We’ve been together for a while now. It’s platonic, and probably always will be, as we share a home together as friends ever since I left the Republicans. But I appreciate our new relationship, and that’s why I’m comfortable telling you here that I’m worried about you.
We don’t agree about everything. Still, we get along pretty well, you and I, centered around the daily understanding that Donald Trump is a dire threat to the United States. That’s why I’ve been comfortable in my public commitment to vote for the Democratic presidential nominee, come hell or high water. You’ve mostly responded to this by …
Well, that’s the thing, isn’t it? I feel like you’re not doing your part here.
We take our walks together and we discuss the importance of getting rid of Donald Trump. And yet, when we both leave for work in the morning, it feels like only one of us is really, truly serious about that.
Are you trying to lose the election?
When we watched CNN's LGBTQ town hall for the Democratic candidates Thursday, we had very different reactions. This is the event, you remember, where former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas said he’d punish religious institutions for refusing gay marriage, and where Sen. Kamala Harris of California started by informing us of her pronouns, and then host Chris Cuomo, after a mild and dopey joke, had to go on Twitter the next day and apologize for making light of it. This is where Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts fielded a question about traditional marriage with a sneering, smug insinuation that the only people who would ask her about that are men who can’t find a woman.
You thought it was great. You saw a ringing defense of LGBTQ rights and a reaffirmation of what Democrats stand for.
I saw it and thought: Are these people insane? Are they trying to lose the election?
And not for the first time, I had that chilly feeling that I’m going to be alone at the voting booth in 2020, while you’re back at the house arguing with your friends about guns and gay marriage and climate change like a nightmarish Very Special Episode of "Friends."
Now, I would really prefer that this not devolve into our usual fights about the importance of same-sex marriage and LGBTQ rights, because we’re not that far apart on any of this. I might not ever get past rolling my eyes at people informing me about pronouns, but I have come to accept the importance of marriage equality. And if former President Barack Obama can “evolve” on gay marriage, so can I.
Why have an LGBTQ town hall?
But you told me when we moved in together that you agreed with me that removing Trump was the most important thing in the world to you. And I believed you. Why can’t you act like you believe it, too? The goal here is to assemble at least 270 electoral votes. Don’t we agree on that anymore?
I’m not asking you to betray your principles. But I’m going to be honest: When it comes to the election of 2020, I don’t care about LGBTQ issues. And neither should you — not because these issues are not important, but because there isn’t a single Democratic candidate who is against you on any of this, and not one of them will be worse than Trump.
In fact, I still wonder what the point of a nationally televised LGBTQ town hall was in the first place. To me, it looked like a beauty contest aimed at increasing fundraising among a wealthy Democratic demographic, but at the risk of alienating the African-American and suburban women who propelled you into the majority in 2018. Did you really need a primary-driven bidding war to see who could be more demonstratively empathetic and accepting?
Now, I know that’s how you do things. It’s not my way, but I get it. And maybe on some other planet where Trump isn’t president and the GOP is not a mindless cult that will vote for him under any circumstances, this would be an understandable thing to do.
Don't hand issues to culture warriors
You’re scaring me, however, when you tell me that you think you have to hammer on these hot-button issues in the places you need to win back electoral votes — in order to motivate your base to come out and vote.
Do you realize what you’re saying? If you need an evening-long town hall on LGBTQ issues to “motivate” yourselves, then you’re already doomed.
I’m not telling you to go win the votes of old racists wearing MAGA hats; I’m telling you to make sure that the people who helped you in 2018 don’t simply stay home in 2020. And the first thing you can do to avert this, which will result in another supermajority win on the coasts while losing the Electoral College, is to stop handing issues to the Republican culture warriors.
Take it from a former member of the GOP tribe, they’re waiting for you. They are praying, you should pardon the expression, that you will do something stupid and pointless so that they can take the spotlight off of Trump. They will do anything to change the subject, so that you cannot run on the simple platform that Trump is an emotionally unstable ignoramus who is endangering our national security and trampling on the Constitution. Why help them?
You’ve told me many times, as we’ve sat together in front of the television, that the Democrats can advocate for very liberal social justice positions and still strategize to beat Trump. I have squeezed my eyes tight, and I have wanted to believe you. And in fairness, you did a great job in 2018. If there’s any chance of impeaching the Mad King, it’s because you and your compatriots held back on the fringey stuff and elected a lot of solid, moderate candidates who flipped a lot of seats. My fears back then were unfounded.
I will blame you if Trump wins
But now you’re running a primary that is nothing but a bonanza for GOP ad-makers. Warren’s creepy zinger, Harris’ pretentious pronouns … I’m sorry, what was the point of all that again? Was the LGBTQ vote in danger of going to the Republicans and I missed it?
We pledged over two years ago to join hands on this one issue. But now I worry that in your zeal to win the Woke Twitter and college campus primary, you will simply make the same mistakes you made in 2016. Your nominee will crush it in the bicoastal race to be the Honorary Governor of the New Californiork Republic. Blue cities everywhere will welcome you as liberators. And Trump will laugh at you every day from Washington.
Ex-Republican and ex-Clinton aide: How Democrats should impeach Trump
This election could be a landslide if the public focuses on Trump’s abuses of power, his offenses against the Constitution, his insane foreign policy, his barely contained megalomania and narcissism. I support your efforts to impeach him, but that’s likely to fail, and it is well within your — our — power to remove him at the ballot box when that happens.
But if you can’t get to 270 electoral votes, you’re going to have to live with me as the grumpiest roommate you ever had. You can count on four years of me letting the tub get grimy, leaving my dishes in the sink and not speaking to you.
Because if Trump wins again, it’s going to be your fault.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Are Democrats committed to beating Trump? I'm nervous: Ex-Republican