Umair, this is the kind of insight that drew me to your column and keeps me here. You are right. Reacting to Trump is not the same as having clear policies. Just as the Republicans spent 8 years reacting to Obama (and mostly losing), the Democrats cannot afford to simply react. Tell people what they want to do. Then do it. That is the only path forward.
For better and worse, Americans have responded to that part of Trump. He told us what he was going to do, even the deplorable things, and then set about doing them. Gone are the days when Clintonian lawyer speak is enough to get a vote. Americans sense deep inside that the nation is in danger. It takes a plan to avoid that danger. Trump offered a plan to flirt with that danger and maybe even provoke it. But it was better to say that than to say soft things that a focus group says people want to hear.
There is a silver lining. There is a way to empower Trump for the short term and save America in the longer term. Fix immigration policy. Fix health care policy. Trump is willing to make unprecedented deals just to get his signature on them. Yes, that means handing him a political victory or two or three … but America cannot survive without solving these problems. And soon. Pelosi should be putting legislation on his desk as often as possible. Exploit his weakness for needing publicity.
That might mean losing the White House in 2020, but if it saves America along the way, History will remember.