[I wrote this post shortly before the news broke about Trump firing F.B.I Director James Comey. I’m not going to comment on that bombshell yet. It doesn’t look good for Trump; maybe this is the beginning of the end. But I don’t pretend to understand it at this point. So here’s my original post.]
Here are five issues Democrats can use to chip away at Trump’s support. It’s not that RussiaGate isn’t a good one, for now. It distracts him ― keeps him off-balance and on the defensive. It could actually lead to downfalls, if not for him personally then of some of those around him. But Democrats should not put all their chips on RussiaGate, which may, ultimately, be a big yawn. Here are five other issues Trump is vulnerable on.
- His taxes. By a wide majority, Americans are concerned about Trump not releasing his taxes. They are unconvinced by his repeated lie that “no one cares.” They do care. Americans instinctively understand that Trump is getting away with something they could not. Because he’s rich, and can hire the best lawyers, he can thwart laws that would ensnare them. It’s fundamentally unfair. So #ReleaseYourTaxes has traction.
- The family’s financial conflicts of interest. Even the most diehard free marketer and tea party stalwart has got to be concerned by seeing Jared, Ivanka and various Trump relatives and in-laws running around the world, trading on their name, opening new hotels and golf courses, and getting even richer. Everybody knows that the family’s businesses are helped immeasurably by the fact that “Trump” is not only a brand, he’s President of the United States. This rubs Americans the wrong way; they believe that success should be due to hard work, not family connections. And Trump devolving power on his family smacks of something Americans hate: nepotism.
- TrumpCare. We’ll have to see what the Senate does, but right now, Americans are concerned with what the House has done. Their health care rights are about to be stripped away, their out-of-pocket costs increased. Whether you’re a Republican or not, it’s hard to watch Grannie’s diabetes coverage taken away by a gigantic insurance company that doesn’t give a damn about her. Pottery Barn rule: You break it, you own it. Keep your eye on those town halls.
- Trump’s moral fitness and character deficiencies. Everybody knows he’s a bad person: a liar, a boaster, an insulter, an adulterer, a pussy groper, unhumble, and a bully. Christians ought to be especially concerned at how Trump trashes every moral and ethical scripture in their Bible. Most of them, I think, also know that his claim of being a believing Christian is bogus. So far, they’re standing by their man. But the message needs to be hammered home: You would not let your daughter near this predator. He’s the opposite of Christian. Pagan is more like it.
- Trump’s connections to white supremacists, survivalists, xenophobes and other domestic menaces. We Democrats understand this. Too many in the Rust Belt do not. We have to assume, however, that those angry white men have a conscience ― a sense of decency, if not patriotism, that can be appealed to. At some level, they understand the danger of thousands upon thousands of Timothy McVeighs, David Dukes and Dylann Roofs, encouraged by Trump’s and Bannon’s white nationalism, joining forces and readying themselves for warfare with “liberals.” Even Republicans who hate Hollywood liberals don’t want to see another Civil War.
(You’ll notice I didn’t include Trump’s war on science and the environment. This is because, while these things infuriate Democrats, I don’t think Republicans, even moderate ones, care very much about them. “By their fruits you will know them.”)
These are five lines of attack Democrats ought not to forget, in the giddiness of RussiaGate. That each of them has the power to inflict damage on Trump is proved by the fact that Trump consistently rails against them ― if he wasn’t afraid, he wouldn’t care ― and that the various branches of Rupert Murdoch’s empire, especially Fox “News” and the Wall Street Journal, barely mention them; and, when they have to write about them, they downplay their significance. Heimoff’s Law: Whatever Murdoch is afraid of is exactly what Democrats should pursue.