Since Donald Trump became the Republican Nominee for President and then won the election, I have spent a good deal of time and effort analyzing and criticizing his ideas and his behavior. All things being equal he will be there for four years which means there will be many opportunities to discuss him. So for the moment, I’m going to turn my sights on another target. The Democratic Party.
First, let me say this, Donald Trump won the election. It may have been due to the Russians, James Comey or Hillary’s unpopularity but he won so it is time democrats accept that. Even if we can prove the Russians were behind it, nothing will change. Donald Trump is President of the United States. We cannot begin anew until everyone accepts that.
Now…those of you who were Bernie supporters and decided to sit this one out or vote for a third party and are feeling guilty about the result, put it behind you. Let’s all get together and do something positive. If we wallow in the loss we’ll never get anywhere. Learn from it and use the lessons to win next time but it all starts with local races. Get involved in races for city government, Mayors races, county commissions, school boards, and state legislatures, Then, we can work on Congress and the White House. There’s plenty of work for everyone.
Yesterday is gone and with it the old Guard. There are no Clintons, Kerrys, Gores or Obamas in powerful positions anymore. That era is over, the old guard is gone. Now is the perfect time for the Democratic party to do some very deep soul-searching to determine exactly what it is and then to make the appropriate changes.
I won’t say where or who, but some years back I was conducting a media coaching session for a Democratic party big-wig in a recording studio. It was just the two of us in a room with a TV camera, a VCR, and a microphone. We sat down to do a mock interview and I asked him this question. “What does the Democratic Party stand for?” He stuttered and stammered and stopped and started and then got out of the chair and pounded his fist on the table.
“I can’t believe I can’t answer that,” he said. “That question goes to the core of everything we do and I don’t have a good answer.” Well, the fact is they still don’t. If you reflect on the Hillary Clinton Campaign and everything she said, you’ll be hard pressed to come up with a 75-word answer to that question. If you are running for office, you must be able to answer that question in 30 seconds or less. Here’s the mistake the Democrats made. They approached the campaign with the idea of “Educating” the voters. Bad idea. You don’t educate in campaigns, you leave impressions or feelings.
Donald Trump, on the other hand, had essentially one core message, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs. Yes, he had a lot of issues, but his core message was jobs, jobs, jobs. Trump didn’t need 75 words. If you asked him what he stood for he’d say, “Jobs.” He could answer the question in one word. Interestingly enough he had determined that even though unemployment was low a lot of people were dissatisfied with their jobs and wanted more to choose from.
That’s one lesson learned from 2016. The other lesson came from a Senior Citizen, Bernie Sanders. His message wasn’t as short as Trump’s but it was just as effective. “Clean house,” was Bernie’s message. Get Wall Street and Madison Avenue, and the Billionaires out of our politics. Had Bernie been nominated there would have been no Wikileaks, no James Comey from the FBI, No Russians digging up dirt (because there isn’t any), no foundation and no spouse with a history. There is no doubt in my mind that Bernie would have won hands down.
So why did the party select Hillary? Because that’s the way the party works. The cards were stacked against Bernie from the beginning. For years Hillary and Bill stumped for other candidates, raised money for them, lent their names and fame to their campaigns, helped them win office and introduced them to all the right people. Bernie had done none of that. He didn’t have a single chit to call in. No one owed him anything because up until the time he ran in the Presidential primaries, no one paid much attention to him. He was not even a Democrat although the Independent Socialist did caucus with them. I know of several prominent Democrats who worked on Hillary’s behalf who favored Bernie but felt ethically bound to Hillary. Like it or not, that’s the way the political game is played and frankly, Hillary might have won had it not been for the Russians and James Comey. Should it change? Absolutely. Will it change? Well, that’s up to you.
If you expect Chuck Schumer or Nancy Pelosi to change it, forget it, they are part of the hated establishment. They seem to think you can run on overturning Citizens United, while at the same time taking advantage of the decision and forming huge PACs. That’s two-faced and phony and rank and file Democrats should not accept that kind of behavior. We are better than that.
