Stand Down, Bernie, Liz
WASHINGTON — Please, please, please, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Don’t run for president in 2020 as you both intend to do. If you run, you will re-elect Donald Trump. One of the lessons of the midterm elections is that the voters may not particularly like the president but nearly half are politically seduced by him. And they are not ready to take a chance on a far-left progressive like the two of you. Trump will use the next two years to ridicule, smite, vilify and slander House Democrats as they struggle to pass something that will help voters in their real lives. Sanders, who ran in 2016 and built a large following among progressive voters, is eager to run. But that’s all Sanders has to show for his time in the Senate — running. No important piece of legislation bears his name. He has made no efforts to bring people together. He has formed no outstanding alliances with Republicans. Warren is smart, polished and put together the Consumer Finance Protection Agency, now being dismantled by the Trump administration. Their message is a good one, pointing out the horrible, historic inequality between the mighty 1 percent and the rest of us. But they mainly offer pie-in-the-sky solutions that are not fiscally feasible. Sanders pushed Hillary Clinton to take positions that were too extreme for the times. Free college education for everyone won’t work. And public education already has been dumbed down to the extent that high school students are well behind students in most other big democracies. The most important thing for Democrats to do in the next two years is shore up health care, making certain that the Trump administration does not further gut the Affordable Care Act and preserving coverage for preexisting conditions for millions of Americans. Then they should pass a higher minimum wage so that people who work hard can support their families, don’t have to go on food stamps and can afford decent housing. Above all, they should not engage in the gutter politics and constant spreading of untruths where Trump shines and at which they are, thankfully, embarrassing amateurs. We are all so sick of the way Washington has failed us. Did you spend your tax cut at McDonald’s yet? Has the congested bridge you drive over to get to work been fixed? Did your child’s school drop art and music and civics? Do you know any Dreamers going to college or working who fear they will be deported to a country they don’t know? Have you not seen a significant increase in your take-home pay in decades? The House must investigate the corruption that has infused the system, particularly as Trump and his family have pocketed millions as a direct result of the presidency. We don’t yet know how special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia will turn out. But we need to know what happened and why. It may well turn out that Trump’s taxes, if successfully subpoenaed, will show only that he was very clever at loopholes, was not generous and relied on foreign loans. But we need to know. We hope that the new Democrats in the House can walk and chew gum at the same time, checking Trump in a dignified manner and getting something done for the American people. Of course, the Senate, especially in the uncompassionate grip of Mitch McConnell, will not help. They may block everything the House tries to do. But it will really not help if every other senator is running for president. It will not help if wild-haired Sanders is out front, bloviating. It will not help if Warren is out in the hustings, slamming banks and big business 24/7. The midterm elections showed that voters yearn for a new face, someone unsullied by Washington, a charismatic, modern-day Mr. or Ms. Smith who speaks to the young, middle-aged and old alike, who has what George H.W. Bush called “that vision thing.” And who, above all, is realistic, not xenophobic, about immigrants, who understands that the America of the past is gone forever but that American values of fairness, opportunity and compassion are forever. Sens. Sanders and Warren, we have had enough destructive, narcissistic big-ego personalities for a lifetime. Help show there is an alternative. ANN McFEATTERS is a columnist for Tribune News Service. email@example.com.