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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 10/23/18

Democrats: Don't Go High or Low. Go Big and Bold

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From Robert Reich Blog


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Donald Trump says the midterm elections are a "referendum about me." Of course they are. Everything is about him.

Anyone who still believes the political divide runs between Republicans and Democrats hasn't been paying attention. There's no longer a Republican Party. The GOP is now just pro-Trump.

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Meanwhile Trump is doing all he can to make the Democratic Party the anti-Trump Party. "Democrats," he declares, are "too dangerous to govern." They're "an angry left-wing mob,"leading an "assault on our country."

Never before has a president of the United States been so determined not to be president of all Americans. He's president of his supporters.

Tyrants create cults of personality. Trump is beyond that. He equates America with himself, and disloyalty to him with insufficient patriotism. In his mind, a giant "Trump" sign hangs over the nation. "We" are his supporters, acolytes, and toadies. "They" are the rest of us.

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When everything and everyone is either pro- or anti-Trump, there's no room for neutral expertise, professional norms, good public policy, or the rule of law.

Trump is reportedly on the brink of firing Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, whom Trump suspects "might be a Democrat." Mattis's real sin has been to believe the military should be neutral and professional. To Trump that smacks of disloyalty.

Trump calls military generals "my" generals. He expects the FBI director, the Attorney General, and the Justice Department to be "his." He proudly points to "his" judges and justices.

Republican members of Congress are part of "his" government -- unless, like Jeff Flake and the late John McCain, they're not.

He believes the nation's press is either for him or against him. Fox News is indubitably for him -- now a virtual propaganda arm of the White House. The rest are against him even when they merely report the news.

We're all being taken in by this Trumpian dichotomy -- even those of us in the anti-Trump camp.

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When Trump is the defining issue in America, he gets to set the national agenda. All major debate in this country revolves around him, his goals, and the objects of his vilification.

The Trumpification of America hardly ends if Democrats take over the House or possibly the Senate. Trump will blame them for everything that goes wrong. He'll make up problems they're supposedly responsible for. He'll ridicule them and call them traitors.

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Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, "Inequality for All," to be released September 27. He blogs at www.robertreich.org.

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