The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland on July 16, 2018

Getty Images

Shortly after a routine congressional outburst Wednesday from a Trump-aligned Republican, Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland uttered a phrase that should quickly become a Democratic staple: the Trump-Putin axis.

The GOP offender was Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia. Who knows exactly what she said—who even cares? It's Raskin's response that matters.

"The gentlelady said something about the Russian hoax—I accept the heckling, Mr. Speaker," Raskin said from the well of the House floor. "If she wants to continue to stand with Vladimir Putin and his brutal, bloody invasion against the people of Ukraine, she is free to do so, and we understand there is a strong Trump-Putin axis in the gentlelady’s party."

For the past several months, I have been trying to identify attack lines Democrats can leverage against Republicans ahead of the midterms, and this particular phrase accomplishes so much in so few words—it's just killer.

First, linking Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin passes the smell test. Every reality-based voter (the only ones we can reach) knows that Trump has been a loyal and dedicated Putin bootlicker for many years, including using his White House perch to do Putin's bidding on the global stage for four years. What makes Trump’s actions even more grave now is the fact that Putin has turned himself into a global pariah through his butchery in Ukraine.

Second, "axis" is a potent word that Americans immediately get due to its historical underpinnings. From the disgraced Axis powers of World War II to President George W. Bush's "axis of evil," Americans inherently know "axis" is a word anchored in ignominy. Regardless of whether one agrees with Bush's 2002 adaptation of it, his relatively recent usage helps.

Finally, as GOP congressional members and aspiring candidates continue to embrace Trump across the country, frequent reminders of the "Trump-Putin axis" is very simple shorthand for evoking all the turmoil Trump brought into the White House along with the consequences presently playing out in Ukraine. There's no need to belabor the point, Democratic base voters are crystal clear about Trump's corrosive effect on international relations, and at least some Trump-Biden voters actually defected in 2020 for that very reason. Trump's Putin sycophancy may play well to the GOP’s white nationalist base, but it's pretty cringey to that slice of reality-based Republicans. Some of them even voted for a Democrat in 2020 because of it.

So the term is really a twofer, reminding both the Democratic base why their votes matter and reality-based GOP voters why their party's continued loyalty to Trump has dangerous and despicable real-world consequences. Perhaps those GOP voters, particularly in swing districts, will defect again if they find their candidate too repulsive, or maybe they’ll just stay home. Either one is a win for Democrats.

So yeah, Democrats should start hitting the term on the regular forthwith.

Printed with permission from Daily Kos.

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Rep. Tony Gonzales

Photo by CQ/Roll Call

The Republican House member who represents Uvalde, Texas, where 19 kids and 2 adults were shot to death in an elementary school on Tuesday, has said in the past that he will vote against any gun safety legislation in Congress.

In September 2021, Rep. Tony Gonzales tweeted in response to a provision on firearms included in that year's annual defense spending bill, "I will fight against any attempt to restrict our 2nd Amendment right, which is why I joined in urging the stripping of red flag laws from the final version of the bill." Gonzales was one of 161 Republican House members who signed a letter to the leadership of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees in October of that year urging that the provision be removed.

Keep reading... Show less

Beto O'Rourke, back to camera, confronts state officials over Uvalde school shooting at press conference

Not long after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and his entourage showed up on a stage in Uvalde, Texas, to offer the usual thoughts and prayers that follow a gun massacre, Democratic rival Beto O'Rourke suddenly strode up to confront him.

Pointing a finger at the governor, he yelled: "You're offering us nothing!"

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}