Democrats Are Too Passive toward Aggressive Republicans

Julie Hotard
5 min readSep 22, 2020

A lot of us have been fed up with Democrats for acting so passively toward Republicans who grab power ruthlessly in every way possible. For example, some Democrats are against getting rid of the filibuster if Democrats win the Senate back. If Democrats don’t get rid of the filibuster, Republicans could block every law Democrats try to enact.

Then there’s the issue of stacking the courts, which also is necessary for Democrats to be able to enact laws that won’t all be overturned by the Right Wing Supreme Court. Dems ought to all be in favor of these measures.

The Trump administration made a goal of “lighting too many fires to put out” ahead of the Biden administration. Some of the fires still burn — in the form of Trumper appointees sabotaging the agencies in which they work. Democrats will need to get tougher and more aggressive to deal effectively with this.

Here’s an article from the Atlantic about these issues.

What the authors of these articles are are describing are the kinds of situations the Democratic party has to deal with. Are they up to the task of dealing with this? If not, we voters need to push them to prepare — to be able to act when necessary — not just to tweet or talk or write sternly worded letters but to act — to do everything necessary to save our democracy.

In addition to pushing Democratic leaders to do all that is necessary to save our democracy, we need to get them the necessary support. A big reason why Democratic leaders are overwhelmed and ineffective is that they lack support. The Republican party has large numbers of super well funded organizations that support them, including massive radio, TV, newspaper and social media networks. Democrats have very little in comparison.

Open Letter to Liberal Donors: Please Donate to Create Missing Liberal Institutions

Please join me in writing and phoning organizations such as the Sixteen Thirty Fund — — to ask that they fund and carry out the kinds of functions that Democrats’ supporting organizations will need to do, in order to save democracy.

A list of organizations to contact is in this article.

Below is a fascinating study of power — of what would it have been like if Trump and Hillary had swapped genders in 2016. The power would have still been there — if a woman used the words Trump used. Of course, Trump is abusive, which is not ethical. But it’s not necessary to be unethical to use one’s power.

Too many Dems seem convinced that to fight back forcefully when attacked — or even to promote their vision aggressively — would make them evil like the Republicans. Democrats seem emotionally uncomfortable with acting aggressively. So no logical arguments are likely to change their minds.

The energy of power is important to have and project. This can be done without being abusive. Hillary is a powerful woman, and won the popular vote by almost 3 million votes. She would have won by far more votes, if not for Republican cheating and propaganda. She mentioned in her book What Happened that her consultants advised her against being more direct and aggressive during the campaign. She said she followed their advice, even though it conflicted with her gut feelings.

Democrats seem to let themselves be ruled by their familiar long time very expensive consultants — people who apparently also advised John Kerry to passively allow himself be swift boated, just like Hillary was advised to do later. This needs to change. Democrats like Feinstein — who is against ending the filibuster — need to fire their consultants and hire assertiveness trainers instead. Or they could hire the people who create ads for Votevets or the Lincoln Project.

We voters can have some impact here. We can all phone or fax or write hand written letters to our Dem representatives and Senators and ask them to fire their consultants, — if their consultants are advising them to act passively toward Republicans. The forms of communication I listed above get attention. I would advise against @ ing representatives on Twitter, or contacting them through other social media. Communication through social media seems to have little or no impact.

If you yourself are not assertive enough to phone, fax and/or write hand written letters to your Dem representatives and Senators, then please consider taking an assertiveness training class yourself. This is your chance to “Be the change you want to see” as Gandhi said. Our political representatives are ordinary people like us. If we want them to become brave, we also should be willing to become brave.

In case there are any readers here who haven’t read what I’ve written in the past about power and passivity in politics, below are five of my previous essays on this theme. As you can see from the volume of writing I’ve done on this, I find Democrats’ passivity toward Republicans in Congress to be very concerning. Our democracy has a lot to lose if this continues, and a lot to gain if Democratic Senators and representatives learn to become more assertive and direct.

Who’s Your Daddy? Time for Democrats and Mainstream Media to Get Smart about How to Play the Game of Power Politics

Below is my latest article on this subject, which points out how Democratic leaders’ long time trusted consultants need to be fired. Other than the ingrained habits of passivity — maintained by rewarding each other for passivity and punishing Dems who aren’t passive — Dem consultants are the next biggest obstacle to Dems learning to become more assertive toward aggressive Republicans. Democratic leaders trust them and follow their consultants’ terrible advice. That ends up allowing Republicans to walk all over Democrats and democracy without much resistance. Dems should hire strategist Rachel Bitecofer and her company Strikepac instead, so they can learn how to be aggressive when necessary.