Some have called President Donald Trump’s Space Force “ridiculous,” “a giant waste of money that could be used to expand healthcare coverage,” and “dumb as shit.” And it’s true that there are major issues with Space Force. But the voices calling for its abolition are seriously misguided. Getting rid of Space Force isn’t just a political and logistical pipe dream—it would also play right into the hands of Republicans and potentially doom the Democrats in the midterms.
What my more liberal friends don’t understand is that it’s not the idea of Space Force that’s bad. It’s who’s in charge of it that can warp the agency’s mission, which is to be the Air Force but for space. Presidents going back to Ronald Reagan understood the importance of dropping bombs in space, but did it in a much smarter and more honorable way than Trump.
More importantly: While I initially opposed the idea when it was proposed by Trump, the idea to get rid of Space Force would only serve to fuel Republican enthusiasm in November. Imagine Trump and his sycophants on the campaign trail, screeching at anyone who will listen that the Democrats want to “abolish Space Force” and “eliminate Space Force Ranger jobs.” It’s political kryptonite, and at a time when our democracy is under constant attack from Russia, we simply cannot afford it.
Democrats must win Republican moderates in order to take back the House of Representatives, and even those queasiest over Trump’s Twitter shenanigans will be turned off by far-left proposals such as one to completely end a branch of the military whose explicit purpose is to fight Russia and China in space, and I dunno, maybe some aliens too one day.
Now, do I think Space Force is perfect? Absolutely not. Like any bloated government agency, it needs reform, and perhaps a market-based solution in order to improve. But a proposal to “abolish” Space Force only damages the long-term, pragmatic goal of achieving comprehensive, bipartisan space reform. If anything, it will be much more dangerous for other planets if we let leftists such as Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and J. Posadas dictate the left’s response to Space Force.
Trust me: I know that this is a bitter pill for my fellow progressives to swallow. But the most important thing, as always, is winning in November. And in order to do so, we must take the unfortunate—but necessary—steps to prove to moderates, independents, and swing voters that we as liberals are fully committed to securing the border. With Mars.