If Trump is Running a Shadow Presidency Democrats Need to Attack Him for Weakening the U.S.


It’s looking very much as if ex-president Donald Trump is pulling the old Republican-shadow-presidency-to subvert-the elected-president’s-foreign-policy card.

This is an old trick of Republicans; they’ve been doing it since Nixon, and they’ve been getting away with it because Democrats have historically been too timid and outplayed by the Machiavellian maneuvers of people who appear willing to prolong a war if it means a political advantage for them.

Here’s what’s happening:

Trump spoke privately with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the New York Times reported this week. About what? They aren’t saying.

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On Thursday we learned that Jared Kushner secretly met with Israel’s far-right wing Prime Minister Netanyahu on December 21.

“Netanyahu’s diary, which has become public due to a lawsuit, reveals a meeting he did not previously report: The Israeli Prime Minister hosted Jared Kushner in Tel Aviv, on December 21”.

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) told Greg Sargent at The New Republic that the Trump-Saudi relationship is “absolutely crying out for serious scrutiny.”

Given that Raskin also just exposed the way in which Rep. James Comer (R-KY) is helping Russia attack America by laundering their disinformation through a U.S. House “investigation”, the situation is even more alarming.

It’s also rather obvious. And it would be great if we could stop pretending we don’t see what’s happening in front of our faces. We already know that Trump is using House Republicans to block the President of the United States’ foreign policy as it pertains to Ukraine. We know that Trump is getting House Republicans to obstruct the President’s border policies because Trump thinks it will help win if the border is in chaos.

The voters aren’t getting the full benefits of the President they elected. They are being robbed, again, because Republicans do not care what the voters want. The will of the people is of no interest to Donald Trump and his Republican Party.

Based on Trump’s 2016 history, his efforts to get Ukraine to investigate his political opponent while president, and the current facts, it’s likely Trump is undermining the President of the United States’ foreign policy on purpose for personal political gain.

There are very few – if any – reasons to suspect this isn’t true. It’s how Donald Trump operates, it is how the Republican Party has operated for decades, and we have several recent instances of meetings between foreign principles and Trump and his surrogates.

“Trump, in his uniquely brazen way, is likely participating in the corrupt Republican tradition of sabotaging U.S. foreign policy while in opposition for narrow partisan gain. The Dem tradition is to ignore it, with predictable consequences,” Brian Beutler wrote in Off Message.

How should President Biden handle this if it is indeed happening?

If there is an area where Democrats can grow and expand in the Trump era and post-Roe landscape, it is in their messaging.

While not everyone can be a John Fetterman (D-PA) and still win in their district, the Democratic base is hungry for backbone and a pugnacious embrace of all of the authority given. They’re tired of electing Democrats only to see them cede to Republican seizures of power.

For too long, Democrats have let the beltway scold them into “working with Republicans,” which translates too often into letting Republicans hold the country hostage, appropriate power not given to them, and pilfer basic human rights. Democrats have rightfully worked with Republicans to save the country, but they must not succumb to Republican authoritarianism. There is no legitimate middle ground between democracy and autocracy.

The base needs to know that the power they work so hard to vest in their candidates will pay off; that their interests and rights will be fiercely defended — including their right to elect a president and have *that* person’s foreign policy be the one they get.

The voters should get the foreign policies of the person they elected. Anyone interfering in that has contempt for the will of Americans.

The current facts are: Donald Trump’s actions are undermining the U.S.. He poses a danger to the U.S.. He poses a danger to freedom. He poses a danger to democracy. He tried to steal the most fundamental right from a majority of Americans. He stole classified documents and left them in spaces accessible by his paying guests. He shared military secrets. He incited a deadly insurrection against the U.S. in an effort to hold on to power the voters did not give him. He has recently been found liable for fraud and rape.

This is not a man known for his integrity, honesty, or character. We have no reason to assume the best of this person.

Let’s not have a repeat of 2016, where Democrats sat on their knowledge of what Trump was doing with Russia. When running against a strongman, special care needs to be taken to not appear weakened by that person, so how this information — if it is indeed happening — is shared with the public matters.

The message should be:

Donald Trump is weakening America for his own political gain and he thinks American voters are too stupid to understand what he’s doing.

What do you, the voters, think? Will you let him get away with this, again?

Donald Trump is a conniving backstabber. He can’t be trusted.

What do you, the voters, think? Will you let him get away with this, again?

Donald Trump thinks that betraying his country will help him get elected.

What do you, the voters, think? Will you let him get away with this, again?

If Democrats want to succeed against encroaching authoritarianism, they need to be bolder. They need to message strength and power, while maintaining the egalitarian values of the Democratic Party.

It’s time to take a *temporary* page out of the Republican playbook.

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