Commentary: Democrats Must Get Ready To Rumble

first_imgCommentary: Democrats Must Get Ready To RumbleOctober 23, 2019, By John KrullTheStatehouseFile.com INDIANAPOLIS – The Democratic presidential candidates switched from touch football to tackle in their Tuesday night debate.They took some hard shots at U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, who now is perceived to be the front runner. They hit each other and they took hits. At different points, feelings on the stage were high and things grew heated.John Krull, publisher, TheStatehouseFile.comIt was about time.While it is always important for political parties to come together in general elections, primaries and nominating processes aren’t supposed to be Gilded Age tea parties – affairs in which everyone keeps their pinkies out and observes all the rules of propriety. No, they’re like training camps – testing grounds to determine who will be the best candidate to face a determined adversary in the fall election.That’s why U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, drew precisely the wrong lesson from the 2016 presidential election. At one point during the debate, Booker complained about the rough give-and-take and said that similar conduct had cost Democrats the White House last time around.He’s wrong.The fact that the party’s 2016 standard-bearer, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, had difficulty dispatching U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, whose very standing in the party was up for debate and whose funding trailed well behind hers, should have been a warning sign. It should have told Democrats she wasn’t the candidate to carry the flag for them if they wanted to maintain a residence in the White House.If anything, what was true then is even truer now.Both the kindest and the smartest thing Democrats can do for the person who becomes the party’s candidate for president is prepared him or her to take punch after punch after punch – both high blows and low blows.The 2016 election was a brawl.This one will be a riot.In part, this is because of traditional political calculations. Because President Donald Trump never has gotten within shouting distance of a 50 percent public approval rating, he will have no choice but to tear his opponent down in the fall campaign. His only path to holding on to the White House is to make the Democratic challenger an even less appealing option than he is.But some of it also is specific to this president.If the events of the past weeks – the House Democrats’ inexorable march toward impeachment and Trump’s desperate flailing to find an exit as the walls close in – demonstrate anything, it is that this president thinks laws and standards of decency are for sissies. There is no rule he will not break and no tactic he considers too low or mean to use.The biggest mistake Democrats made last time around was thinking that there was a referee somewhere who was going to call foul on Trump and declare them the winner.But Donald Trump isn’t a boxer. He’s a street fighter.This time around, if anything, he will be more desperate and therefore more determined to grab any bottle in the alley to break over his opponent’s head.Contrary to the vigorous spin the president and his allies have put on Robert Mueller’s report, it didn’t exonerate him. It made clear that the only reason Trump didn’t face prosecution was that the Department of Justice rules prohibit indicting a sitting president. Once he’s out of office, Mueller also made clear, that rule will not apply.And Trump could be subject to criminal prosecution..It is hard to know what motivated Donald Trump to run for president in 2016. Maybe he really thought he could “make America great again.” Maybe he just wanted to build his brand.Who knows?What we can know, though, is that, as hard as he fought four years ago, he will fight even harder this time around because he feels he’s battling to save himself.That’s at least part of the reason he’s fighting and flailing with such wild fury. Cornered and wounded animals are desperate.And dangerous.That’s why Democrats do need to take the gloves off.Whoever emerges as their presidential candidate will have to be ready to go toe-to-toe with perhaps the best street fighter in American political history.The candidate who can’t take a hit won’t win.It’s just that simple.FOOTNOTE: John Krull is a director of Franklin College’s Pulliam School of Journalism and publisher of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.The City-County Observer posted this article without opinion, bias or editing.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img

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