Littwin: Why Democrats should love Donald Trump

If you watched Democratic Debate III, against the apparent wishes of the Democratic Party, you’re probably talking about two things: Hillary Clinton’s loo-ghazi (as it’s being called) bathroom break and, of course, Donald Trump.

One was funny, sort of, and the other was, in the words of the three Democratic debaters, a “fascist” billionaire with a big mouth (O’Malley), whose anti-Muslim rants make him “ISIS’s best recruiter” (Clinton) and who tells otherwise disaffected voters that “we’ve got to hate the Mexicans…we’ve got to hate the Muslims.” (Sanders)

If you’re about to say that some of that sounds over the top — like Clinton’s suggestion that ISIS is using Trump videos as a recruiting tool — you have to first ask yourself how you can possibly get more over the top than sky-scraping Trump. Last seen, he was doing his round of the Sunday morning news shows to insist, once again, that his nonexistent 9/11-celebrating Jersey City Muslims were real, but, far more strangely, also to defend his new best friend Vladimir Putin, saying there was no proof that Putin had killed journalists or anyone else.

If establishment Republicans weren’t already sick with worry about the Donald — and, of course, they are — the Democratic debate must have pushed them over the top.

Trump was the only Republican the Democrats mentioned — and with good reason. They’re thrilled for his face to be the face of the GOP. If Republicans insist on making him the pre-actual-votes-counted leader, why wouldn’t Democrats cheer them on?

It is time, after all, when we must consider the possibility that Trump could win the nomination, and Trump runs against the loser of a country that we’re stuck with, that only he can make, you know, great again.

That’s why Democrats are nearly as happy as Trump whenever the Donald is dominating the debate — whether it’s a GOP debate or a Democratic one.

The debate itself wasn’t bad, if that’s how you want to spend your Saturday night on the weekend before Christmas. No, it didn’t change the terms of the Democratic race, and it seemed, well, repetitive — Bernie full of passion, Hillary full of a wide range of facts. Clinton showed once again how good she is on a debate stage, and, strangely, Sanders wasted his lovable Bernie scowl by pulling his punches every time Clinton gave him an open shot. We’ve seen this show before.

As for Martin O’Malley, the Other Guy? His biggest moment came near the beginning of the debate when the data breach was addressed. Bernie apologized, Hillary accepted and the Other Guy chided them for fighting the way Washington people do, even though they weren’t actually fighting. No wonder the Dems can’t draw Trump-like ratings

There were clear, even fundamental (as Sanders put it) differences between the Sanders’ left wing of the party and Clinton, who is her own wing. First, on Syria and the Middle East: Sanders said that Clinton was “too much into regime change,” and though he wanted to destroy ISIS as much as the next candidate, he thought it made no sense to be fighting Bashar al-Assad at the same time. The money quote: “Yes, we could get rid of Saddam Hussein, but that destabilized the entire region. Yes, we could get rid of Qaddafi, a terrible dictator, but that created a vacuum for ISIS. Yes, we could get rid of Assad tomorrow, but that would create another political vacuum that would benefit ISIS.”

This should be a winning argument for war-weary Democrats who may love Bernie (who wouldn’t?), but, to vote for him, would have to believe he could somehow win the presidency. Clinton, meanwhile, defended her role in Libya, called for a “deconflicted” no-fly zone in Syria, and was generally pro-interventionist, clearly making her case for a general-election audience. Clinton, on one hand, has to take Sanders seriously – he leads her in New Hampshire and has a real chance to win Iowa — but she can’t afford to run only against Sanders.

On the economy, the most memorable non-Star Wars quote of the night came when Clinton was asked whether corporations should love her, and Clinton replied, “Everyone should.” It brought the house down.  But Sanders countered that Wall Street won’t love him, and that’s all the difference you need to know. But, again, Sanders didn’t hit Clinton as a Wall Street candidate. Sanders may be the candidate for re-liberalized Democrats, but he basically let Clinton skip. He was the real liberal, and she was, apparently, liberal enough.

