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Mostly clear
Mostly clear

The Dems’ path forward

When I got into my car this past Thursday, three pretty awesome things happened one after the other: That tiresome engine light that’s been flashing the past couple weeks turned off all by itself, then the song “Satisfaction” started playing at exactly the right volume (extreme) and, after the song ended, former FBI director James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee began.

Hmm… upon further reflection, make that TWO pretty awesome things.

Yes, we libs had a little ‘fun’ learning from Comey even more about Trump’s general nit-wittery, but to fall into the trap of obsessing over the president’s epic screw-ups is a fool’s game — and precisely the WRONG image for Dems to be projecting at this critical time.

(I’m also sick and tired of newscasters describing monumental historical events as if they were popcorn entertainment.)

Investigations into the president’s malfeasance are irrevocably on track for a collision with the Trump train. But, in the interim, the country remains on a seesaw where each party takes turns convincing the nation not that it is BETTER than the other but that it is merely NOT AS BAD. In the coming fateful weeks and months, Dems must persuade our fellow citizens that we are the right party to lead this nation by nature, not by default.

We must show that WE are the party that cares about the day-to-day concerns of the average person, not the 1%. WE are the party that can provide healthcare at lower cost for everyone. WE are the party that can rebuild this nation’s infrastructure. WE are the party that can be trusted with the environment. And here’s a biggie (and one I know will be controversial to some libs): that WE are the party that can moderate its own fringe, giving the middle time to adapt to challenging new concepts and ideas. (More on that in a future column.)

The American electorate in its infinite… er, let’s call it ‘desire to learn in as painful a manner as possible from past mistakes’ has given near-total power to the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government. Largely as a result, the odds are very good that Dems will win back the House in the 2018 midterms (probably not the Senate).

But what about the 2020 presidential election? Who do we run against Trump (or, if he cannot run for reasons almost certainly beyond the current ability of the human mind to imagine, VP Mike Pence or House Speaker Paul Ryan, already in the wings, breathless and clueless ingénues).

You wouldn’t know it from the piddling coverage they’ve received in the media, but the Dems have some excellent talent of their own: Brian Schatz (sen., Hawaii), Kamela Harris (sen., CA), Martin Heinrich (sen., NM), Eric Garcetti (mayor, LA), Kirsten Gillibrand (sen., NY), Amy Klobuchar (sen., MN), Cory Booker (sen., NJ), to name a few. And let’s not forget Elizabeth Warren (sen., MA), older than all the rest but younger in so many ways.

(Sorry, I deeply admire Hillary and Joe Biden, but they can only play elder statesperson roles moving forward — at most.)

This new leader will need to be introduced to the American people in grand fashion and there’s only one person with a spotlight big and bright enough to do it; the person who led this nation through some its darkest days in living memory; the person who 20% of Trump voters voted for in 2008 and 20012: Barack Obama.

Obama must be pressed into service one last time (before he becomes Secretary-General of the UN — prediction!) to present this new standard-bearer of the Democratic party at a series of massive events. Imagine Cory Booker or Kamala Harris or Kirsten Gillibrand or Elizabeth Warren standing next to the beloved former president, hands clasped and raised high; Obama beaming: “This person is my choice; this person is the future of our party, of America.”

It gives me chills (but not a tingle!).

Thanks for reading — especially you righties who are willing to check out other points of view.

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Multiple award-winner author Charles Carr has written well over a thousand columns and articles for The Union-Tribune, The Orange County Register, The Reader, The Californian, Parent Magazine, and many others. Thousands have attended Carr’s original theater productions at prominent venues throughout So Cal. He is also co-founder of Art Animates Life Films. More info and contact at

*Note: Opinions expressed by columnists and letter writers are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the newspaper.

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