Tuesday, July 16, 2019


For the third straight day, President Trump is being bashed for racist tweets and remarks, while Trump's fellow Republicans are facing criticism for defending him or staying silent on the subject of his racism. It's a good moment for Democrats, but when it ends, they'll have to deal once again with the tensions between progressives and moderates that inspired Trump's Twitter rant on Sunday. Future Democratic disagreements are likely, and they'll inevitably be followed by "Democrats in disarray" stories in the mainstream media.

When the next cycle occurs, Democrats should use an old political cliché in their party's defense: We're arguing with one another because we're a big-tent party.

Before Trump ended the feuding between Nancy Pelosi and the progressives known as the Squad, that's what Pelosi should have said. It might even make sense for her to say it now. She could say,
Of course we have disagreements among ourselves -- we're a big-tent party, unlike the Republican Party, where if you disagree with the president you're subject to a Stalinist purge. We welcome a range of opinion. We argue, and sometimes it gets heated. But if you attack us, we're like family -- we'll defend one another. We won't throw our Democratic colleagues completely under the bus the way the president does whenever a fellow Republican criticizes him.
I'm so old I remember when progressive Democrats were accused of engaging in a Stalinist purge for running a primary challenger against Senator Joe Lieberman. A few years later, when the Tea Party started doing the same thing to Republican incumbents, it was treated as just good old American grassroots activism -- disconcerting for the incumbents, who were Beltway reporters' friends, and perhaps dangerous for the GOP, but certainly not totalitarian.

Now Trump makes any Republican who turns against him an unperson, yet no one calls that totalitarian. Democrats should. At the same time, they should portray their intramural arguing as a strength, not a weakness. The cliché is available to them. They should use it.

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