October 16, 2018

Marty Kaplan: Dreaming of a wave election

What just happened in American politics is not just that Charlotte mopped the floor with Tampa.  It’s that Democrats connected with the country beyond their wildest dreams.

Here’s my fantasy:  Coming out of their convention, Democrats will realize that their message sings. 

It will dawn on them that eking out 270 electoral votes by winning 50.1 percent of the five percent of swing voters in eight battleground states is not what the days between now and Nov. 6 are about.  Instead, they will see Charlotte as a sign that a tidal wave can be coaxed to come in – a cleansing national wave of revulsion at the birthers, the Bachmanns, the Adelsons, the Roves, the Akins, the Limbaughs, the Trumps, the death panels, the marriage cops, the neocons, the science deniers, the debt-ceiling pyromaniacs, the arrogance of the bailed-out bankers, the cynicism of the post-truth liars, the thieves of the right to vote.  

In these days after Charlotte, Democrats may discover that the rapt attention that met Bill Clinton’s ” target=”_hplink”>Deval Patrick’s words – grew a backbone. Instead of being intimidated by focus-grouped catcalls like “class warfare” and “the blame game,” instead of being passive enablers of slanders like “the failed stimulus” and the “government takeover of health care,” imagine if Democrats persist in contesting and refuting Republican mythology and successfully reframe the terms of debate. 

In my fantasy, Democrats repeat the story they finally told in Charlotte: In the Senate, from the outset of the administration, ” target=”_hplink”>filibuster more relentlessly and destructively than ever before in our history. In the House, beginning on the evening of Obama’s inauguration, Paul Ryan and his caucus ” target=”_hplink”>openly acknowledge that they would be as obstructionist in a second Obama term as they’ve been in his first. There is no evidence that the reelection of the president would make the ideologues who’ve held the country hostage these past four years any less determined to put party above country. In order to prevent the future from being a noxious rerun, why shouldn’t the Democrats invite Americans to do the one thing that would truly be a game-changer? In my fantasy, Democrats ask for, campaign for and win majorities in the House and Senate, and on the first day of the new Congress they use their Senate majority to ” target=”_hplink”>Sister Simone Campbell said about the meaning of being pro-life; what J” target=”_hplink”>Sandra Fluke demonstrated about dignity; what ” target=”_hplink”>Michelle Obama said about values worth more than money; when ” target=”_hplink”>Joe Biden explained “the Bain way”; when Kal Penn ” target=”_hplink”>Barack Obama nailed Grover Norquist with “Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations and call us in the morning”: In my fantasy, in the weeks ahead, these become more than memorable moments. They become a tsunami.  

Yes, I know that smart analysts like Nate Silver have been ” target=”_hplink”>arithmetic” and ” target=”_blank”>citizenship.”  It was thrilling to watch our president reanimate it.  Imagine an America where citizenship is not defined by ” target=”_blank”>Norman Lear professor of entertainment, media and society at the martyk@jewishjournal.com.