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Morning Briefing: Amidst All of the Chaos, There Are Reasons for Hope

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | March 21, 2018 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | March 21, 2018 |


We are a long way from where we want to be in this country — a long way — and the last 14 months have taken us only backward, but can we take a beat for a moment and at least appreciate this: It could be a lot worse. There are, in fact, a lot of reasons to feel optimistic right now. Let’s take a breath from Trump’s tweets and Stormy Daniels coverage to consider some of those reasons for hope:

— Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, and the rest of the Parkland survivors, who have gotten us as close to gun reform as we have been in years. We’re not there yet, and we won’t be as long as Donald Trump is the President. But people like Gonzalez and Hogg will be running our country in the not too distant future. The NRA, meanwhile, has never been more unpopular.

— President Trump managed to pass a tax law that was bad, but not as bad as it could have been. It offers very little help to low-and-middle income people, but it doesn’t harm them too much, either, save for the way in which it will ultimately result in an even more unfair distribution of wealth. I’m not saying it’s good; I am saying it could have been much worse.

— Obamacare is still hanging on. By a thread, perhaps, but the system is still in place, and there’s a possibility that Congress might even help stabilize it, and if the system continues to stay in place, a future President can prop it back up.

— Opposition — the resistance! — has staved off a lot of potential disasters, and I don’t think there’s been a time in decades in which liberals and Democrats have ever been as engaged as they are right now, and it is young people (Florida) and women of color (Alabama!) that have been leading us.

— The #MeToo movement has produced results in Hollywood, tech, academia, the media, and business. It still needs to worm its way down to the cubicles of everyday corporate America and HR departments in the middle of the country, but there has been progress.

— Everything pundits predicted about Trump has come true: He’s a chaos President, and while that produces a lot of daily headlines, it does not produce a lot of progress on his agenda. Every day that Donald Trump is hiding in the White House and watching Fox News is another day he doesn’t get sh*t done.

— There are very few opportunities remaining this year to pass legislation of any sort. Election years do not tend to produce a lot of new laws. That means we have to do our best to ride it out until November. If Democrats can take back the House — and they are currently predicted to pick up between 30 and 45 seats — we can effectively neutralize Trump. He’ll spend two more years absolutely miserable and lashing out, but it will be largely ineffective.

— The DREAMers are still here. For now.

— Democrats hold a small lead in the Senate race in TENNESEE. Ted Cruz has a formidable challenger in TEXAS. It looks like Republicans could very well nominate a guy who spent a year in prison to run against Joe Manchin in West Virginia. Republicans are retiring in droves. Some (in Hawaii) are switching parties.

— Trump is his own worst enemy. Every day is just one embarrassing headline after another, and there’s more to come. Stormy Daniels, The Apprentice contestant, Summer Zervos, who is suing him, Karen McDougal, James Comey’s upcoming book, Andrew McCabe will eventually speak out, the Mueller probe is producing more results and more indictments and all of it continues to cripple Trump’s ability to do anything but thrash and yell on Twitter, express fury at his aides, and fire his lawyers.

— Devin Nunes fucking failed. Brietbart has lost a lot of influence. Stephen Bannon is nothing. Roy Moore is nothing. Bill O’Reilly is nothing. It’s going to be more difficult now for any campaign to use Facebook to influence an election, both because Facebook has made it more difficult and because we have lost a lot of trust in Facebook. More women than ever are running for office. A state rep in rural Maine called Emma Gonzalez a lesbian skinhead, and two days later, there was a Democratic challenger and he had dropped out of the race. SHAME WORKS.

Wonder Woman, Black Panther, Love, Simon, Blockers.

I am by no means suggesting that things are good. Abortion laws are still being attacked; immigrants are still being deported and families are still being split apart; health care isn’t what it was under Obama; god knows what the trade wars will produce; North Korea is still a threat; McConnell and Ryan are useless; and Trump refuses to acknowledge that Russia is an enemy, but there are a few things that can offer us hope, not least of which is this: Donald Trump will be dead in 10 years. Hopefully, the last year and probably the year to three years in front of us will be an unsettling chapter in our history, but one in which we learned a lot of uncomfortable things about ourselves and hopefully began going down a path toward correcting those problems so a guy like Donald Trump could never be elected again.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.