The laziest and most common campaign story right now is a version of the following:
“The Democrats are in disarray!”
“The Democrats are failing to coalesce around a single candidate!”
“The Democrats are handing this election to the Republicans!”
Add a story or two about the Iowa caucus-trophe, capture a few screenshots of online bickering between candidates’ supporters and throw in a quote from a primary voter who didn’t make up her mind about how she was going to vote until she walked across the parking lot at her polling place — and ta-dah! You, too, could write a story to match these recent headlines.
Politico: Trump’s ‘dream scenario’ unfolds: Dem disarray ahead of 2020.
Reuters: Democrats in disarray ahead of New Hampshire.
Axios: Democratic disarray, dysfunction.
The Hill: Democrats in disarray: 2020 election at risk.
A question: When were Democrats not in disarray?
Democrats have always been the collective curly mop top next to the lacquered comb-over. They may swirl and twirl, but even after a heavy rain, they bounce back.
My earliest memory of Democratic politics in our house was the election of John F. Kennedy — a Catholic! I was too young to remember the campaign, but I was familiar with my working-class father’s protestant prejudice at an early age. He was likely one of those primary voters for Adlai Stevenson.
What I do remember is how Dad bragged later about voting for Kennedy in the general election. He ordered a framed presidential portrait of JFK and hung it next to Jesus on a wall in our living room. That Jack-and-Jesus wall was a mainstay of my childhood. If Jesus ever voted, Dad said, he’d be a Democrat.
Another question: What month is it?
February — months and months away from this primary’s end, and even more months from the general election.
You’d never know that from discussion threads on Democratic voters’ Facebook pages, but that’s who we’ve always been — only now we’ve got emojis.
Each of us brings our own biases and emotions to the selection of a presidential candidate, which is why the primary can feel so personal. Our person wins; we feel affirmed. Ours doesn’t; we feel rejected.
When was the last time rejection brought out the best in you?
And now, a word about our impeached president.
Less than a week after all but one Republican senator voted to acquit him on both counts of impeachment, Trump has started seeking his revenge.
At the National Prayer Breakfast, he mocked the faith of Sen. Mitt Romney, a devout Mormon who cited his faith in his decision to vote to convict Trump of abuse of power. Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a key witness in the House impeachment inquiry, was fired from the White House, along with his twin brother. Now Trump is calling for disciplinary action against him.
Last Tuesday night, four of the federal prosecutors working on the obstruction and perjury case of Trump’s friend, Roger J. Stone Jr., withdrew from the case after the Justice Department overruled their recommendation that Stone be sentenced to prison for seven to nine years. One of the prosecutors resigned.
As usual, Trump brayed about this conquest on Twitter:
“Congratulations to Attorney General Bill Barr for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought. Evidence now clearly shows that the Mueller Scam was improperly brought & tainted. Even Bob Mueller lied to Congress!”
He went after the judge who will be deciding Stone’s fate: “Is this the Judge that put Paul Manafort in SOLITARY CONFINEMENT, something that not even mobster Al Capone had to endure? How did she treat Crooked Hillary Clinton? Just asking!”
He also posted a photo of him standing next to Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg on a golf course: “Mini Mike is a short ball (very) hitter. Tiny club head speed. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!”
Meanwhile, the Republican senators who enabled this latest round of Trump’s menacing and possibly illegal behavior remain in hiding from America’s journalists.
The Democrats are in disarray.
Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and professional in residence at Kent State University’s school of journalism. She is the author of two nonfiction books, including “…and His Lovely Wife,” which chronicled the successful race of her husband, Sherrod Brown, for the U.S. Senate. Her novel, “The Daughters of Erietown,” will be published by Random House in spring 2020. To find out more about Connie Schultz (firstname.lastname@example.org) and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.