Out of the Blue: Democrats — don’t panic! (opinion)
September 28, 2016
By the time you read this, the first 2016 Presidential Debate will be a memory, a distant blip on a ticker-tape news-hour radar that has been summarily eclipsed by some new hot-button political news.
But on the Monday of the event, I gave my dad an early ride to the Sacramento Airport, and in those beautiful Northern California hours before dawn, we discussed what he was going to miss during his annual hunting trip to Canada, starting with the debate.
Our first topic was what Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight refers to as "Democratic Panic." He argues that if poll numbers for Hillary Clinton didn't improve significantly in the days before the debate, they might stay stagnant until election day, with her tenuous national polling lead and 51/49 status in swing states going either way.
My parents live in California, which is a reliably blue state, but Nevada's a closer shave, with projections from disparate polls attesting that its six electoral votes are up for grabs. I assured my dad that once he comes back on the grid, things will have settled, that these insane campaigns will have aligned themselves, presenting a clear path for the last leg of the contest.
Because here's the thing: I don't have "Democratic Panic."
There are asterisks to this, of course, beginning with the fact that we have to get out the vote. If the primaries were any indication, we'll see record low turnout in November, which will impact results unpredictably. There are enthusiastic, capable Democrats hard at work pounding pavement in your Tahoe neighborhoods as we speak, but we won't know what these efforts will inspire until the big day is upon us.
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But before then, let me ask a question, dear readers: Is it important to uphold the Constitution?
This iconic document is by its very nature flawed, and in order for it to stay relevant, it must evolve as our country does. As President Lincoln said, it must be maintained, "for it is the only safeguard of our liberties." We should vigilantly challenge and improve upon it, but we need to stand by it.
Donald Trump stated this week that he wants to reinstate stop-and-frisk policy in an effort to curb violence against police. This act was deemed unconstitutional in 2013, with a judge stating it was a breach of citizens' liberty from unreasonable searches and seizures (4th amendment), and a violation of the Equal Protection Clause (14th).
Therefore, standing by Trump here implies support of him acting outside the Constitution, beyond the law of the land, to enforce a policy that has been deemed illegal (and ineffective). I have a feeling voters of all stripes can recognize this is no good.
Then there's the fact that Trump has gotten away with stances on issues that oscillate insanely. My views here may differ wildly from yours (perhaps that's a crushing understatement), but let's address together an NBC News piece in which they dissect Trump's on-the-record stance on immigration.
He will not rule out a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. There will be no amnesty. He isn't currently talking about a deportation force. He's going to have a deportation force, and he'll use it "humanely." He'll use the same deportation policies as the Obama administration. And of course, he has stayed "absolutely consistent" on the issue, according to VP candidate Mike Pence.
So help me out – what does his comprehensive policy look like, in a nutshell? And don't forget that he has a similarly kaleidoscopic attitude to most other issues on his platform. Where does he really stand on them? I believe that with complex issues, debating them to find amenable, workable compromises is how our government can operate efficiently, but these all-over-the-map takes on immigration imply that Trump, frankly, agrees with Clinton on the issue half the time.
Gasp! Does this mean Republicans and Democrats sometimes agree?
This will be a close election, to be sure, but sanity will win the day. Politics is imperfect, and the argument could be made that the two candidates left standing exemplify that truism profoundly, but while I recognize there is work to be done, I lack "Democratic Panic." My dad left for his flight not as confident as his son, but he hoped I was right.
But if we're to believe Trump, then Hillary and her army of Marxists will abolish the second amendment and confiscate his hunting rifles by the time he returns, so there's that to consider…
Mike Restaino is a writer and filmmaker based out of Incline Village. He is also a Vice Chair of the North Tahoe Democrats. He can be reached at email@example.com.