018 GOP Congressional hopefuls
From: Glaringly Obvious Political Strategies, LLC*
Date: March 14, 2018
Subject: Americans are smarter than we thought
On Feb. 2, Punxsutawney Phil predicted winter would end this week. He was wrong. Look outside. Meanwhile, we once thought a Democrat could never compete in Phil’s neighboring Pennsylvania Congressional district in the March 13 special election because we gerrymandered it 100% GOP safe and Trump won here by 20 points. We were so very wrong.
Phil has an excuse: He’s a rodent. We don’t. And it’s another cold day in hell for Republicans.
Maybe this time, after our loss in Alabama and Virginia as well, we’ll learn something before November rolls around. Consider these ten takeaways from this week’s “Ides of March” election:
1. When “I was Trump before Trump was Trump” candidate Rick Saccone loses in a solid Trump district after saying he would be Trump’s “wingman,” and campaigning by Trump, Trump sons and Trump’s vice president, maybe Trump isn’t the ticket to ride? Especially when Trump will quickly dump the loser like a used porn star?
2. While the Trump base is loud, angry and active, and the right-wing media amplifies their impact, do the math. Only 26 percent of eligible voters chose Trump in 2016. (Another 26 percent voted Clinton, while 48 percent chose neither.) Trump’s approval rating has rarely topped 40 percent, the lowest of any modern president at this point.
3. So maybe don’t pile all your chips on the Trump base when a majority of Americans disapprove of Trump and even many Republicans are downright disgusted by the president’s behavior and his White House chaos.
4. Also avoid declaring that our fellow Americans who aren’t conservative Republicans hate God and country. You’ve seen Saccone’s statement on Election Day: “I’ve talked to so many of these on the left, and they have a hatred for our president. And I tell you, many of them have a hatred for our country. I’ll tell you some more — my wife and I saw it again today: They have a hatred for God.” Maybe Saccone said this because he’s stupid, bless his heart, but also perhaps because many in the Trump base believe it since Fox feeds them every day that liberals hate God and country.
5.But it’s never a good idea for candidates to insult voters of any political stripe, as HRC’s “deplorables” comment richly illustrates. Remember: Although Republicans now control all three branches of government in Washington, and most state governments, the majority of Americans are not Republicans. (Also, when slamming Washington, government and politicians, keep in mind: The GOP is in power. So the people we’re hating are us.)
6. Don’t confuse our gerrymandering shenanigans, voter suppression efforts, Koch Bros. millions, or dislike of Clinton or Pelosi, with overwhelming popularity. As of January, per Gallup, 32% of Americans self-identified as Democrats, 22% as Republicans and 44% as independents, many of them moderate swing voters. Our grip on the populous is tenuous.
7. We need those independents and moderates! So, for example, when Saccone calls supporters of a former U.S. Marine captain like Conor Lamb godless America-haters, it turns off reasonable people who respect those who serve our country in uniform, people who love our country enough to be energized to get out and vote. And plenty of conservatives have Democrats — liberal and moderate — as friends and family. Don’t demonize them.
8. On a similar note, trying to divide Democrats and scare liberals away from the polls by painting moderates as not Bernie/Warren enough won’t work. That flier showing Lamb firing an assault weapon to suggest he was an NRA puppet (he’s a former Marine, for chrissake!), and video mocked up to suggest he was fighting with labor unions, are the kinds of campaign tricks intelligent people see through and turn off to. Just because the comments sections on Breitbart and their ilk call liberals stupid, don’t count on it. Best to treat all voters with respect.
9. As such, appealing to Trump’s base is a race to the bottom and out of the majority in Congress in November. Most Americans are not immigrant-despising, CNN-hating gun nuts. Or suckers for Alex Jones’ Infowars conspiracy theories and Russian Facebook memes and GIFs that stir the pot. Most Americans aren’t obsessed with locking up Hillary. Or will stick with Trump even if Putin’s Russian oligarchs are financing the Trump empire and have him by the short and curlies. Or want to blow up Washington for the self-indulgent vengeance. Or retreat America from the world. Or blame “globalists” for their woes. Or want to start trade wars. Or any needless wars.
10.Most Americans in fact are reasonable. They want federal government and regulations — which are created and funded by the Congress people elected — to protect them and the country. They depend on the media — even if healthily skeptical of it — to hold power, R or D, accountable. They want a strong economy and better jobs, schools, healthcare, housing and government, and a sensible way to sustain and pay for it.
Most Americans also want sensible immigration laws that don’t punish the innocent, sensible gun laws that don’t threaten the innocent, and a sensible healthcare system that doesn’t kick out the sick.
Most Americans also like law and order, so obstruction of justice matters, and they like clean elections, so Russian espionage and possible campaign collusion matter.
Reasonable Americans don’t want the President of the United States and Commander in Chief to make a mockery of the office, or use the bully pulpit to bully people, stoke public fear, resentment and division, dog-whistle haters, or abuse social media to insult people.
Most Americans want a president that represents the best of America. Firing his own Secretary of State by tweet — instead of face to face like honorable people do, and then announcing it to the public — is just the latest example of how Trump lacks the basic decency we call American. He will shoot his own people in the back, which we call cowardice.
As of this memo, we have 237 days until mid-term Election Day on Nov. 6.
That’s not much time to shift gears. But let’s heed the alarm bells from PA, AL and VA, respect the electoral math, pat the Trump base on their angry little heads, but reach for the reasonable, responsible American.
Twain said it’s never wrong to do the right thing. In this case, the right thing is also the smart thing.
Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer.
*Disclaimer for the satire-challenged: This is a fake memo. There is no Glaringly Obvious Political (GOP) Strategies, LLC, that I know of. As a longtime moderate Democrat, I’m not trying to help Republicans win. I just want the 2018 elections to be a true correction, getting politics back to appealing not to our baser instincts and resentments, but to Lincoln’s “better angels of our nature.”