No Thanks, David Brooks

I continue to spend my writing efforts on Democratic politics. Here’s my latest post to the website of the Coconino County Democratic Party:


I’m starting to hear that self-defeating refrain, “I will not under any circumstances vote for X.” Embarrassing himself, David Brooks of the New York Times wrote the morning after the second night of debates an opinion piece entitled, “Dems, Please Don’t Drive Me Away

Dear David,

It’s your civic duty to vote. No candidate is going to perfectly match your special interests, but one candidate will surely be at least slightly better than the other. If you don’t carry out your duty, democracy will fail. Full stop.

I’m hearing people like David Brooks complain that our candidates are too left-wing and that progressive activists are “nasty” or “too persistent.” Brooks wrote, “The progressive narrative…is dominating because no moderate wants to bear the brunt of progressive fury by opposing it.”

What? Moderate candidates are too weak to stand up to progressives? If moderates can’t do that, how can we expect them to stand up to Russia, China, Iran? Mitch McConnell? Trump?

I think the progressive narrative is dominating because it is the forward-looking narrative. It’s the one talking about real problems. If the moderates’ only platform is that we go back to “civility,” they are in trouble.

The Democratic Party has a responsibility to do more than defeat Trump (though we certainly must do that). We must do more than go back to pre-Trump, Obama-Era policies on climate, heath care, economic opportunity. Yes, we need to stay with the Paris Climate Accord, preserve access to health insurance, and reverse the Trump tax cuts.

But that’s not enough. We need to save the planet, stop bankrupting people with medical problems even when they have insurance, and restructure the tax code to assure everyone pays his fair share. We need to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and create innovative infrastructure for the future. We need to educate a workforce that can do that. We need to reclaim our role as a moral leader for human rights on the world stage.

What’s the moderate plan to reach those goals? I’m listening. So far, all I hear is “bipartisanship” and “civility.” I’m all for that, but not at the expense of giving more ground on the issues that are necessary for species survival and preservation of our Constitution and its ideals.

If a moderate prevails in this primary process, you bet I’ll vote for him or her because the alternative of not doing my civic duty is unthinkable. I hope all other Democrats will do the same, including any disappointed moderates who may be stuck with a choice between a progressive and Donald Trump.