Ahh yes, the over confidence that ushered in Hillary’s much maligned campaign in 2016 is back in full force within the Democrat party.
“There’s no question that we’re going to pick up seats in 2018,” Rep. Rep. Ben Ray Luján (N.M.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), told reporters.
“We’re seeing a much more excited base that’s involved earlier than we ever saw during the cycle in 2016, and I think that energy amounts [to] something,” he added. “It cannot be discounted.”
Rep. Denny Heck (D-Wash.), the DCCC’s recruitment chairman, agreed. While it’s “way too early” to know how many seats the Democrats will gain in 2018, he said there’s no doubt the math will shift in their favor.
“There’s only one thing I’m confident in saying: We’re going to gain seats in 2018, it’s just a question of how many,” he said.
They certainly could be right, but I seem to remember lots of people saying, “No way can Trump win,” in 2016, and here we are.
Now, I don’t want to pat my own back too much, but I am going to anyways, haha.
At this point Hilary shouldn’t even be in this election. She is vulnerable to Trump and is going to cost the Democrats the Presidency.
— David Brooks (@TheDavidBrooks) April 20, 2016
Back in April it was apparent to me that Hillary was going to lose to Trump, lo and behold, I have proof!
I was one of a small minority of Democrats who felt Hillary was a weak candidate. At first I thought it was shoe-in, but as she continued to refuse to answer basic questions, release the Wall St. speech transcripts (which were not bad at all) and continued to have an odd smirk every time someone asked a question to her, it became evident she was not going to win. She did not galvanize the base, did not excite in speeches, hampered state and local elections (so did Obama) and she smirked like someone who just popped too many Valiums. Because of all this she lost against a bully who was the weakest candidate for US president in many years, heck, even John Kerry would be better than Trump (maybe even Dick Cheney).
So, anytime you face a problem in life what do you do? If you are a healthy person you take account of where you are today, take account of what went wrong and then try and push forward with a new approach.
Guess who wants a seat at the new Democrat table? The OFA. Organizing for America was great in 2008, they led the charge to get Obama elected and really turned out the vote. However, in many cases, they were designed to be a separate state party that Obama could control, as he did not have confidence in many of the state parties.
In a great article by Politico (http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/obama-democrats-party-building-234820) they make the argument that the OFA did more harm than good.
That degree of mistrust — rooted in the idea that OFA was always primarily interested in advancing the president’s political interests, often at the expense of the party — is already showing signs of hampering Obama’s former Labor Secretary Tom Perez as he pursues the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee. And the wariness — expressed by nearly three dozen Democrats in interviews — also threatens to create a divide between Obama’s loyalists and the rest of the party.
“[With] all due respect to President Obama, OFA was created as a shadow party because Obama operatives had no faith in state parties. So I hope the OFA role is none. I hope OFA closes their doors and allows the country and state parties to get to the hard work of rebuilding the party at the local and grass-roots level,” said Nebraska Democratic Party Chair Jane Kleeb, echoing a sentiment that has dominated private chatter among state party chairs for months. “OFA had no faith or confidence in the state parties so they created a whole separate organization, they took money away and centralized it in D.C. They gave us a great president for eight years, but we lost everywhere else.”
That about sums it up. One of the things that we all learned during Obama’s presidency is you need to control the House, the Senate and the Presidency to really get things done, beyond that you need a unified party behind you.
Many Democrats (D.I.N.Os?) were opposed to Obamacare, any single payer healthcare or even universal healthcare.
I am going to say this, and continue to say this. You cannot be a Democrat and be opposed to Universal Healthcare. If you are opposed to Universal Healthcare, maybe you are an independent, or Republican or you can start your own party. This is a basic principle of the Democrat party and it needs to remain.
So, this leads me back to the title of this article, “How Dems can pick up seats in 2018.”
