Robert Reich asks his readers to perform a thought experiment:
The tyrant and the oligarchy have convinced many voters the reason they feel powerless and economically insecure isn’t because the oligarchy has taken most of the economic gains and overwhelmed the government with its money. It’s because the country has been taken over by undocumented migrants, Latinos, African Americans and a “deep state” of coastal liberals, intelligence agencies and mainstream media.
This is rubbish, of course, but the tyrant is masterful at telling big lies and he is backed by the oligarchy’s money.
Imagine further that the opposition party will soon face another election in which it could possibly depose the tyrant and overcome the oligarchy. But at the rate they are consolidating power – over the courts, politics and the media – this could be the opposition’s last chance.
What would the opposition do? Certainly, it wouldn't be what the Democrats are doing:
Would it let almost every one of them go on television to debate one other, thereby placing a premium on one-line zingers, fast talk and rapid-fire putdowns? Would it assign them randomly to one of two nights, so several candidates with the most support would not even get to debate one other?
Of course not. Instead, it would take the half-dozen who had the best chance and structure the debates so they could demonstrate their understanding of the issues and the forcefulness of their ideas in lengthy back-and-forth exchanges.
Would it encourage them to split the party over policy issues that almost no one understands, such as the meaning of “Medicare for all”, thereby causing some voters to become alarmed about a government takeover of the healthcare system and others to worry the government won’t go far enough?
No. It would encourage the candidates to emphasize the larger goal, in this case to provide health insurance to everyone, and have them explain that a so-called “public option” to buy into Medicare would eventually displace for-profit private insurers anyway, because it would be so much cheaper.
Would it let any of this deflect attention from the tyrant keeping children in cages at the border, coddling foreign dictators and inviting them to help him in the next election, shattering alliances with other democracies, using his office to make money for himself and his family, lying non-stop, subsidizing fossil fuels and downplaying climate change, claiming the media is guilty of treason, and undermining other democratic institutions and norms?
Of course not.
But that is exactly what the Democrats appear to be doing. The simple truth is that most elections are lost by foolish blunders.
This is no time for folly.