Thursday, November 10, 2016

No point crying over spilled milk

by Jon Phillips
Opinions on the future -- 12 quick points

1. No point crying over spilled milk.

2. Democrats should agree that Hillary is done running for President and be vocal about that. The fact that much of the case against her is innuendo and 20 years of Republican stink bomb attacks is now irrelevant. She's damaged politically and too old to run again. Let her go. The party should start vetting new champions for 4 years hence.

3. Democrats should prepare for a tough 4 years and that means developing a coherent strategy to block damaging appointments and legislation -- including the Supreme Court. The future character of the nation depends on the balance in the Supreme Court and the lower courts. The GOP has succeeded in making politics into an ugly game of stalemate, so I don't see much value in going along to get along. Sometimes, gridlock and stalemate are preferable to alternatives. Remove it from your mind that Republicans will somehow turn over a new leaf of civility and compromise in government. The GOP has multiple personality disorder. Don your brass knuckles until they emerge from this madness.

4. Democrats should do their best to take back the Senate as soon as possible and attrit the GOP margin in the House -- aim at the next midterm if possible on the Senate and flip the House in the next 3 cycles. Refocus on State races to blunt gerrymandering in the States. Keep banging the climate change drum every time there're disastrous weather events.

5. Propose and support reform of electoral processes that include top two runoffs to prevent small third party spoilers from wreaking the popular agenda.

6. I think we can count on comedians to thrash Donald continuously. He's continuous material. He could put political satirist writers out of business. Provoke him and he falls apart. People will tire of his adolescent fraternity boy drama very quickly.

7. Put serious thought into development of policy proposals to resolve the fundamentals that supported his grass roots (other than bigotry, misogyny, and xenophobia which are unacceptable and corrosive to the national pluralistic spirit). Basically, how to move back toward a strong and growing middle class. I suggest big transformative infrastructure that's domestic skilled labor heavy. Press toward "fair trade," emphasize social policy strongly tilted to building lower and center middle class economic positions. Defend Obamacare by continuously and vocally proposing practical reforms while blocking repeal. Affordable medical care is essential to regrow the middle class.

8. Do our best to prevent any march to war -- authoritarians love to distract a public by starting a war. It's what keeps many of them in power. This is an enormous danger since foreign and military policy are the principal powers of the President. Maintain lots of track 2 engagement that is forward looking with overseas partners to maintain relationships as well as possible. Keep his finger off the trigger (conventional and nuclear -- heaven forbid).

9. Work to pull more centrist Republicans into the center and even into Democratic Party. There are lots of newly disaffected and there will be even more as Donald's unseemly underbelly is increasingly revealed in the near future.

10. Figure out new strategies to pull more women's votes. From Romney to Trump only 2% changed sides. Romney was a polite gentleman though traditional Mormon. Donald was a groper. Why are women insensitive to such a radical difference. It suggests that between 40 and 45% of college-educated white women don't care so long as it's a white dominant male.
Edison National Election Poll
11. In short, hope for the best, but prepare for continuous political battle. The nation and the world is depending on us to prevent Donald from driving the country and world off a cliff. I realize that he won't know any better, but now we have to try and limit the damage of ignorants.

12. There's no point crying over spilled milk, but we should get out the mops and clean it up.

Jon Phillips is a Senior Nuclear Technology Expert at the International Atomic Energy Agency and Director, Sustainable Nuclear Power Initiative at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The opinions expressed here are his own.

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