1. Be exclusive on core issues, inclusive on most issues. Welcome the sharing of ideas.
2. Stop the spread of misinformation throughout Liberal media outlets or social media, like from Occupy Democrats.
3. Grassroots campaigning, host local events in ALL towns, potlucks, dinners, etc… Go door-to-door and just listen. Do not argue, do not try and persuade, just listen. Ask the tough questions, “What didn’t you like about Hillary,” “What did/do you like about Trump,” “What would get you to vote Democrat in 2018?” “Who do you feel best represents your interests?” “What issues are most important to you?” We must do this over and over and over and over again, go to the same houses at least 2 times between now and 2018. Every house in the US.
4. Be the party of Environmental ethics, make the GOP the party of climate change deniers, coal miners and polluters once more.
5. Tell it like it is. Political Correctness seems to come and go, sometimes it is in fashion and sometimes it is not. Regardless, the Internet can be a nasty place and less and less people are PC nowadays, especially online. We have colleges setting up ‘safe spaces,’ people being offended by the slightest provocation, or misuse of a word, etc… Get over it. Just because I use the term ‘illegal immigration’ doesn’t mean I hate immigrants. It means that I choose to use the word that most people use and it doesn’t make me sound like a pompous prick. Correcting people gets annoying and this whole ‘Liberal = PC’ thing is damaging the party.
6. Finally, we must listen again. And again, and again and again. We have to listen to what Americans want.
First and foremost the Democrats must become a party of inclusive exclusivity. We must hold onto the certain core values that unite us, like Universal Healthcare, but let other issues be more fluid so we can have a candid conversation and let voters decide, on issues like Gun Control.
Second, as an opposition party we must pick our battles and know when to throw our tantrums. Recently, I have seen infographics from OccupyDemocrats that are making things up about Trump, do we really need to do that?
I am not sure if they’re worried that people are going to fall in-line with his rhetoric, so they feel the need to lie. Or, maybe they are just not that knowledgeable about the facts. Either way, we need to stay the course and stick to the facts. No need to have a tantrum every day over what Trump is doing or saying. Do we need to fight him when it counts? Yes, absolutely. Do we need to keep 24/7 coverage anti-Trump all the time? No.
This is the infographic in question:
Can you tell me what is wrong with this picture? Remind me exactly when it happened that Trump banned all Muslims from the US, I must’ve forgotten that.
It is shit like this that we must fight against in our own backyard before we can battle the GOP at the state and local level. The average American knows Muslims weren’t banned from the US, so why should we lie? The answer is, we shouldn’t.
If we continue to have these fringe groups spread this disinformation, it is going to discredit our movement as a whole. Some of these lies work on Conservatives because they tend to be less educated and cannot decipher truth or see through the lies. So, they believe what they read on Breitbart. With Liberals it is much harder to lie, we are educated, we understand source materials and are generally trying to turn the other cheek.
If you want to help Democrats win in 2018, call these people out. Go to Occupy Democrats facebook page, share this image and tell them they should source their materials better in the future.
The third step is our State Democrat parties must step up their game. Currently, I live in Colorado on the border between blue country and red country. I have repeatedly reached out to the state Democrat party here and have received no replies. It is as if the person who handles the volunteers is out to lunch all the time, or maybe they just packed in their bags and called it a day.
If we are to win key states like Colorado again, in 2018, we have to be out on the streets, going door to door, hosting local events and more. It is a shame that so many State Democrat parties feel the need to close their doors after Hillary lost. Get over it and prepare for 2018.
We cannot just hold events and protests for the media, sure it plays great on CNN or local newspapers, but you’re not reaching the people you need to reach. Staying in our bubbles is a surefire way to lose again, and it can happen.
As a party, if we do not have an outlet for engaged individuals to participate easily and if we do not listen to those unengaged we will lose. We must make it a goal to visit every house in America over the next two years. We must listen to what they have to say and we must be prepared to hear the cold, hard truth. The only thing to challenge is if someone hates Democrats just because they are a Democrat.
