All politics is local, Tip O’Neill used to say. No more. All politics has become national in the last 20, 25 years. Today, all politics is Trump.
Trump so dominates the political conversation there’s not enough air to sustain any other topic. His tweets, his unpredictability and his sheer outrageousness overwhelm everything.
If Democratic pollsters are right about Trump’s problems and Democratic energy – and if millions of women marching in the January cold are a sign – then every Democratic candidate for every office at every level needs make Trump the issue.
Even if they’re running for the legislature, county commissioner or school board.
California Gov. Jerry Brown got it right in his 16th and final State of the State speech this week:
“Our world, our way of life, our system of governance — all are at immediate and genuine risk.”
(You can read Brown’s full speech here, if you’d like to imagine an alternate universe with a thoughtful leader.)
Brown cited “endless new weapons systems, growing antagonism among nations, the poison in our politics, climate change.” Not to mention Trump-led and Trump-inspired attacks on women, minorities, morality, immigration, public schools, public safety, health care, a free press, open debate, law enforcement, the Constitution, the rule of law, the right to vote and basically everything that makes America great. And not to mention giving aid and comfort to Nazis. Or being beholden to Putin.
Whatever office you run for, tell us how you’d resist all things Trump and Trumpish.
“All of this calls out for courage, for imagination and for generous dialogue. In recent days, hundreds of thousands took to the streets in cities across America to participate in the Women’s March. At the same time, activists championed the cause in our nation’s capital of those young people we call the Dreamers. In all this, California was in the forefront, showing the way.
“But there is much more to do. All of us — whatever our party or philosophy– have a role to play in defending and advancing our democracy. Our forebears set the example. As you may know my own great grandfather, August Schuckman, in 1849 sailed to America on a ship named Perseverance. He persisted against all the odds and made it to Sacramento three years later.
“And, yes, we too will persist against storms and turmoil, obstacles great and small. The spirit of democracy never dies. It’s alive in this chamber, in the hearts of Californians and in people throughout the land.
“Let this be a great year — for California, for our nation, and for our future.”
And for North Carolina.