Check and Balance the President
We are all empowered by the resistance to Donald Trump and his policies, resistance that has been strengthened by his evident disdain for the judiciary and the press, disdain that undermines the pillars of our democracy. But justifiable anger and social media lament will not alone change the status quo. While we may hope for change in the White House, we need to act to bring about change by putting our elected representatives on notice and supporting candidates who are willing to do their jobs.
We should make clear to those who already hold seats in Congress or in the Governors' mansions that, not only are the country and their states at risk from the Trumpian chaos, their seats are in jeopardy too if they blindly support that chaos. It would be unwise for them to assume that all of those who voted for Trump are comfortable where Trump has taken us. We suspect many of them did not expect a Trump presidency to look like this. Those voters, together with those of us who did not vote for Trump, will bring down those who do not stand up for our democracy.
We need to ensure that we have the right leadership. The Democratic National Committee chair is still up for grabs. We need someone new who can craft policies and messages that are consistent with our values and that can reach the disaffected. What about Pete Buttigieg? We also should support the Unrig the Map project of the Democratic Governors Association to undo the hyper-partisan gerrymandering that the Republicans managed to implement over the past six years.
And we need to be laser focused on the 2017 elections around the country, both on the federal and state levels.
In Kansas, Mike Pompeo’s seat is open because of his resignation to become Director of the CIA. A special election will be held in April. There is only one candidate so far that we know of, Republican Alan Cobb, a Trump adviser. We know that Kansas is a Republican state (since 1964 on the presidential level) but we need a Democratic Congressional candidate to run against him and give Kansas voters a chance to vote for the opposition and an effective check and balance.
In California, Xavier Becerra, a Democrat, resigned to become Attorney General of California. A primary to determine his replacement will be held in April, and an election in June. There are a zillion (actually about 15) Democratic candidates, and one or two on the Republican side. We should advocate that the Democrats quickly settle on one and make sure we retain that seat.
In New Jersey, Chris Christie is, thankfully, done, term-limited. Former U.S. Ambassador to Germany, Democrat, and current Goldman partner Phil Murphy announced early and has received some substantial early support. Let’s rally around him and make sure he wins.
In Virginia, Democrat Terry McAuliffe is term-limited too. Governor Ralph Northam has the support of Democratic leadership but Tom Periello, a former Congressman close to President Obama, has recently entered the primary race. The Republicans have a primary race of their own, pitting a former national committee chair against Trump’s state campaign chair against a state senator. Assuming the two candidates are otherwise equal, we should quickly unite behind the one that has the best chance of winning the general election. We need to keep this seat.
In Georgia, Democrat John Ossoff is running for the seat vacated by Tom Price. Can only be an improvement. Donate $5.
We can't be paralyzed. There are things we need to do. Volunteer. Contribute. Speak out. Make sure your representatives know they cannot take your votes for granted. These people work for us. Tell them what you think. Tell them what you like, and tell them what you do not like.
There’s a lot we can do. Let’s do it.