What Democrats Must Do in 2017

TAX RETURNS AND CORRUPTION

Donald Trump needs to release his tax returns and divest himself from his businesses.

Until that happens, Democrats should refuse to work with Republicans on ANYTHING. And they’d have a very good reason: how can we know if President Trump has a conflict of interest regarding legislation he signs? Or judicial appointments? Or executive orders? Or on foreign policy?

These aren’t small problems–Republicans would certainly ask that a Democratic President released their financial information, right? So there’s nothing wrong with insisting Donald Trump release his taxes before Democrats work with Republicans.

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This is Trump’s achilles heel: corruption and conflicts of interest regarding his businesses. Republican voters may not agree with the overarching Democratic agenda, but they’ll be very sensitive to charges of corruption in government–and that’s how this whole thing should be framed. Trump’s cabinet picks show that he’s already caved on his promise to “Drain the Swamp,” and the notion that he’s using the Presidency to enrich himself won’t sit well with anyone, especially his supporters.

Can Democrats stop Republicans from doing what they want? Not really. But by drawing a line in the sand, not only can they argue that the GOP agenda is hurting ordinary people, they can also suggest that Trump is running the country to benefit himself and the billionaires in his cabinet.

It’s a win-win. If Trump doesn’t release his taxes, Democrats can oppose anything and everything the GOP tries to do (which will most certainly be bad)–all the while reminding the American people that Trump is being secretive and corrupt–and if he does, my guess is we’re going to find out a lot of shit that will horrify ordinary Americans and further cripple him in the court of public opinion; indeed, there’s a distinct possibility that the release of Trump’s taxes would result in impeachment.

The bonus? This isn’t an argument about race, political philosophy, or other “identity politics” issues. It’s about corruption, and if there’s any issue people agree upon in this age of extreme partisanship, it’s that there’s too much corruption in American politics.

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That’s the starting point. Until Trump releases his taxes and divests his business interests, Democrats don’t want to hear about a replacement for Obamacare, a nominee for the Supreme Court, infrastructure investment–nothing. And when they’re interviewed by the media, it’s really simple: “Donald Trump has not released his tax returns or divested his business interests. From what little we know, his financial dealings are deeply troubling. He owes money to banks in Germany and China–and who knows where else? He hasn’t paid taxes for the last 20 years. And he’s influenced foreign heads of state to stay in his hotels, not to mention involving his children in matters of the executive branch even while they run his businesses. The American people deserve to know that Donald Trump isn’t using his office for personal profit or being influenced by debts he owes to foreign entities, and until he releases his tax returns for the last five years, we have no idea what’s going on.”

DON’T MAKE DEALS WITH THE DEVIL

Let’s be honest: Democrats WILL NOT benefit whatsoever from working with Trump. Republicans proved that over the last eight years–they stonewalled Obama and the Democratic agenda at every possible point, including stealing a seat on the Supreme Court, and Republicans voters didn’t give a shit. In fact, it probably helped them win in 2016. And unlike Obamacare and the few other things Democrats got done in the last eight years–which were mostly good and benefitted millions of Americans–what Republicans are planning to do is really, really bad.

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Their first plan is to repeal Obamacare and replace it with–well we still don’t know exactly what after years of Republican hemming and hawing about it–but whatever they come up with, it’s not going to fix the problems with the ACA, it’s not going to be a single-payer system, and it will almost certainly include big giveaways to Wall Street and Health Insurance Companies. I predict a mess, and Democrats should want no part of it.

What else are Republicans planning? Tax cuts for the rich and powerful–including a repeal of the estate tax. A move to gut Medicare and turn it over to private insurance. An increase in the age of eligibility for Social Security. Cuts to Food Stamps and other assistance to the poor. Block-granting Medicaid. Gutting the EPA so that big polluters can fill our skies with smoke and our rivers with industrial waste. Repealing Dodd-Frank so that Wall Street can gamble us into another Great Recession…

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The list goes on, and none of it’s good. Seriously, Republicans don’t want to help ordinary people–they want to help their rich pals and multinational corporations. That’s the truth. And if you find that galling, ask yourself, when was the last time Republicans passed a major piece of legislation specifically designed to help ordinary Americans? I can’t think of one, and since I’ve been asking that question (five or six years now), not a single person has come up with a satisfactory answer.

So what would Democrats gain by working with these guys? NOTHING. And for Democrats who work with Trump and the Republicans, be-fucking-ware! You will not receive my vote, nor most of the rest of the majority of Americans who voted for Hillary Clinton. We hate this guy and we hate his party–not out of irrational partisanship, but because they are hateful people who support bad policies, lie all the time, and are willing to inflame racism and bigotry if it helps them gain power. And mark my words: the vast majority of Democrats and liberal leaning Americans won’t support anyone who has anything to do with their heinous agenda.

Taxes. Make Trump release his taxes. Until he does, let Republicans take ownership for the shit-storm of bad policies they’re about to unleash on the American people.

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About The Author: Jay Scott

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