January 25, 2019 11:50:56 AM
It started during the midterm campaign. Democrats stopped talking about Donald Trump all the time. Now presidential hopefuls are doing the same. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, once a relentless sparring partner on Twitter, all but ignores Trump's goading comments.
Is the reason, as some commentators hold, that the public is tired of the constant Trump-bashing, including those who dislike the man? Is it that Democrats have suddenly realized that getting suckered into his social media combat is exactly what he wants?
Perhaps, but the change in approach seems to reflect something more, something beyond mere Trump fatigue. We may have entered the era of Trump boredom.
Some of that may come from the sense that he's mattering less. The midterm elections were a repudiation. His poll numbers keep dropping.
His latest escalation, closing the government, is eating into his base of ardent supporters. Many who sort of liked him are giving up. The precedent has to be set that a president can't close the government because he didn't get his way on some matter. Throwing the country into turmoil is not a normal negotiating tactic.
Americans, meanwhile, are getting nervous about the economy, which has been Trump's pride and joy. Just wait till sluggish growth collides with trillion-dollar budget deficits.
I've been unfollowing Twitter mates who habitually list Trump's old crimes and personal frailties as though they were news. They don't seem to understand that for many, raw anger has turned into acceptance of what he is. There's no fixing Trump. He's a problem that needs managing.
Enter House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She is a model of self-control. She speaks in the calm manner needed for dealing with people who act on impulse. Mother of five, she's a proven master at containing tantrums.
Measured leadership in national politics is exactly what most Americans want. There's a yearning for normality in their national politics.
On this subject, we urge some of the hotheads on the left to modulate their emotions. It is in their interests to play it cool, assuming that their interests center on getting Democrats elected and not building their own brands for a niche audience.
Thus, it was pleasant to watch a Golden Globe Awards presentation that didn't bubble over with rage at the man in the Oval Office. The moral preening in the past was hard on the stomach, including for many who agree with the messages. Hollywood's elite should know that celebrity does not necessarily confer superior political insight.
Take a cue from Democratic political advisers. In the final month of the 2018 campaigns, their candidates mentioned Trump in only 11 percent of their ads. They generally stuck to their plans for the future. That apparently worked for them.
Meanwhile, the serious scandals grow. The older scandals tied to sexual behavior are minor next to the extraordinary, but now thinkable, possibility that a president has been working for a foreign adversary. Continually repeating the smaller misdeeds only distracts from the bigger stuff.
What Democrats need is their own media environment in which they control the message. And that means leaving Trump little opportunity to grab attention at their expense. The worse things get for him the more bombastic his diversions will be.
An impeachment proceeding would add another layer of chaos on a fatigued American public. New revelations might force that action, but this should not be the Democrats' focus at this point. The best day for sending Trump home would be Nov. 3, 2020, Election Day. (Law enforcement may have plans for him later.)
Whatever the means for removal, it's obvious that time is running out on the Trump years. Don't drown out the sound of the ticking.
Froma Harrop, a syndicated columnist, writes for the Providence (Rhode Island) Journal. Her e-mail address is [email protected]
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