I have a question.
If you had to vote for a Democrat today, the person that will eventually go up against Donald Trump in the General Election, who would you vote for?
Biden? Booker? Harris? Warren?
The third Democratic Debate aired last week, drawing solid numbers in viewership. Fourteen (14) million people tuned in to watch the 10 candidates that qualified for the debate. They discussed the key topic points of health care, gun control, immigration and, of course, Trump. And while the viewing numbers point to a heightened interest in the 2020 election, what was actually viewed on that stage was a lukewarm attempt at a bunch of neck and neck candidates looking to become a front-runner. At a glance, this debate seemed to be set up like most Presidential Debates – a group of candidates parsing policy issues to explain their positions and beliefs. But in the age of Trump, conventional debates just don’t have the same effect as they had B.T. (before Trump). Presidential candidate Marianne Williamson commented about this after watching the debates from the sidelines. She said, “The Democratic Party is in such a state of denial that I’m afraid. There’s no conversation here of any depth or reality about what this President represents and what it’s going to take to defeat him.”
Donald Trump is so much more than just a President. He is a strange phenomenon. An enigma. He is a case study of the cancer of America, a living and breathing embodiment of the greed and the hate that this country has birthed ever since John Smith invited Pocohontas’ family to Thanksgiving dinner. But all of this doesn’t put him at a disadvantage, you know? In fact, in the cult-of-personality culture we live in, Trump is the leader of it all. The Commander-in-Chief. The Twitter-in-Chief. The lead story in every news cycle, every day. He is a genius at keeping the attention on him, knowing full well that America votes for the President not solely on the issues as much as on brand recognition. Proof? Raise your hand if you’d vote for Obama again. The Obama Administration deported more people at this point in his presidency than Trump has at the same point in his presidency. Now, put your hand down if that fact changed your mind. Exactly!
Donald Trump has changed the way that the President interfaces with the public. Generations ago, the Office of the President was a lofty one. The President was a statesman, wholly detached from lowbrow conversations. Can you imagine Gerald Ford in a Twitter beef with Sinatra? Of course, you can’t. Traditionally, Presidents didn’t talk jive. But the standard of communication has also changed over time. Social media is a narcissist’s playground, a place where anyone can be anyone they want to be, even Donald Trump. We have a President that sends Tweets at 6:08am while on the toilet. And we know he’s on the toilet because he tweets that he’s on the toilet. Now, as Un-Presidential as such a thing sounds, doesn’t it also sound like most of us: in the bathroom, on the commode running through our social media pages? Before Trump, the language of Presidents was akin to the MacNeil/Lehrer Report. Now the language of this President is akin to the “Jerry Springer Show.”
Donald Trump has broken the whole thing. And that’s why not one of the Dem candidates have any sure footing on defeating him. They are still trying to communicate like a Pre-Trump candidate – saying things like health care for everyone, we will take your assault rifles, and the all-too-familiar, we are going to lower your taxes. Trump speaks to the cancer in America. He speaks to the hate, he speaks to the depressed, he speaks to the racist, the sexist, the American that looks on television and sees Black and Brown faces, and deduces that he is being marginalized because the spooks and wetbacks are taking all of the opportunities. He speaks to the scared, those who fear others. He bashes everyone that they want to bash. He speaks their language. Even those of us that abhor the man have to switch our language up to address him. We have to use words and phrases that would normally not appear in our vernacular, simply because if you’re talking about crap on the floor, you can’t explain it to most by using molecular terms, or metaphysical terms, or historical references, or intersectional reference points. You simply have to call it what it is, crap on the floor.
If the Dems want to have a chance at defeating Trump, one of them is going to have to figure out how to meet the people where they are. And where they are is at the base of hate and chaos. That person will need to speak love and life back into the people in order to lead this country back to a better place. I’ll be honest with you. I didn’t see such a person on that stage last weekend.