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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/8/19

Can Democrats grow a spine before American democracy collapses in a limp, lifeless heap?

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It took just six months to squander the glorious moment when Pelosi took back the gavel as speaker in January, when the Democrats could finally claim one hand on the wheel of a runaway government. Remember the Michael Cohen hearing last winter, supposedly just the down payment on two years of hearings, subpoenas and aggressive oversight that would expose Trump leading up to the 2020 election and keep his authoritarian tendencies in check? Instead, that was both the beginning and the end. Without the bludgeon of an impeachment inquiry, there have been no more impactful hearings. Subpoenas and laws requiring information be given to Congress and to the public are routinely ignored, and instead of responding right away, the Democrats take weeks to fight back. Team Trump is running out the clock on constitutional checks and balances, and it's working.

Robert Mueller
Robert Mueller
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The Mueller report is a litany of high crime and misdemeanors committed by the president of the United States. But it's hard to say what was more remarkable about the Mueller rollout the unusually clever obstructions of Team Trump or the ineptness of the Democrats in coping with that. It took weeks for the House Dems to even get Robert Mueller to agree to testify, with the aim of turning a report that too few people read into a TV show that everyone will watch.

That happens on July 17, but let's be brutally honest. The Mueller moment has already passed, and the Democrats helped make that happen by failing to aggressively pounce on its findings. That created a void that's been filled by other crises and scandals, including (understandably) outrage over kids in cages at the southern border. Does anyone honestly believe that the stoically understated former special counsel who had his own cowardice moment in failing to recommend whether Trump's obstruction of justice merits impeachment will suddenly change the dynamic in the dead of a brutally hot summer.

Barring a bombshell revelation that goes beyond anything we've seen before, I simply can't imagine a scenario where Congress holds Trump accountable for his abuses of power and impeaches him between now and Jan. 20, 2021. Can you? And the blame for that falls squarely on Pelosi and other House moderates.

But Pelosi whose people-management skills in holding together an unruly Democratic caucus are admirable, but who fails to grasp how seriously democracy is threatened in the Trump era doesn't deserve all of the blame. On the Senate side, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer the dictionary definition of a Wall Street Democrat also signed on to the terrible border bill and has shown no skil l in blocking a rapid Trumpist takeover of the federal judiciary. The Democrats' current front-runner (albeit slipping fast) for president, former Vice President Joe Biden, has a 1973 mentality about how politics works in Washington delusional that his magical powers of persuasion and congeniality will somehow convince our norms-murdering Republicans to abruptly put down the gun.

Why are they so afraid of confronting Republicans? The Intercept's Ryan Grim who's written an outstanding book called We've Got People that traces the rise of an actual progressive wing of the Democratic Party right through AOC (seriously, buy it) published a provocative op-ed in the Washington Post that traces the night sweats of the Democrats and its Pelosi-Schumer-Biden generation to the 1980s and the rise of Ronald Reagan that killed any remnants of the FDR New Deal era.

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Will Bunch is author of the new "Tear Down This Myth: How the Reagan Legacy Has Distorted Our Politics and Haunts Our Future", published by Free Press, which examines the calculated effort by the modern right wing to canonize the 40th president, (more...)
 

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