Sometimes the sharpest reporting on the NY Times comes from its regular op-ed writers. One such is Gail Collins. Yesterday she skewered the Democratic party for malfeasance. She reported backstories about the Montana campaign. That's the one where the GOP winner body-slammed a reporter and faces misdemeanor assault charges. She offers a bill of particulars.

Her main message is devastating

Why should it be devastating to tell democrats to go beyond bad Donald Trump if they want to win? That's the substance of Gail Collin's Friday column. She has done the homework to show how Democrats should think about 2018 when special elections give way to the huge general election.

That election will determine much about the fate of the nation, assuming Donald Trump is still president. Not thinking ahead sets up a devastating loss for Democrats.

Assume Trump endures

Collins assumes Trump may endure the flood of investigative fragments that now threaten to become an avalanche. Collins looks beneath the surface in Montana. She suggests the Democrat's first mistake was choosing an opponent who could not win, even though he raised $6 million from nationwide grassroots party members/ The Democrat had as many liabilities as his opponent.

Quist twists

Challenger Rob Quist had a history of non-payment of taxes and was known for singing with his daughter at a nudist resort. Add to this the refusal of the national party to give any money to support him.

This malfeasance is quite typical of the Democrats. They have sought to spend money where they thought they had a chance. Fine. But the Quist decision did not sit well with the grassroots contributors. Leadership requires attention to such details.

Getting past the president

Gail Collins notes winner Greg Gianforte's election-eve body slam assault on Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs.

It had no effect on the outcome but dominated media. Collins then cuts to the meat of her argument.

Attack Trump

To win back the House, Democrats need to go past "bad Trump" and come up with a "vote for" message. At the moment such a message is hot even on the drawing board. Attacking Trump is still the order of the day.

Do the Democrats have a vision?

Do the Democrats join Mark Zuckerberg and others in coming out for Universal Basic Income? Would they set a goal of halving military budgets? Would they consider tackling the environment by going car-free in cities? Would they favor a sustainable economy? Would they divest from fossil fuel investments?

Need answers

We do not have answers. Trump is easy to attack. Moving ahead in a smart way is not easy at all. I would nominate Gail Collins ahead of Chuck

To find answers, I would nominate Gail Collins ahead of Chuck Schumer any day of the week.