One of the hardest words to say aloud is “Goodbye.” It’s especially difficult when what is being left behind is cherished — a person, place or thing of value. In the world of politics, nothing is valued like power.
Yet, for the leaders of America’s two political parties, I predict, 2018 is going to be all about some long goodbyes to power. For the McConnells and the Ryans, for the Clintons, Schumers and Pelosis, this year’s choice is going to be between a gracious farewell and a kick down the stairs.
They’ve brought this rejection on themselves, of course.
The shock that Pollster John Zogby said — on this program not long ago — has changed America’s politics was the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.
The realization after the shock was that a generation of students were living every day with a well-reasoned fear of madmen with grievances and guns.
The anger after the realization is focusing, rightly, on the politicians who failed to provide sufficient care for the mentally ill, and failed to regulate the production, sale, or possession of guns. They repeated these failures again and again, notwithstanding an unending series of mass shootings, in churches and libraries and at dance clubs and concerts as well as public schools — and the highest rate of gun deaths in the world.
These are the so-called leaders who cravenly acquiesced to what Former Chief Justice Warren Burger called “A fraud on the American public,” Justice Antonin Scalia’s ridiculous application of First Amendment absolutism to the completely different Second.
Hey, Judge, if the authors of the Constitution had wanted to grant definitive de-regulation of guns, they would have said so. You know, “Congress shall make no law,” the First Amendment formula for protecting freedom of speech and assembly. About guns, look at the print on the page, Pops, it ain’t there.
Were the politicians who accepted, or worse, applauded this crap bullied by the NRA or bought? Does it matter? Not, I am betting, to the leading edge of new voters for 2018.
The fact that 2018 is an off-year only strengthens the uprising. Elections this year are all about local jurisdictions. The scale of these contests can’t be any bigger than a Congressional District or a State. These are races in which the candidates’ personal credibility is crucial, and support from the national party or its major funders, while helpful, matters less. To win these races, the Democrats particularly will need new candidates with new ideas. Both will flourish in the absence the drone of a Presidential campaign.
The mythical horseraces among “potential candidates for 2020” already being proposed in the media even before the 2018 votes are in are simply crazy.
That’s because, some of the people with the highest potential may still be unknown, and because the message I see coming in this November’s vote is the same one the great comedian George Burns said to his wife Gracie Allen at the end of every one of their radio and TV programs: “Say goodnight, Gracie.”
To which Gracie always replied, “Goodnight.” How many of the men and women who have given us 40 years of radically growing inequality, 2 ill-conceived, badly-managed, incredibly destructive foreign wars, and deadly epidemics of opioid addiction and gun crimes, gun suicides, and gun deaths, will have the wit and self-awareness to follow Gracie’s example?
Not enough, I’m guessing, but I figure, voters will take care of the holdouts.
Bill Press is a nationally known commentator on American politics and a respected political professional. From 1993 to 1996 he was the Chair of the Democratic Party in the State of California. Since, he has starred on CNN’s Crossfire and The Spin Room, MSNBC’s Buchanan and Press and now on The Bill Press Show on Free Speech TV.
His new autobiography, BILL PRESS FROM THE LEFT, tells of a lifetime in and around politics, starting at the most basic level watching his grandfather campaign for, and win, the Mayoralty of Delaware City, DL.