It seems almost unimaginable that the Republican Party can be in control of both chambers of Congress as well as the White House especially when you consider that registered Democrats significantly outnumber registered Republicans. It becomes a good deal less unimaginable when you factor in the impact of the gerrymandering of our district lines, the widespread voter suppression efforts by Republican state governments and the gullibility of the American voter.
Yes, Barack Obama is a Muslim extremist, Hillary Clinton is responsible for the terrorist attack on our consulate in Benghazi and Donald J. Trump is a man of the people who personally financed his presidential election. Oh, and I just won the Nobel Prize for Literature...with this column. Fake news matters only if there is a gullible electorate, and apparently there is.
So, now what to do to rebuild the rather decimated Democratic Party to make gains in Congress in 2018 and win back the White House in 2020? Well, having Donald J. Trump in the White House should be and is a great help as evidenced by his splitting not just Democrats and Republicans on his Obamacare repeal effort but splitting his own party on the roll out of his replacement bill.
This, however, is not enough since having Trump run on the Republican ticket surprisingly wasn't enough to guarantee a Democratic victory on November 8th.
What House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi decided to do is to tap one of Maryland's own, Congressman John Sarbanes, to develop and implement the strategy to turn the Democratic Party around and, by so doing, gain ground, not just in Washington, but across the country.
Congressman Sarbanes has been officially appointed by Minority Leader Pelosi to lead the Democracy Reform Task Force. Who better to lead this effort than the author of the Government by the People Act which is designed to level the playing field between the big money interests and the grass roots electorate by using public funding offsets to counter the influence of big money on both our politics and our politicians. Congressman Sarbanes recognized long ago that citizens will lose faith in their government if their voices are drowned out by those among us who gain greater influence by having greater wealth. With public funding offsets it is in the best interests of our elected officials to seek out small money campaign donations and, in so doing, provide a voice to the grass roots electorate.
As Congressman Sarbanes so eloquently puts it: “Our Republic's strength is built on the American people's trust in our institutions of democracy and it's earned through fair elections, responsive governance and a robust system of checks and balances. The Democracy Reform Task Force will be a vehicle in the House of Representatives to preserve and renew the public's trust in our great Republic.”
But it doesn't stop here! Unfortunately, as Congressman Sarbanes also points out, “the Trump presidency and the Republican-controlled Congress are poised to pursue an agenda that benefits the wealthy donors and corporate interests while testing the long-established norms and laws for preventing public corruption.” Accordingly, the Democracy Reform Task Force is also poised to confront the Trump Administration's conflicts of interest and ethical lapses and fight back against special interest policies in Congress while advancing positive reforms to improve accountability and transparency in government.
Further, the task force will “conduct oversight of ethical violations by bringing together Congressional resources to ensure President Trump and his Administration abide by our nation's ethics laws and the U.S. Constitution;” “challenge special interest policy by fighting back against egregious special interest giveaways that benefit the wealthy and well-connected at the expense of the everyday Americans;” and “champion critical reforms to improve our ethics laws, campaign finance system and accountability in government.”
It goes without saying that Congressman Sarbanes has quite a challenge ahead of him. However, as daunting a challenge as he may be facing, one can find comfort in knowing that Congressman John Sarbanes', at least, possesses the ability and experience to tackle this challenging assignment.
Not so with Jared Kushner and his presidential assignment to bring peace to the Middle East, reform the federal government, revise the Veterans' Administration, build a positive relationship with China, address the conflicts in Iraq, Syria and North Korea and all while staying out of the cross hairs of Steve Bannon. Ah, the pitfalls of being an inexperienced snot while being the only person trusted by the least experienced or qualified president this country has ever put into office.