Thanksgiving is not a day when you necessarily expect political enlightenment. Yet, here in 2019, it happened at our house.
Charlie Dent used to be in Congress representing a district in Pennsylvania. Slightly conservative but offers his political thoughts in a more moderate tone most of the time.
As I was digesting one of Barb’s better turkey dinner offerings, Dent was talking to the folks at CNN. He was asked why so many Republicans in Congress seem to solidly back Trump.
He started his answer with the statement that many of his former caucus mates are actually disgusted with Trump, tired of his lies, tired of appearing to support him when they know he’s guilty on a number of counts.
Then, he added this bon mot: “Because what they hear from constituents in their districts is to continue to support him against the impeachment proceedings.” That Trump’s “their guy.” That’s what they hear constantly.
The enlightenment didn’t start immediately. It took a few seconds.
It started with this. Given most Republicans in the House are of a conservative nature - some to the right of Ivan the Terrible - who would be writing, talking, emailing them and telling them to “stay the course” with Trump? Who are they hearing from?
“The people who voted for those members and Trump,” the words formed silently in my head. And this: “The same people who get their daily dose of rightwing “reality” from Faux Neus and Limbaugh and Hannity, etc..” They live in a “closed circuit” world.
Then, this: “What if they heard from folks - lots of folks - thousands of folks in the real world - with real facts - telling them facts they never get from Faux Neus? What if their inboxes, email and phone messages were filled by the barrelful with facts they don’t get in their usual travels?”
To put it bluntly, what if Democrats - yes, Democrats - started emailing, writing, calling those “conservative” members of Congress they only complain about? What if Democrats in those Republican districts took on the role of some of those “pray and pay” slickers on TV and started a little evangelizing?”
What if those Republican members, living in rightwing isolationism, got a huge dose of in-your-face truth/facts from voices they don’t encounter in their usual travels? Folks in the middle. Folks to the left of the middle. Voices they don’t regularly hear from and who aren’t parroting the latest nutcase B.S. they’re used to.
I know. I know. Maybe I’ve come a little late - possibly very late - to the party. But, I’m going to give it a try.
We live in a formerly “red” state which appears to be slowly turning “purple.” We’ve got a former astronaut Democrat named Kelly running against a 2018 GOP voter reject our GOP governor appointed to the U.S. Senate despite that rejection. That “reject” is already running ads saying “my constituents are nearly unanimous in their support of the President.” That’s because her “constituents” are all on the far right. That’s all she hears.
What if Democrats across the nation undertook a “communication campaign?” What if, instead of just complaining about the congressional Trump supporters, they deluged those Republicans with voices - and facts- they aren’t getting? What if, instead of bitching to each other, they turned that wasted energy to actively lobbying members they’ve never considered communicating with before?
Ah well, all this might just be blowing smoke in the wind. Maybe I’m overreacting to Charlie Dent’s comments.
But, then again, what have we got to lose? Why not give it a try? Maybe we can convert some shaky Republicans.
Wouldn’t you feel good?