The Trump Presidency is going to be the gift that keeps on giving, and we'd all better start adjusting now. 2016 was a disorienting mess, a confluence of so many surreal elements that we could all be a little fuzzy-headed. But 2020 will be time for cold, hard reality, and Democrats and public education voters had better start adjusting now so we don't get sidetracked by any Jill Stein-like nonsense.
|Those were the days.|
Most of all, as has now been noticed by many folks, none of them are talking about education.
Bernie has caught on a bit since his last rodeo. Harris has offered a unique pander-- federally-backed teacher pay. Details haven't arrives yet, but it strikes me as a terrible idea because A) teachers should not have to negotiate with the mass of political bozoidosity in DC for their pay and B) I can't imagine any possible way to guard against local districts simply using the federal money to supplant rather than supplement their local money (this is, in fact, exactly what the state of Pennsylvania did with the Obama stimulus money).
When it came to education issues, Democratic candidates and leaders were caught flatfooted in 2016. Now they've had time to study up a bit, but I don't think any of them (except maybe Bernie) has gotten past the simple calculus--
Support for public education and the people who work there is where the votes are; support for the privatizers and charter boosters and corporate reformsters is where the money is. (Here's a reminder of what a hrd time some folks had threading that needle.)
The solution in 2016 was to pick safe education issues-- pre-K education, affordable college, be nice to teachers, good schools for everyone. I'm not sure that's going to cut it this time. Public school and privatizers have had a few high-profile showdowns; they were billed as teacher strikes, but if you (and Harris) think those were just about pay, you weren't paying attention. They were also about charters and support for public education, and the Democratic candidates will have a harder time hiding from the conflict this time, though Lord knows so far they are trying.
Incidentally, the most interesting punch thrown in this round of public vs. privatizers is the study from Rick Hess and Jay Greene asserting that education reform is hugely a Democrat's game now. This doesn't make a lot of sense if one looks at, you know, reality-- but it makes perfect sense if one is a conservative corporate ed reform backer looking for a way to send a message to Democratic candidates that they had better support ed reform when they run.
Anyway. If we were going to have a great supporter of public education in the field, we'd know it by now. It's not going to happen, and if it does appear to happen that just means that someone has decided to adopt education as a tactical move, which means we can count on them as an ally exactly as long as it serves their purposes.
Yeah, I get grumpy just thinking about 2020, sulky knowing that the Dems have absolutely no reason to try to court my vote because the alternative is so wretched.
But here's what I hope the Dems figure out. The atmosphere, the toxic attitudes, the ugly machinery that spit up Trump will spit up something else once he's out of there, and chances are that the next one will not be so transparently dumb and self-dealing. By the time that happens, the Dems had better get their act together.
In the meantime, I will vote for Somebody Not Trump in 2020. I don't know who it's going to be, and, God help us all, I don't know if they're going to win. I'll vote for them, but I probably won't like it. I don't need the next year and a half to know that so much as I need the time to just get used to the idea so I can stop whining and get on with it.