He said that liberal programs would cost money – and were well worth it. Clinton said that Sanders’ programs were too costly, and that only the rich would pay for hers. She promised she wouldn’t raise taxes for anyone making less than $250,000, and you have to wonder why no one questioned this now-somehow-accepted definition of middle class.

I’m not sure why Sanders pulled his punches. Is he a message candidate who doesn’t want to damage Clinton’s chances in the general election? Or is he caught knowing there’s no path to victory in a Democratic primary that includes slamming Clinton?

Of course, the more certain path for any Democrat is to embrace the gift that is the Donald. And what’s hardly debatable is that any easy shot Clinton’s challengers take at Trump is one slightly more complicated shot that they’re not taking at her.

Photo credit: Donkey Hotey, Creative Commons, Flickr


  1. best not be too flippant about Trump…or too confident in the voting public…the messaging is mostly right wing/republican owned and operated…we hear little of the Democratic Party…and we are bombarded by republican garbage, over and over again…hence our danger….as a publicly owned government, we are about to lose the last of our representative government to Wall Street and the Kochs…and other oligarchs…All Trump really has to do, is form a coalition of big businesses and bingo, we are no longer a United States of America…Crazy theory? I hope so…

  2. After the last Republican presidential debate Mr. Littwin introduced a new Oval Office prerequisite: likeability. And he then immediately and unilaterally proclaimed Senator Ted Cruz unlikeable.

    But it’s interesting—although not at all surprising–to note that Mr. Littwin did not use his brand new likeability scale to measure the Democrat presidential candidates. Partly because consistency is not one of Mr. Littwin’s strong suits and partly because he knows the presumptive Democrat presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, has a likeability rating only marginally higher than ISIS.

    Of course, likeability of the Democrat’s presidential field isn’t the only thing Mr. Littwin isn’t talking about: There’s also diversity. You remember diversity, right? It was supposedly one of the Democrat’s bedrock principles. Our first black president is a Democrat.

    Today things have changed.

    The Republican presidential field includes young and old, male and female, African-American, Caucasian, Hispanic and even an Indian-American.

    While the Democrat presidential field is mostly male, mostly old and all white which is why Mr. Littwin isn’t talking about it. And his silence speaks volumes about what a non-issue diversity really was and is. If diversity was a serious issue Mr. Littwin would certainly be complaining loud and long about the dearth of diversity in the Democrat’s presidential field, right?

    And there’s this from the New York Post:

    “Yet, as it happens, even on the state level, (Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’) party of bean-counters can’t seem to compete with the Republican Party, which can point to more non-white, non-male officials in key offices like governor and the US Senate — the very positions from which presidential candidates spring.”

    And if you still believe in Mr. Littwin’s objectivity consider this: Last month, when Jeb Bush suggested a no-fly zone in Syria Mr. Littwin was—as expected—very dismissive noting that it “could, of course, mean a possible confrontation with Russian planes.”

    But no such criticism when Mrs. Clinton suggested the very same strategy.

    Saturday’s debate indicates that the Democrat’s big tent has apparently been replaced by an assisted-living center. The debate looked and sounded more like grandma and grandpa bickering at an AARP picnic, or like Jed and granny Clampett fussin’ over Elly May’s curfew, or a meeting of the Colorado Independent’s editorial board.

    The optics aren’t good for Democrats if they hope to attract the under-65 vote.


    I still have trouble believing that Hillary Clinton, the wife of a former president, is the front-runner to succeed George Bush, the son of a former president. It sounds all too banana republic-ish. It also suggests a woeful lack of imagination. – Mike Littwin , 2007

    “A civil war erupted within the Democratic Party on Friday after news that Bernie Sanders’ campaign took advantage of a technological glitch to access, search and save one of Hillary Clinton’s most valuable campaign assets — her voter files.” –

    “In his meeting with the columnists, Mr. Obama indicated that he did not see enough cable television to fully appreciate the anxiety after the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, and made clear that he plans to step up his public arguments.