I would ask them, ‘why?’ and share with them that I too grew up Republican and I changed my stance after reading the Bible. To me, the parables and what Jesus was doing/saying were very against two things: organized religion and many of the policies the Republicans support.
Sharing personal stories of change, growth and questioning oneself is important to changing the minds of others. The most important thing is to listen and understand. It comes down to empathy.
Fourth, we must prepare for the future. One major benefit a single party state like China has is that they can setup 5 year, 10 year, 30 year and 50 year plans. They have goals to reach and can re-evaluate what is going on every few years. Oddly enough, we must do the same.
The Democrats needs to create a vision for what America will be like in 10 years. This has not been done for quite sometime. We need to inspire people and show them the way, we can do better and this is how.
We must prepare for automation taking people’s jobs, for climate change to impact us further, for massive immigration throughout the world, for continued globalization, for the environment to become an even bigger issue.
We have the ability to be the party of clean energy, environmental stewardship and responsibility. The current administration couldn’t be more hostile to the environment, and this is a big issue to a lot of Americans. In the Presidential debates this year we did not hear one mention of Climate Change, and this is arguably the biggest issue that we face today.
Part of listening to the people is hearing things you do not want to hear. A lot of people in the Democrat party today are not capable of that and continue to live in their bubbles or safe spaces. PC culture, while valuable to some degree, is generally oppressive. This goes back to picking our battles, and battling the vernacular should not be one.
Semantics is important in politics and legislation, what you say matters. However, Joe Schmoe uses the term ‘illegal immigrants,’ he doesn’t use the term ‘undocumented immigrants.’ Why does this matter? It really doesn’t. When dealing with common language uses it is always best to try and copy the vernacular of who you are speaking with. Mimic their language traits and verbiage and you will connect with them on a whole new level.
If you stop the conversation and correct ole Joe, the conversation stops right there. You may keep talking, but he stopped listening.
Let me ask you this, what is going to benefit immigrants more: The vernacular changes and most Americans call them ‘undocumented immigrants’ OR we convince enough people that immigration is a benefit and we pass laws that create a smoother path to citizenship. Obviously the latter. We must pick our battles. Hopefully one of the Berkley or DC protestors will read this. PICK YOUR BATTLES.
Finally, we must listen. Which, as you can tell, I have mentioned multiple times. The disconnect between the Democrats and the average American is large, but you know what? So is the disconnect between the Republicans and the average American.
Go out, meet the people, talk to your neighbors and go to different parts of the US. Listen to ideas. When someone tells you Hillary was manufacturing methamphetamine and distributing up and down the east coast, tell them that sounds ridiculous. Do you have a credible source for that? Sourcing, sourcing, sourcing, it is important.
There is a common misconception amongst Democrats that every Trump supporter supports everything he has done. That is obviously wrong. Most that I know cringe every time he tweets, cringe at his sexual harassment, cringe at his mocking of a disabled reporter and cringe at his relationship with Putin. Take advantage of this and listen to why they like Trump. Instead of just bashing Trump, ask them, “Why do you support him?” “Are there things he has done that you do not support?”
They will undoubtedly bring up Obama or Hillary, let them know you did not support everything they did either. Like Obama killing a US citizen, Hillary getting millions from Wall St. or manipulating the DNC primaries. These are important issues. Many Trump supporters would’ve voted Bernie if they had the chance, seize that opportunity to let them know the Democrat party is changing for the better.
What it all boils down to are three basic principles: Listen, Empathize and Plan.
We must go out and reach people to see what is important to them. We must truly understand why these issues are important to them. Then we must plan accordingly and map out a path to a successful future for the US.
It is possible that the Democrats can pick up both the House and the Senate in 2018. We can pick up Gubernatorial seats, Local seats and State legislatures as well.
We may also lose more. We can lose more seats, lose the voice in the House in Senate that we currently have and we can become a forgotten party of yesterday.
What happens today is most important for tomorrow, let’s make that happen.