Many of you know about a concept I've been pushing here and on social media. I've colloquially nicknamed it the "Coalition of Normals," a proposed alliance of Democrats and "Never Trump" Republicans tasked with mutually repairing the myriad damage from the Trump Crisis to make sure another Trump or Trump copycat doesn't sashay through the gaping holes in the system created by this criminal administration.
The idea goes like this: Democrats alone can’t possibly sell to the American people a menu of presidential reforms -- perhaps including constitutional amendments -- without the help of the other side to make the pitch to, in this case, non-Democratic voters. Plus, something positive has to emerge from this mutual disgust with Trumpism. Now is a rare moment in history when Democrats and reasonable Republicans agree that Trumpism, guided by the nefarious hand of Vladimir Putin with the goal of disrupting alliances and democratic institutions, must be destroyed.
Why not use this mutual interest to achieve something good for the nation? Call me an idealist. Call me an idiot. I don’t give a shit. After 9/11, Americans were united, and yet that unity was squandered without any positive outcome. Instead, two endless wars were engaged while dissidents were accused of being “with the terrorists.” Today, I feel as though multitudes of Democrats and some Republicans are on the same page about Trump, and so we have to use it.
This week, however, we learned that one of the higher profile Never Trumpers, Steve Schmidt, an MSNBC analyst and adviser to both George W. Bush and John McCain, has been hired by Howard Schultz to run the former Starbucks CEO’s independent campaign for president.
Along those lines, I’ve noticed that some of you who’ve always doubted my little plan are exploiting the Schmidt news to make the case that Never Trumpers can’t be trusted, perhaps outright turning against us, if we engage in such a foolish alliance.
First, I’ll address Schmidt’s decision to work with Schultz and then we’ll circle back to the Coalition.
Yes, it’s quite possible that Schutlz’s presence in the general election will siphon off votes from the Democratic presidential nominee. The question of the hour is this: would Schmidt, after his countless appearances on MSNBC creatively immolating the president and everything he represents, make a choice to circuitously help Trump get re-elected? It’s possible, but unlikely. I don’t know Schmidt personally, but he seems serious when it comes to his dire wordsmithing about Trump -- he seems like a man who means what he says on this front. I’d be shocked if Schmidt were so cynical that he’d give Trump’s re-election a kick in the ass just so he can continue to make a fortune bashing the president. Again, maybe? But I seriously doubt it.
That said, Schmidt told Nicolle Wallace the other day that Schultz is the “disruption” the two-party system needs: “[Schultz] wants to have a conversation with the American people to see if perhaps the hour of disruption may be at hand for our utterly broken political system.”
Nope. No, no, no. The word “disruption” is a huge red flag here. We literally already have a disruption president and the chaos grows more harrowing by the day. Why in any universe do we need another billionaire dilettante to disrupt the system even more? Further, do we have any sense of what that even means? The instability it’ll manifest? Clearly not. Disruption, as a political concept, needs to be burned with fire -- immediately.
Now, let’s be clear about something regarding my Coalition of Normals idea.
I never once said that we have to agree with Never Trumpers on the issues, nor do they have to become Democrats in order for this to work. In fact, the more cred they have with Republicans, the better. That's the whole idea. Indeed, I made it clear that issues were on a separate track. The Coalition is about systemic changes to the presidency, as well as how we elect our presidents. It has nothing to do with coaxing Never Trumpers to liberal policies or anything along those lines. Therefore, the fact that Schmidt isn’t working for a Democrat, or that Schmidt might not agree with the Democratic Party platform is mostly irrelevant (unless you’re an insufferable purist, but that’s a different story).
The fact that Schmidt is interested in disruption and that his guy might take votes away from the Democrats thus helping Trump? Those are the real problems for Schmidt in the context of a discussion about a Coalition in which the members, duh, can’t be lengthening the life cycle of Trumpism since the Coalition is all about destroying Trumpism. The disruption glitch aside, though, I’m withholding final judgment until I see polling based on a three-way race. If in fact Schultz appears to help Trump, then we’ll talk. But there’s still a chance internal polling shows Schultz hurting Trump more than the Dems, not only does Schmidt’s decision not damage the Coalition, but we can probably stand down the red alert about Schultz enabling Trump.
Either way, Schmidt’s surprising career move here doesn’t mean all Never Trumpers will stab us in the back by suddenly helping the clown dictator who drove them out of the Republican Party in the first place. So, if your goal is to crap all over the Coalition, you’ll have to find more examples than just Steve Schmidt whose motives aren’t quite clear at the moment. And even then, I’m sticking with this one anyway. The stakes are too high to let the whole American experiment be permanently crushed under Trump’s awkward bulk.