Democrats act as if we have the best ideas, but fail to explain in clear terms why THE IDEAS are better. For example, Democrats also know that the ACA and Medicare are behemoths, but we insist explaining we are the ones who are going to save these programs and Republicans are going to change it is enough of a strategy. Here’s a lesson from 2016- it wasn’t. The Democratic party chose to run an anti-Trump campaign and while a number of resources were available online – their chosen ads focused on Trump- not ending the tipped minimum wage, not the increase in investment of solar panels, and not aggressive rural investment (all of which were on her website as positions).
We are not just the alternative to Republicans- if we really think our ideas are better we need to talk about our ideas in reference to Republicans. We will not get anywhere with block grants in Medicare are bad and Taiwan is important. We need to say 1)why is it bad/important and 2) what would Democrats do BETTER. Nobody instinctually knows anything about block grants, Sino relations, or even why public transportation is a good investment even though it’s not profitable. The fact that we have opinions on the specifics, but don’t explain it is absurd. At best it’s lazy, at worst it’s elitist and condescending.
We knew that we weren’t going to regain the house and we thought the Senate was 50/50, we over-relied on certain groups turning out and didn’t expect a large number of votes for the other guy to turn out- and all of these things cost us the election. The fact we knew we weren’t going to get either house of Congress should have been a warning sign. The election, save for the Foster Campbell race in Louisiana, is over. If we ever want to win again, we need to talk to people about why we deserve their vote, not why they shouldn’t vote for the other guy, but why they should excitedly and wholeheartedly vote for us.
You know what losing looks like? It looks like the fact that Clinton carried a district in Texas and we didn’t even have a candidate. It looks like the fact that we can’t get Issa out of the House even though Clinton carried that district. It looks like a guy, whose own mom didn’t know he was running, winning the Democratic nomination in a gubernatorial race. It looks like the fact that we are still fighting the primary. It looks like the fact that Democrats got a majority of votes in Wisconsin and North Carolina, but Republicans still have majorities in the state houses. It looks like people when they roll their eyes at Democrats ever again winning in the South. We, as politicians, have completely abandoned areas in the country that we insist we are the most concerned about. People might believe us; if we were actually there.
At some point next week, Trump is going to (again) do something incredibly stupid and instead of explaining why it’s stupid – I’m going to see a bunch of snide remarks about the state of education in this country. Do you really get the proposal for Medicaid block grants? Do you have a full understanding of conflict of interests that Trump has? Do you understand every single aspect of almost any national policy? Because I sure as hell don’t. So maybe, just maybe, we could actually EXPLAIN OUR VIEWS WITHOUT THE WEIRD SMUGNESS – because we actually lost.
We lost and a lot of people are going to hurt by policies, some of who voted for Trump and some who didn’t. And I want to win, not just because I like winning- but because I believe my ideas are better. Not because they’re my ideas (for the most part they’re not). But because I think they lead to a more equitable world, because I think they increase opportunity – because I think the results are better. The reason I’m a Democrat is because I think the ideas are better, it’s time we do a better job of telling people what they are.