Harry Reid Is Trying To Prevent Donald Trump's Normalization While He Still Can
Since Donald Trump won the presidential election last week, it's clear that the Democratic Party has been caught every bit as much off-guard as much of the rest of the country was. And, with the Republican Party rapidly lining up behind the incoming president-elect, it's clear that Democrats are being pulled in two competing directions ― either try to tamp down tensions and protect transition of power, or press the fight against Trump in no uncertain terms. And one of the Democrats' outgoing leaders is choosing the latter route: Harry Reid is trying to stop Trump's normalization all by himself, refusing to move past the at-times horrifying campaign the Republican nominee rode to the White House.
The dividing line is best illustrated by how different Reid's reaction has been from that of President Obama. Rather than voice any displeasure or criticism, Obama seems to have devoted himself fully to achieving just two more goals: maintaining faith in the smooth transition of power, and somehow preparing a volatile neophyte to be president in just two months.
Reid, on the other hand, has been launching broadsides against Trump. It began just days following his victory, when Reid released a statement excoriating the incoming president, saying his election had "emboldened the forces of hate and bigotry in America":
Reid comes right out and says it in the statement ― a huge part of what he's trying to do is stop Trump from being "normalized," from all the pomp and ceremony of a new administration coming to Washington, D.C. making his candidacy and election somehow seem usual, unremarkable, or not that big a deal. Not, in other words, the often racist, sexist, and xenophobic maelstrom that it was.
Now, Reid has also fired back against the selection of former Breitbart chief Steve Bannon as Trump's senior strategist, citing allegations of anti-Semitism aired during Bannon's divorce proceedings, and how his website has catered to the so-called "alt-right," a sect of conservatism thick with racism and white nationalism. He made the case on the Senate floor:
Reid will be retiring and leaving public life once his senate term expires, to be replaced by Democratic Senate newcomer Catherine Cortez Masto, the first Latina ever elected to the U.S. Senate. But the interesting question will be whether Reid intends to keep this up even while he's out of government, being a public thorn in Trump's side, and a forceful voice against the slow-slide of normalization.