Note: From Thursday to Sunday, I attended the annual conference of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR) held in Cambridge, MA. One of the most popular sessions at the conference was “Going Public: History and Humanities beyond the Academy.” The subject was how to introduce history into the reporting of the news. The attendees were eager to bring their expertise on the past into the discussions in and about the present.
What has happened since the President of the United States formally launched America’s third civil war on July 14, 2019? Like the first two civil wars, this one was a long time coming. But there is a difference. When the American Revolution began, no one knew Saratoga was to occur. Similarly when the Civil War began, no one knew about Gettysburg. This time around everyone is anticipating the 2020 elections. So let us see what has been going on during the first ten days of official hostilities between the Democrats and the Trumpicans.
For the Trumpicans the actions since the commencement of the engagement have been unified and consistent. What we are observing it is completion of the trumpification of the Republican Party. It is being transformed at the lower levels to be the expression of the 7th grade smart-aleck-dumb-aleck whose behavior dominates the party.
Consider this exchange.
Tom Rooney, former five-time Congressional representative from Florida said:
To devolve into childish name-calling usually doesn’t win the argument. I think we can do better.
When the National Republican Congressional Committee referred to Little Max Rose, the five feet six inches Democratic incumbent from New York, Rooney reacted to this juvenile disparagement of the Purple Heart recipient:
Maybe there’s a better conservative argument to counter his support of this legislation than calling him “little.” At least that would be my advice to my 13 year-old.
Exactly, 13 is the age level at which the Trumpican Party operates because that is the age at which its leader functions (Tom Hanks versus Our Immature Child-President).
Former representative Rooney represents the past, the Republican Party which no longer exists. By contrast, the National Republican Congressional Committee represents the Trumpican Party, what the former Republican Party has become. It has adopted the Trumpican playbook lock, stock, and barrel. It will be non-stop taunts, name-calling, and demeaning words for weeks and months to come. It is juvenile. It is childish. It is immature. It is the party of Donald Trump. The weapon he unleashed on July 14 is in the process of becoming the norm throughout the party at all levels.
Now consider the historians of the future. They will be studying the language of the Republican Party. They will as they have been doing for decades examine the language of the first Republican president. They will note that although Abraham Lincoln did not receive much formal schooling, he mastered the language of the Bible and Shakespeare. He incorporated those rhythms and vocabulary into his own speeches. He produced masterpieces which have been carved in stone and have been memorized and recited until this very day.
Then there is the language of last Republican president before he created the Trumpican Party. It is simpleminded, coarse, and crude. It does not soar, it demeans. It does not uplift, it degrades. It does not inspire, it hates. It is the language of the playground bully. It is the language of war unleashed on July 14 and now spreading throughout the party to all levels.
The Democrats offer a much different approach. They employ a different strategy. On one level is legalistic. It is the language of subpoenas and lawsuits. All every dignified and refined exciting no one. Perhaps the language of the slow and plodding turtle will end up being the winning strategy but it is hard to imagine it. Instead it just drags on and on while people have moved on. Still hope springs eternal and maybe the performance of the extraordinarily dry and somber Mueller will provide the spark the Democrats so desperately want and need. In the meantime, since July 14, while the Trumpicans have been energized, vocal, and invigorated in their racism, the Democrats barely register on the Richter scale. They may be woke but will they ever wake up?
They are also inept. Consider the census question. Obviously the Trumpican ploy was to diminish the Democratic vote. Trumpicans have no expectations of ever winning the national popular vote but that does not mean they cannot win the presidency anyway. In response, Democrats took the high road befitting their moral superiority. And, yes, it worked in the Supreme Court. But they lost as well. They gave the Trumpicans an issue they can and will use right to Election Day. The Trumpican leader was quick to pounce.
Are you a citizen of the United States of America? “Oh, gee. I’m sorry. I just can’t answer that question.”
There used to be a time when you could proudly declare: “I am a citizen of the United States.” Now, they’re trying to erase the very existence of a very important word and a very important thing, citizenship.
I’m proud to be a citizen. You’re proud to be a citizen. The only people who are not proud to be citizens are the ones who are fighting us all the way about the word citizen.
Did the Democrats really win this battle? Given all the publicity, how many people are now scared to be counted in the Census anyway? How easy will it be for Trumpicans to ridicule the Democrats for their position on the citizenship question?
Suppose instead of taking the moral high road and being legalistic, the Democrats had taken the low road and fought politically. Suppose the Democrats had gone to the world’s greatest dealmaker and said, “We have a deal for you. We will support the citizenship question in the Census if in return:
1. You eliminate gerrymandering in the following states (and name them)
2. You have sufficient voting locations in the following districts (and name them)
3. You have sufficient voting machines in the following voting locations (and name them).
Let’s make a deal.”
But that’s not the Democratic style. They are too busy morally superior. They are tactically inept.
Not convinced? Now consider the split-screen images of the Liar in-chief explaining how he responded to the chant of “Send her back.” On one side of the screen, one hears him defend himself with trump after trump and not a word of truth; on the other side, the clock ticks off 13 seconds and every trump he told is exposed. One can see this vivid portrayal of his dishonesty on the Fake News networks but what about on Fox? Remember, Trumpicans like the Chinese get their news only from the government approved propaganda network. Here Democrats had an easy way to expose the dishonesty and stupidity of the Very Stable Genius. So where was the Democratic commercial on Fox showing the falsity of his words with the tagline: “Donald Trump. He never tells the truth except by accident? How come you don’t care?”
There is a saying about not bringing a knife to a gun fight, but in the Democrats case, they are not even showing up. If Nancy Pelosi thinks
This coming election, it is really an election that the fate of this country is riding on. This presidency is an existential threat to our democracy and our country as we know it.
Then fight like it. Democrats used to. Consider this exchange.
“If we want to talk about inciting violence, where is the interview when [Democratic presidential front-runner] Hillary Clinton and [President] Barack Obama when they’re talking about ‘bringing a gun to a knife fight?’” Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson asked host Jake Tapper on CNN’s “The Lead.”
“Obama invoked the phrase ‘bringing a knife to a gun fight’ during his 2008 presidential campaign against Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), that year’s Republican nominee.
“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,” he said of countering GOP attacks against him during a fundraiser in Philadelphia in June 2008. “Because from what I understand, folks in Philly like a good brawl. I’ve seen Eagles fans.”
It’s not only the Republican Party which has changed; so has the Democratic Party.
Now it is Mueller time and the next round of Democratic presidential debates. Let’s see if the Democrats can do any better or if Trumpicans continue to wipe the floor with them.