Now more than ever, the country needs a bold, visionary leader, one who puts principle over party, one who understands what makes America great and how to capitalize on it. Clearly, Donald Trump is not that leader. Like the old saying goes, “hindsight is 2020.” Looking back on the last year we can see with greater clarity how inadequate Mr. Trump is for the job. He lacks the moral judgment, integrity and ability to lead the country. Both the New York Times and the Washington Post have well researched and disturbing articles this week that describe just how bad the Trump presidency is. His temperament, judgment, ethics and ability are all seriously lacking. If hindsight is 2020, what can we see more clearly now than a year ago?
Republicans: We now know there will categorically be no pivot. Mr. Trump is not going to change and somehow emerge presidential. The Faustian bargain that was made has left the party weaker morally, intellectually and politically. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are not on the ballot again, you now own Mr. Trump: his tweets, his tantrums and his legacy. The good news is your party has an opportunity to speak truth to power void of partisan skepticism. Those who are brave like Mitt Romney, Jeff Flake, John McCain and others who speak out against this President will be remembered in history as patriots not partisans. Republicans are in the unique situation to restore credibility not only to their party but to the country by holding Mr. Trump to account. When we think back to Mr. Nixon and his disgrace, one of the stories we tell is that of Republican leaders who came to the President and told him he would need to resign, sparing the country from a nasty presidential removal. The country needs solid conservative ideas and principles. Those who help to shape and lead the party in the future will have to answer for which side of the Trump line they were on. Now is a great opportunity for leaders to emerge, for all conservatives to choose country over party, to choose the next generation over the next election.
Democrats: If the last year has taught us anything it is that this party must do more to reach out and bridge the divide. Coastal elitism, perceived intellectual superiority and disdain for “flyover state voters” has real consequences. The left has to stop talking about wanting to help Walmart Americans by imposing their Whole Foods values on them. Middle class, poor, rural and suburban white voters aren’t stupid and can’t be dismissed. When you talk about “white privilege” much of this country hears you telling them they are lazy, racist and entitled. That may not be what you mean but that is what they hear. When you say, “Black Lives Matter,” many add an “only” in front even though you meant to add a “too” at the end. Your party must learn to stop talking down to people and instead talk to people not just talk about them. Democrats should resist Trump while not resenting his supporters. Democrats must resist the urge to give into the petty politics of the present and instead focus on the democratic principles that have made this country the envy of world.
The challenges we face are real. The economy is shifting in dramatic ways, perhaps as profoundly as the shift from the agrarian economy of the 19th century to the industrial one of the 20th. Globalization, automation, artificial intelligence, climate change, and massive wealth inequality are all urgent, troubling and deeply complex. We cannot hope to address these issue with the myopic, partisan, tribalistic politics of the day. We need 2020 vision, not just in hindsight but looking forward. As we look to 2018 let us do so with a much clearer, broader, longer and more hopeful vision for the future.