A letter to the Best and Rest of Us:
By now you know that President Donald J. Trump has left no doubt that he is a racist. His recent rant, some of which he lied about (What’s new?), focusing on four U.S. congresswomen of color, crystalizes how far into the muck he has taken the presidency.
To the Best and Rest of Us, don’t take your eyes off the prize — that being winning local, state and national elections, and especially the presidency.
Don’t pay a lot of attention to the pundits who wail on about how Trump’s rants are winning his base. Instead, do what you can to secure the Democrats' base and attract independents and moderate Republicans — especially those who are appalled by the slow drowning of civil discourse and civil rights in America.
And, to the young, influential Democratic Congress people, please realize that your recent electoral wins were equivalent to winning the first quarter of a football game. You have to win the next three quarters to be the champion. And that will mean developing strategies that can win over the independents and moderates, not chase them away. This fight is bigger than you.
Find those 17-year-olds who will be voting next year and talk about how important it is for their future that they be wary of a candidate that lies daily and who attempts to use race as a driver to divide the country.
You have to implore the Democrats to accept a candidate who is not perfect. Convince people that even if they have to vote for a pencil sharpener, it would be better than what we have.
Please understand that even with his base, satisfied with his racism, Trump lost the popular vote by nearly three million votes in 2016. (He never mentions that.) In fact, he won the swing states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin by about 100,000 votes. That could be those voters who didn’t like Hilary Clinton and inexplicably stayed home on election day.
We are hurting as a nation because of the president’s painful rhetoric and the heartbreaking amount of blind support he gets. But you have to push on. Iron out policies that will feed and house our poor, that will educate our children and that will prepare our young for the new-age jobs that are replacing big assembly line-factory posts.
For the rest and best of us, remember that the goal is to win the presidency and to win back Congress. That’s when laws can be changed and the direction of the country can be moved to help everyone, not just those with wealth and separatist ambitions.
Remember, this is a president who has told four women of color in Congress to go back to where they came from (three of the four are from the United States) because he doesn’t like their political positions. He is welcoming to the “good people” among the Ku Klux Klan, white nationalists and Nazis.
Please make this painful time in the history of this country a springboard for inviting as many people as possible under the tent of civility and getting them to the polls.
Show them an example of American courage exemplified by the late U.S. Sen. John McCain’s response to a woman who claimed that then-presidential candidate Barack Obama was Arab. “No ma’am,” McCain said. “He’s a decent family man, a citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that’s what this campaign is all about.”
We certainly wouldn’t get that from the serial liar, bone-spur coward and now unmistaken racist in the White House.
The goal must be to win the gavels in the House and Senate, along with the big white house on Pennsylvania Avenue. So, it’s not about you, but about team. It’s the winner that gets the spoils, not the spirited also-rans.
Finally, to the best and rest of us, as the president continues to spread his poison of divisiveness, we will be reminded by Abraham Lincoln: “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
Email Edward Pratt, a former newspaperman who writes a weekly column, at email@example.com.