The title of Lenin’s most well-known book, which he borrowed from an earlier Russian writer, is “What Is To Be Done?” If we talked about politics as much as we did a year ago, it would be a fitting question.

But let’s pretend for a moment that we’re not hitting the snooze button every eight minutes, and we’re still actively concerned. My suggested answer is this: pay attention to problem solvers.

Both political parties are compost heaps, each rotting in accordance with its own matter. Both will change into something else, and those of us who are eager for reform wonder which transformation will come faster.

When Trump lost the election last fall, I was hopeful my fellow Republicans would reform first. But so far, that isn’t happening.

Some of us persist in spouting the lie that Trump actually won (he didn’t, there is zero proof he might have), while many of our elected office-holders in Congress squelched the inquiry into the events of Jan. 6, preferring to conclude the “insurrection” was overblown, and that the whole thing was basically a peaceful protest.

Intramural fury is now targeted at the handful who voted in favor of an investigation of those events.  Now running for the Senate in Ohio, “Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance was forced to apologize for not supporting Trump back in the beginning. Currently, we are not a political party; right now, we are a cult.

Meanwhile, despite its need to maintain power at all costs, Democrats are showing a few more signs of organic change. Eric Adams’ victory in the New York City mayoral primary is welcome news to sensible New Yorkers, and a blow to those who thought defunding police was a smart move.

Just as the die-hard blue voters of the Peoples Republic of Massachusetts keep electing Republican governors because they want their state to actually function, New Yorkers – who just stripped Rudy Giuliani of his ability to practice law – long once again for a mayor who will restore order and take a chance on a retired police captain.

Higher up the mountain, we see the White House actively trying to shiv Vice President Kamala Harris before she becomes the inevitable face of defeat in 2024. Two weeks ago, A Politico piece cited over 20 staffers complaining that her office is a poisonous atmosphere and a dysfunction junction.

That is not aggressive reporting by a Fourth Estate that is equally tough on both sides, it’s an internal hit job. Someone must remember that Harris tried to distinguish herself in the first Democratic debate by insinuating Joe Biden is a racist. The good news is that such behavior is not always rewarded.

Does this mean Democrats are moving away from finger-wagging in favor of problem solving? If they are, they will continue to win elections. But it’s never wise to count chickens before they hatch. The challenge twice posed by Bernie Sanders and later by Elizabeth Warren is real. True progressives still blanche at the Faustian pact the Clintons made in 1996, by pretending to be Republicans in order to win again.

Democrats who insist, through clenched teeth, “we have to do this to win” remain under siege, and it’s too early to say how that will turn out.

Republicans need to understand that a quest for past greatness is not a viable strategy for the future.  When Teddy Roosevelt spoke of a “bully pulpit,” he was not saying only bullies need apply. We need to stand for something, and there are plenty of choices out there among the legion of problems America faces today. Making our cities safe again, fixing our broken immigration system, getting closer to an equality of opportunity (not outcome), and standing up to our country’s enemies are all open for the taking as far as issues go.

Lenin asked two questions, the other one was perhaps more familiar to our current moment: Who is to blame? Most of us are tired of blaming. Once we get past the snooze button, we can start considering real solutions again.

The lounge music won’t play forever.

Sam Patten is a recovering political consultant who was raised in Knox County and worked for Maine’s last three Republican senators.