Wanted: Political ‘rabbits,’ shadow presidency

Dear Democratic National Committee,

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Much of what we stand for as Americans is under siege, not by some foreign enemy or terrorist group, but by our president and his appointees.

So what can you do as the opposition party? I would suggest that you learn from long distance track events. In those races, there are almost always one or two runners who are the “rabbits,” those who go out early and set the pace until the final laps.

These “rabbits” rarely if ever win. In many races, the rabbits don’t even finish. Once they have contributed to setting a fast early pace, they drop out. But they have done their assigned jobs, and the eventual winner is grateful for their sacrifice.

The same occurs in bicycle races such as the Tour de France. The road to victory for the eventual winner is paved by teammates who go out ahead only to be eventually caught by the favored racers. The “rabbits” rarely receive the credit they deserve. In fact, it is only those on the podiums who know that the accolades and medals they receive depend on the sacrifice of these unsung teammates.

I hope the analogy needs little explanation. Being the minority in the Senate and the House, the Democrats find their voice easily drowned out by the majority. Yet the country cannot wait three years before Democratic candidates take aim at the White House.

What the country needs is one or two political “rabbits,” courageous and charismatic leaders with government experience to begin the race to the White House now. Yes, the protests against Trump in the streets of our country and in the streets of frightened countries around the world will continue, but Trump seems little affected by this resistance. And Republican senators and representatives have already figured out a way to ignore the concerns of their constituents. They simply don’t answer their phones.

What is needed is a strategy whereby the will of the American people cannot be ignored. That is the role of the “rabbit.” With every false and dangerous step taken by the Trump administration, the “rabbit” would articulate to the media, to a dispirited American public and to nervous world leaders how different the United States would be and will be with the next president.

As with the long-distance race and the Tour de France, these political “rabbits” need not actually be the most viable candidates in 2020. Their function is to provide a needed contrast to the Trump administration now, a reminder that America’s values are still intact. Such spokespersons would be messengers of hope, giving the much-needed message to our country and world that this administration too will pass.

So, Democratic National Committee, am I suggesting a type of shadow presidency, a visible alternative to the Trump administration and reasonable critic of its extreme policies?

Yes, that is exactly what I am proposing.