“I’m not a member of any organized political party. I’m a Democrat,” Will Rogers said, and 2020 continues to prove his truism. For Democrats, the year started with the Iowa Caucus melting down, and just this week, Democrats in the United States Senate failed to stop or even slow down the very fast appointment of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
There are many Democratic politicians who appear hapless, but at least they are not Republicans. What does the Republican Party stand for anymore? I have a few ideas.
First, tax breaks for the rich and no one else, and not even all of the rich — many top earners in high-tax, high-service states such as New York or New Jersey are paying more than they used to.
Second, an unprecedentedly extreme approach to packing the federal courts with conservative jurists, by any means necessary. These new judges are second-rate legal scholars who have generally never tried a case in their lives, but they are first-rate ideological warriors. The Affordable Care Act and a nationwide right to a legal abortion could both be gone within a few months.
Third, a pathetic, slavish commitment to believe President Donald Trump instead of reality. Every day, the man lies at least a dozen times while perpetrating fresh outrages. Just this year, over 220,000 Americans are dead from COVID-19 — which amounts to the victims of four Vietnam Wars or 70 9/11s — and cases are rising in most of the country. He tore immigrant children from their parents and put them in cages. On Tuesday night, he stranded thousands of his own elderly supporters in the Nebraska cold after one of his ego-trip, super-spreader rallies.
Besides passing tax breaks and appointing conservative judges, Trump has no achievements, unless you count the massive increase in American xenophobia, hatred, and crassness. He is only out for himself and some but not all of his children. He can — and has — abandoned the others who previously served him.
Here in Brooklyn, we have our own Trumps, with their lies and hypocrisies and fear-mongering. Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis is running for Congress, even though she lost a mayoral race to Bill de Blasio more than two-to-one after New Yorkers in 2017, when New Yorkers were already fairly sick of him. She is prone to exaggerating her achievements as a member of the minority party in the State Assembly — something Republican Staten Island Borough President Jimmy Oddo frequently points out.
For State Senate, we have Republican Vito Bruno, who has made crime his sole issue, despite repeatedly admitting to reporters in the past that he committed crimes while running his nightlife businesses. Of course, if you believe “reputable journalists” like Bob Woodward — who has written about both Trump and Bruno — you’re probably not part of the problem in America today.
All of these Republicans campaign on fear tactics and almost nothing else, because they have nothing else. This Election Day, let’s show them that Americans are better than they think we are.
Nick Rizzo is a former Democratic District Leader and a political consultant who lives in Greenpoint. Follow him on Twitter @NickRizzo.