I enjoyed reading a Feb. 12 USA Today story comparing Robert F. Kennedy to Donald Trump in terms of their support in poverty-stricken Kentucky; (Kennedy, back in 1968 and Trump 50 years later).
Kennedy, a charismatic liberal senator, fought the good fight against poverty in Kentucky and almost on the opposite side of the political equation, Trump, a so-called populist right-wing president, winning the support of poor Kentuckians today. What a conundrum!
What happened? Just as Kennedy was seen to be a tremendous voice for the poor and underclass across America, many voters, including some Democrats, right-wing Republicans, tired of politics as usual and, in turn, feeling they had been ignored, supported Trump; Trump, it appeared to many Kentuckians seemed to give them a voice in terms of the voiceless. But that is as far as any comparisons can be made.
The differences between the two men couldn't be farther apart. Kennedy's politics had taken on a new vision (e.g. compassion in politics) as part of a new liberalism committed to helping the poor and underclass, advocating America's withdrawal from Vietnam, and focusing upon minority rights (particularly the American Indian and the migrant Hispanic workers in California). Trump, on the other hand, seems to be in the pocket of the richest millionaires and billionaires in America, at least as far as his recent tax legislation exemplifies. However, unlike Kennedy, Trump is always ready to throw any American of whatever race under the bus if it suits his needs or maintains his presidency.
But, I must confess that with the cable news network wars, the deep antagonism between Democrats and Republicans in Congress, it makes one pause and think. Several weeks ago, several Democratic Party pundits were stating that perhaps what needs to occur, is for Democrats as a party to develop a new vision for America (as RFK did some fifty years ago); and instead focus their energy on what kind of leadership and policies the Democratic Party stands for- in terms of dealing with the intense alienation of many voters- and let the DOJ, FBI and Special Counsel do their job.
I believe that as Democrats we do not need to focus anymore useless energy in bringing down Trump. I believe that Trump, given enough rope, will do the job himself, given his self-destructive behavior.
Schauer lives in Fargo.