As Democrats battle themselves and technology, the Trump campaign is cleaning up and taking names.
So many things happened last week that struck fear into Democratic hearts from coast to coast, it is difficult to fully grasp the extent to which Democrats must now grapple new realities within the party.
There was a complete meltdown reporting the results of the Democratic caucus in Iowa and the results may never be known in spite of calls for a recanvas by DNC head Tom Perez. In perhaps even more ominous news, the Democratic voter turnout in Iowa was extremely disappointing.
The Biden campaign, long thought to be the last, best hope of Democratic moderates concerned about electability, also crashed and burned in Iowa this week. It probably will in New Hampshire as well.
Democrat John Kerry, obviously forgetting how many reporters converge on Iowa for the Democratic caucus, allowed himself to be overheard by one such enterprising journalist discussing entering the race himself to stop Bernie Sanders. This is hardly a vote of confidence for Joe Biden as John Kerry has ostensibly been campaigning for Biden in Iowa for the past week.
Overlooked in all the Democratic Party kerfuffle in Iowa, Republicans and Donald Trump had a fantastic night. A record-high number of Republicans turned out to vote Trump as the nominee by a whopping 97%.
In comparison Democrats in Iowa did not experience the record turnout predicted. On the contrary, Democratic voter turnout in Iowa. just reached the 2016 turnout threshold and fell 70,000 votes short of 2008.
Things didn’t go so well in Washington for Democrats either: Trump was acquitted by the Senate on all articles of impeachment. When you can hold up a newspaper with the headline proclaiming you acquitted, you’ve won
The January jobs report was a stunner and Trump’s State of the Union address hit all the right notes with his base. And many of the right notes with voters outside his base.
Some on the left seem to understand what kind of war the Democrats are fighting- and currently losing- but the sage wisdom of Van Jones has been lost on the Democratic Party for three years now, probably longer.
Trump has been actively courting the African-American and Latino vote since the beginning of his presidency. In the past six months, the Trump campaign has stepped it up.
Mentioning “dirty cops” and “corruption” so frequently in regards to the impeachment proceedings against him was no accident, no randomly chosen or arbitrary phrases.
“Dirty cops” is something the African-American community can understand and relate to only too well. Leveraging that community’s seismic mistrust of systemic authority was a political stroke of genius.
Nor was it the only one.
There was a good reason Trump spoke to fellow Republicans during his recent post-acquittal speech of their close “relationships forged during battle”. Drawing attention time and again to their “battlefield forged friendships” reminds his more-recalcitrant Republicans that none of it would have been possible if it weren't for the resistance.
Calling his fellow Republicans “warriors” hit the right note with a roomful of proud lawmakers and career professionals.
Trump didn’t forget who helped him, thanking his family, his legal team, and fellow Republicans. Though Mitch McConnell probably would prefer Trump stop drawing so much attention to their amazing rate of success confirming conservative judges.
Astute political observers will note that Trump didn’t call McConnell a best friend- not a faithful lieutenant- but a fearsome competitor who sends him, regularly, to seek the comfort and consolation of his wife in the aftermath of their meetings.
He painted a flattering picture of his fellow Republicans as a cross between drill sergeants, constitutional scholars and Perry Mason. Though Trump could hardly resist a shot at Romney.
This week, Trump called the spirit in the Republican Party the strongest it's ever been. He may be right. Republicans are ready to turn out to vote and Trump has managed the seemingly impossible task of uniting Republicans around him, with a little help from Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Washington Post.
All this has put many Democrats in the terrible position of hoping against hope that a well-intentioned Democratic billionaire has enough money to buy the race as a philanthropic exercise.
If that isn’t antithetical enough to everything the Democratic Party claims to stand for, add the fact that said Democratic billionaire is a former Republican and author of New York City’s controversial “stop and frisk” policy.
How will Democratic leadership manage to spin away a week like this?
We’ll all be waiting to find out. As will Donald Trump.
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)