The MAGA Challenge

Last week I wrote a blog on MSNBC’s talent for blowing trivia into outrage, but before I could post it, the District of Columbia Appeals Court ruled that Trump is not above the law, that his plea for Presidential immunity isn’t valid. With that event, the case charging him with insurrection took a giant leap forward. Real news replaced trivia for a moment before it was replaced by Trump’s lawyers appealing the decision to the Supreme Court and MAGA House members blocking a bipartisan bill on the border crisis. Colorado’s ruling that Trump is ineligible for the ballot fell somewhere in the middle of all of this news, but Trump’s promise to encourage Putin to attack NATO members soon took the media back to outrage. Rest assured this will continue, for Trump is a consummate master at attracting attention and the media lives on it. The Democrats’ challenge is how, in the middle of his ever more egregious behavior, they can shift the focus to the Democratic candidate, who is managing two international and one national crisis—another day of governing.

The problem is, of course, that until there is a bombing or an agreement, governing is work, not news. The Biden campaign could, for example, use Trump’s antics to highlight Biden’s achievements. While Biden works with both sides of Congress on a bill to aid Ukraine and get control of the border, Trump’s MAGA House members crush the bill and try to impeach the Secretary of Home Security instead. Trump promises revenge on his enemies if he is elected while Biden tries to convince Netanyahu, another would-be dictator, to consider a two-state settlement drawn up by multiple Mid-East countries that would end the fighting. As Trump threatens his opponents into submission, Biden manages to cool the inflation without ending in recession, increase jobs, and reduce unemployment to pre-pandemic lows. The last four years are rich with such examples, and Lawrence O’Donnell (MSNBC)  gave a wonderful example of what this approach can yield.

In the absence of that or some other shift to take them out of their rut, both the media and the Biden campaign have let age consume everything else. Meanwhile, the Trump campaign has made it the key issue. Biden is furious but occupied elsewhere—the Ukraine, Israel, the border—leaving the campaign’s central charge—winning—to people who seem flummoxed by the challenge. Isn’t it amazing what this eighty-three-year-old man has accomplished in four years? No other President has managed to cool inflation without sending the country into recession. At age eighty-three, he can still work hours on the nation’s business. He’s the only leader who has managed to get legislation through a gridlocked congress. Biden has now called leaders of both houses together to stave off a closure of the government and give critical aid to the Ukraine. If he manages these vital issues, we’ll see whether the Democrats can celebrate the skill with which Biden manages his power. This is a ninety-year-old lady telling the Biden campaign to skip the outrage and keep their eye on the ball—winning.



Comments are closed.
Find us on Google+