It’s time for Democrats to stop burning Trump in effigy and return to reality.

earth to democrats

The biggest problem Democrats currently have in the race for president isn’t an obvious one.

Yet all the other problems currently plaguing the Democratic Party- the implosion of the Iowa caucus, the weak field of Democratic nomination contenders, Donald Trump’s recent impeachment acquittal, the rise of Bernie Sanders- are merely a symptom of this other, deeper problem.

If Democrats don’t expel this poison, they will lose in November. Worse, Democrats will continue to embarrass themselves and/or badly miscalculate.

The problem is that Democrats, in leadership and in the press, have raised the tightrope of beating Trump so high off the ground that fear of falling is paralyzing the party- and making failure far more likely.

Democrats have have blown Trump out-of-proportion and into a mythical figure, an evil gollum who will eat every soul in America- and perhaps the world- if Democrats don’t stop him.

Nonsense, all of it. No such thing.

Democrats have painted Trump as some sort of diabolical machine, cranking out evil; an unprecedented producer of hate, violence and oppression.

He’s not.

But where the Trump campaign is succeeding, it isn’t because Trump is good at hiring competent people and firing incompetent ones. It isn’t because he has the best ideas.

He is succeeding because his biggest campaign strength is an opposition party, and its attendant media acolytes, willing to be-clown themselves over their intense hatred of him. It’s been said that Donald Trump lives rent-free in many a liberal brain.

Liberal brain power is certainly being sapped by something.

Moderate Democratic voters are paralyzed and depressed. Liberals who want Bernie Sanders to win the nomination are equal parts energized and depressed. Some Democrats are needing help coping in the aftermath of Trump’s acquittal by the Senate. Liberal journalists were driven to drink by the Democratic face-plant in Iowa.

“We’re in the middle of a national emergency, and people are staying home,” wails Beto O’Rourke.

No, we’re not in the middle of a national emergency: The Democratic Party is in the middle of a national emergency.

For the Democratic Party, it is an emergency in which the opposition party holds the executive branch, all attempts to remove the president from office have failed and Democrats running for president seem to be doing their level best to lose.

For the country as a whole, the American people are prospering. Satisfaction with the economy is at a high not seen since the 1990’s; before the savings and loan crisis, before the real estate bust, before 2008, before NAFTA, before millions of U.S. manufacturing jobs were lost to cheaper labor in other countries.

Regular, working-class people are doing the same thing they’ve always done when it comes to politicians and the government. Enjoy the good, complain about the bad, vote accordingly.

The idea that the U.S. was some kind of post-industrial, socially-conscious, fully integrated paradise before Donald Trump came along- back in the good old days when Democrats were still in charge- is laughable.

Some voting Democrats are obviously not being motivated by the message that Donald Trump is the very devil himself and must be stopped by any means necessary.

Progressive liberals in the press are simply dumbfounded that anyone could possibly believe Donald Trump actually has their back, that he cares about the people. But they unashamedly insist, in spite of a multitude of evidence to the contrary, that Democrats do care.

Liberal journalists aren’t helping the cause by sacrificing their objective credibility in the long term to score political points for Democrats in the short term.

Always attributing to malice what can be easily explained by stupidity is a logical fallacy left-leaning journalists are committing on a daily basis. It is a failure of reason.

Hyper-inflating Trump’s malice has left otherwise serious people predicting “doomsday” if Joe Biden has to drop out of the race due to lack of support. Either the author doesn’t understand the meaning of “doomsday” or Joe Biden wrote this about Joe Biden.

This is what is exhausting Democrats. In all the hyperbole, in all the soothsaying about some dystopian near-future, amidst all the reading of Trump’s mind, in all the ill-informed invoking of Nazis and the Holocaust, the true heart of the Democratic message- that of empowering those without power- is being lost.

Democrats who believe that defeating Trump is more important than this liberal prime directive are either too privileged, too disconnected from reality outside the 24-hour news cycle, or too young to understand that the problems that persist in America- wealth inequality, racism, poverty, disenfranchisement- were all present long before Donald Trump took office.

They will still exist long after Donald Trump leaves office.

We don’t fix what is broken in our society by defeating Donald Trump at the ballot box in November, and sensible people know this.

We fix what is broken in our society by fixing what is broken in our society. That includes a hard look at Democratic answers to tough questions- like homelessness, trade, and forest management- that have proven unequal to the problems they were meant to solve.

Until Democrats start taking responsibility for their role in the ills that plague our society, Donald Trump will remain a straw man, a perfect effigy; a mere symbol of what Democrats claim to be fighting against.

But believing that destroying an effigy will destroy the thing it represents is magical thinking.

That pragmatic voters in Iowa and New Hampshire aren’t buying this fairytale shouldn’t surprise Democrats in the least.

(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)