It’s early in the election cycle, but Republican must like what they’re seeing right now. Democrats seem hellbent on tearing each other down while the frontrunners for the Democratic nomination are falling all over themselves to see who can pander to the base the most. They’re latching onto process arguments that most Americans don’t care about and their positions on actual issues are more slogans than substance. 

If Democrats are going to run on packing the Supreme Court, scrapping the electoral college and ending the filibuster altogether, they better get used to four more years of Donald Trump and at least two more of Mitch McConnell. Too many Democratic voters on the left flank see those tools essential to implementing their Green New Deal and Medicare for All.  For the most of the electorate, though, those are process arguments that don’t address their concerns, hopes or fears.    

One of my biggest criticisms of Republicans both in North Carolina and Washington has been their destruction of the norms and traditions that make our government work and provide predictability to our citizens. In North Carolina, they’ve routinely run roughshod over local governments, rigged the electoral system through voter suppression laws, tried to strip the governor of his power and attempted to make the court system more partisan, among other things. In Washington, Mitch McConnell stole a Supreme Court seat, abused the filibuster when he was in the minority and then scrapped it for Supreme Court nominations when he was in the majority. As for Donald Trump, he was the only modern president elected without releasing his tax returns. He insulted almost all of our western allies while praising dictators like Kim Jung Un and issued major policy announcements over twitter without consulting his senior staff. 

It’s time to try to rebuild governing principles instead looking for ways around them. As Colorado Senator and possible presidential candidate Michael Bennet recently said, “The last thing I want to do is be those guys. What I want to do is beat those guys so that we can begin to govern again.”  Too many Democrats will argue that we have to scrap the rules like the GOP has done and adopt a win-at-all cost mentality. They’re wrong and it’s not just their policy prescriptions that are at stake; it’s our ability to govern the country.

As I’ve said before, I believe climate change and economic inequality are the greatest threats we face but I don’t believe the Green New Deal is the only solution. I think that if every other developed nation can offer health care to its citizens, then we can, too, but I’m not convinced Medicare for All is the only, or even the best way, to do it.  And if the path Democrats choose to address these issues is by radically restructuring our government, then I believe they’ll fail to achieve any of their goals, especially getting rid of Donald Trump. 

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