    The President of the United States failed to understand that Americans were anxious after two major terrorist attacks in Western cities because he doesn’t watch TV? It’s an admission that opponents are sure to use to make the president seem out-of-touch at best, and unconcerned about a serious threat at worst.” –

    “(The trial of Baltimore police officer William Porter in the death of Freddie Gray) was a prosecution that should never have been brought, based on such a stark lack of evidence that there was not even probable cause to make an arrest, much less proof beyond a reasonable doubt to convict a man presumed innocent. The jury should have acquitted Officer Porter in record time. Indeed, the case should never have gone to jury deliberations because the trial judge should have dismissed it when the state rested without proving any crimes.

    We’re told “Black Lives Matter,” but when it comes to black cops … not so much.” – National Review

    “The truth is that mass shootings are only a small part of gun violence in this country.” – Mike Littwin

    “The American people should feel confident that, you know, we are going to be able to defend ourselves and make sure that, you know, we have a good holiday and go about our lives,” – President Obama

    “Well, no, I don’t think (ISIS are) gaining strength. What is true is that from the start our goal has been first to contain (ISIS), and we have contained them” – President Obama

    “Let’s be clear: Islam is not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.” – Hillary Clinton

    “Democrats who debated in Iowa last night were very, very concerned about the Paris terror attacks and the growing evidence that ISIS—or Da’esh, as it is called in the region—has metastasized into a true global threat. Very concerned. Bernie Sanders even thought that this barbaric challenge to civilization should be “eliminated”…although it was not as great a threat as global warming, he allowed, which—hold on, here—causes terrorism. You know, droughts and floods set people in motion and…well, never mind.

    Indeed, political correctness makes it impossible for Democrats to face, head on, by name, the essential problem: the rise of Islamic radicalism—or jihadi-ism, as Hillary Clinton tried to call it (and almost succeeded). This is not just a word game.” – Joe Klein Time

    “The two presidents stood in the East Room on Tuesday afternoon, united in their goal of defeating the Islamic State but separated by a stylistic gulf as vast as the Atlantic.

    On the left, facing the cameras, was François Hollande, war president. He spoke of “cowardly murderers” who “dishonor humanity,” of a “relentless determination to fight terrorism everywhere and anywhere,” of “an implacable joint response,” of “hunting down their leaders” and “taking back the land

    On the right stood Barack Obama”. – Washington Post

    “The analogy will rankle many progressives, as well as conservative “realists” who have praised Obama’s doctrine of U.S. restraint. But any administration’s policies must be judged by their results, not the elegance of their conceptual underpinnings. And the results of Obama’s decision to stand aloof from the Syrian crisis have gone from bad to worse.”

    “’Cause I don’t have no use
    For what you loosely call the truth” – Tina Turner

    Greenlight a Vet
    Folds of Honor
    Memorial Day – May 30, 2016

  3. I went and sat with some Democrats at Old Chicago Pizza. Debates are best watched with a group of generally like-minded people. It really does not pay to beat up our own candidates when the Self-righteous right presents us with Trump, Carson and the rest of them. However, I’ve discovered that Dems have no problem criticizing their own (just ask Obama)at the same time that the Repubs have no reason to criticize their own because they know nothing of what the Repubs actually do or don’t do because their party is top-down- just trust us and you don’t need to know the specifics. And God forbid that we should discuss facts with you. On the other hand, Dems are bottom (base)-up and we continue criticizing our own in or out of office.
    And, since there are nothing but Republican news on TV, in print, or on the computer, we are not doing a very good job of helping ourselves. Except for the Independent and KOS, most people are only fed propaganda of the right.
    And, I wish you men who have not liked Hillary since Bill was in the White House would get over it. She is the only one of our candidates who is a realist and knows that she must appeal to everyone, not just our ultra left. And, she learned the hard ways of negotiation and compromise that are necessary in this split almost asunder country. If the next Congress has a majority of Republicans as it has now, she will be the only one who might accomplish anything. She has been enrolled in the school of hard knocks for a long time.

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