There’s only one way to beat Trump – focus on the issues, not the President

Shane Brennan

As a U.S citizen, I want to see the back of Donald Trump’s presidency. I don’t really like the idea of spending the summer training to fight in Iran or Korea or wherever the hell he tweets war threats to this week. So, I’ve taken a break from reading about the stalemate of Dáil discussions to have a look at the race to become the Democrats’ nominee in November’s election.

One thing struck me from the start: beating Trump seems to be more important than fixing problems. How else could you describe the candidacy of Mike Bloomberg? I’m not really sure what his policies are, nobody is. I watched all two hours of the Nevada debate, the first to feature the former Republican Mayor of New York, and I was still none the wiser.

His candidacy is a symptom of a desire to win at all costs against Trump. A New York billionaire who was once affiliated with the other party, looking to beat a New York billionaire who was once affiliated with the other party. Bloomberg knows he can buy his way into relevancy by pledging $1 billion in ads for either himself or whoever is the nominee.

It’s not just “Mini Mike” who’s selling himself as the best anti-Trump candidate. They’re all at it.

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s first quote of the debate was that, he was best placed to beat Trump. He had nothing really relevant to say after that. Elizabeth Warren was on full attack mode during the debate, basing her pitch on being the only viable candidate to beat the president while attacking Bloomberg on his record of non-disclosure agreements with women he allegedly harassed. 

Amy Klobuchar is still in the race based on her status as a Midwestern woman who can win in states like Wisconsin and Michigan, while Pete Buttigeg is playing a similar Midwestern card while attacking Bloomberg and Bernie Sanders for not being lifelong Democrats, a move evidently designed to shore up the establishment vote.

In 2008 Barack Obama offered hope. In 2016 Donald Trump offered a chance to send a message to Washington DC that the system isn’t working for them. Now, in 2020, it seems that the Democrats have only one candidate that can deliver a similar message, Bernie Sanders. 

Sanders is everything Biden or Clinton are not. He didn’t spend a huge chunk of the debate attacking the current president, but offered his vision for the future. The others are painting Sanders as a dangerously left-field candidate (sound familiar Mary Lou?), yet voters in Nevada overwhelmingly backed his vision for tackling the problems America faces, problems far bigger and more disturbing than what we face here in Ireland. 

On the day this edition is released, we will be seeing the results of Super Tuesday, and I expect Democratic voters to side with the man who bases his belief on what he sees in front of him instead of the debates he wants to have with the opponent. By focusing on problems instead of on Trump, maybe then we can kick the commander-in-tweet out for good, and I won’t have to learn how to use an AR-15.

Shane Brennan

Image: Flickr