Look at what Bernie did in the face of incredible odds; he fought money that he could only dream about and an organization that was second to none and — he almost won the nomination. That old man (he’s two years younger than I am) showed Democrats the way and if they are smart they will follow the beacon. The problem is they are not smart and they are not progressive. Today’s Democratic party is almost liberal, but not quite.
Bernie stood for a real and clear choice in both the primaries and in the General election. The choice in the primaries narrowed as he pushed Hillary to the left, but being pushed there and being born there are two different things. In the General election, Americans would have had a choice between a populist playboy or a populist Socialist. There’s a whole lot of daylight between those two.
The Democratic Party has to practice what it preaches. It cannot say that they are opposed to the Citizens United Decision while forming Super PACs and collecting money from special interest groups. The mid-term elections in two years should be a dress rehearsal for the main event that comes in four. Democrats should depend entirely on grassroots donations. It can be done, but it must start now. If Tom Perez doesn’t get a plan up and running in a week or two, he will fail. The country is ready, the time is now, the people are receptive and they are crying for leadership. Where is it?
There is no time to waste either. The Party should have begun work on the 2018 campaign the day after the Presidential election, but they did nothing. They had to wait until they had a new chair. Now they have one, they picked another establishment Democrat in Tom Perez. Maybe he’ll turn out OK, but he’d better get the wheels turning quickly. There’s no time to waste. Every day the Trump administration hands the democrats devastating ammunition and the donkey party has been unable to find either a weapon or someone to shoot it. Time’s a wasting folks. It’s important to make inroads now before the GOP and the President get their act together.
Perez and Ellison, the two leading candidates for the chairmanship of the party had been running for the position for months. They had ample time to develop a plan and hit the ground running. Well, Perez got elected and named Ellison his deputy chair. The two of them hit the ground with a thud.
The party needs a good house cleaning. It needs fresh faces, minds, and ideas. The liberalism of the 90’s is not what citizens of the 21st century are looking for.
People are tired of BS politics. Sure they’d like the country to have a strong defense, but to spend more than the next 8 countries combined is not only overkill it is senseless. The average person wants five things.
1) Financial security. That means well-paying jobs and the ability to retire comfortably
2) Education. They want their children to have a good education that prepares them for the future but doesn’t cause them to spend their first five years in the job market paying for it. They know that an educated workforce is the only way American can remain a leader in the world.
3) Healthcare. Nothing is more important than having affordable healthcare along with affordable medicine, and devices prescribed by your physician. No one should be forced into bankruptcy because of medical debts and no one should be forced to choose between eating and having medications.
4) Safety and Security. People want to be safe and secure in their country, their workplaces, and their homes
5) Leadership. People want leaders they can trust. They want straight talk and they want the truth, Americans are tough and loyal and we can take the truth and the consequences as well. We are all tired of politicians who say one thing and do another.
These five issues are today’s reality and they transcend political ideologies. They contain every other concern anyone has and they are what the Democratic party must address, but with new messages and new actions articulated by new people with new ideas and new solution
First, though, the Democratic party has to answer the question, “What do you stand for?” Once you answer that question voters will ask, “How does that affect me?” If the answers to those questions satisfy and motivate the Democrats can win again. It won’t take long to know because once there’s a new party chair we ought to have a pretty good idea about direction. When the audience hears the answer to the “What do you stand for” question, they will ask, “How does that affect me?” Answer those two questions, in a manner that satisfies and motivates voters and Democrats are in the race again.
Democrats have to show that candidates can win without Super PACs. Bernie showed us how now it’s time for the Democrats to follow that lead. We must strike now, while the fury over Trump’s election is still growing. The people are hungry for an organized cause led by new charismatic candidates with no significant ties to past candidates or ideas. If Democrats want to win again they must strike while the fury about the recent election is still growing. If they don’t do that, then I for one will back any attempt to start a viable third party, based on the principles outlined by Bernie Sanders.
And…from where I sit, that’s the truth!