We DO Know What We Want — Just Not How To Get It …

On last Sunday’s Meet The Press, Chuck Todd interviewed Ohio’s republican Governor John Kasich, during which Kasich made the following statement:

Kasich“The problem with the Democrats––I can’t figure out what they’re for. I mean, they have a golden opportunity, right, to be able to come in and win elections, but they can’t figure out anything other than the fact that they don’t like Donald Trump. I mean, they better figure out what they are. What’s happened to the Democratic party? It’s almost lost its soul and it better get its act together if they want to compete.”

My initial reaction, predictably, was to bristle.  Of course we know what we stand for!  We stand for environmental protections, affordable healthcare for all, equal rights and opportunity for all, an end to racism, stricter gun regulations, etc.  But, once I was done with my internal tirade and mental foot-stomping, I realized that … he is right.  He is wrong in saying that we do not know what we stand for other than hating Donald Trump.  But he is right about everything else. The Democratic Party has done very little in the last seven months to put together a platform and even less to build strategies for successful mid-term elections next year.  Kasich is right that this is a golden opportunity, with the majority of the country disgusted by the policies of Donald Trump and with a Congress that continues to lick his boots and ask “how high?” when told to jump.

One of the biggest challenges next year, I believe, will be inspiring voters to go to the polls. If we are relying only on ‘anything but Trump’ to encourage voters to vote for democratic candidates in 2018, we are doomed.  It did not work last year and it will not work next year either.  According to a recent Gallup survey, the current percentages of registered voters by party in the U.S. are …

Republicans        28%

Democrats          28%

Independents   41%

Meaning …. It will require some serious motivation to excite those 41% of independents enough to get them to the polls and convince them to vote for a democratic candidate.

We have all, myself included, been so focused on convincing Trump supporters to ‘see the light’, to abandon their love of Trump, that we have ignored the rest. Only about 36% support Trump, and it is apparent that short of a dramatic event that affects them on a personal level, they are not likely to back down.  We can no longer waste valuable resources on the 36% to the exclusion of all others, for those resources are needed to promote strong, viable candidates in the House and Senate elections next year.

Political analyst Steve Phillips wrote a relevant article for the New York Times last month that I encourage you to read.  A few of his key points:

“The Democratic Party is at risk of repeating the billion-dollar blunder that helped create its devastating losses of 2016. With its obsessive focus on wooing voters who supported Donald Trump, it is neglecting the cornerstone of its coalition and failing to take the steps necessary to win back the House of Representatives and state houses in 2018.

In spring 2016, when the progressive independent expenditure groups first outlined their plans for $200 million in spending, they did not allocate any money at all for mobilizing black voters (some money was slotted for radio and digital advertising aimed at blacks, but none for hiring human beings to get out the vote).

Predictably, African-American turnout plummeted. According to new census data, 59.6 percent of eligible black voters cast ballots last year, down from the 66 percent who voted in 2012.

The Democratic Party’s fixation on pursuing those who voted for Mr. Trump is a fool’s errand because it’s trying to fix the wrong problem.”

In June, Bernie Sanders also wrote an OpEd for the New York Times, titled How Democrats Can Stop Losing Elections.  This piece definitely warrants a closer look.  The first paragraph is an eye-opener:

sanders“In 2016, the Democratic Party lost the presidency to possibly the least popular candidate in American history. In recent years, Democrats have also lost the Senate and House to right-wing Republicans whose extremist agenda is far removed from where most Americans are politically. Republicans now control almost two-thirds of governor’s offices and have gained about 1,000 seats in state legislatures in the past nine years. In 24 states, Democrats have almost no political influence at all.[emphasis added]

Mid-term elections typically do not generate the same level of voter enthusiasm that presidential elections do.  According to Sanders, “We already have among the lowest voter turnout of any major country on earth. Democrats will not win if the 2018 midterm election turnout resembles the unbelievably low 36.7 percent of eligible voters who cast ballots in 2014.”

election-2018.jpgGranted, it is early days yet, with the 2018 mid-term elections just over 14 months away.  But in this day of nearly endless campaigns, it is not too early to start igniting the fires of enthusiasm.  While we cannot set aside our arguments against the Trumpian regime currently in office, and we must continue to speak out against the policies that go against what we believe is right and just, we must also make clear not only what we don’t want, but what we DO stand for, as well.  And we must somehow motivate and inspire every eligible voter to realize that their vote DOES count, that they CAN make a difference.

The Democratic National Party needs to do its part by stating clear, reasonable goals and investing in viable candidates.  The 2018 elections are our next best hope for reclaiming a truly bi-partisan Congress, a legislative body that can actually legislate, rather than spend their days bickering and feuding. The purpose of the legislative branch of the U.S. government is to make law that is in the best interest of the nation and its people, to provide ‘checks and balances’ to the power of the presidency.  Its purpose is not what we have seen for the past seven months.

24 thoughts on “We DO Know What We Want — Just Not How To Get It …

  1. Dear Jill,
    Just this past Monday I changed my voter registration from Independent to the democratic party. I am now a director in the local democratic club. I can tell you that the democrats are taking the upcoming elections seriously.
    I will be attending a major dinner, a convention, etc. There was another attendee who joined up last Monday who is a former republican.
    We were both singing this same song about the Dems lacking a message. We do have better policies when it comes to climate change; healthcare; tolerance etc. but there has been a lacking of competent marketing.

    Forgive me if this is a repeat because I blogged on this already, somewhere. As a former competent sales person, I can say with certainty, that you well not make many sales by putting down, ignoring the clients you are trying to reach. Putting down the other company’s product is not very effective. Taking time to get to know your clients, and then tailoring your product to meet their needs on both a pragmatic and emotional level, is what will make more sales.

    There are even a couple of things that we can learn from DDT. It helps not to sound like a robot with a script like too many politicians. Also, it would help if the party demonstrated that they really gave a hoot about its constituents.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, we can certainly learn what NOT to do from DDT! I applaud your energy and effort for joining the democratic club down there … I know you will give it your all and make a difference! I just hope that all states get to work and start marketing the candidates! We must progress beyond the current state of affairs! Hugs!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think Governor Kasich is off on this. The republicans got Trump elected basically by not liking Obama and Clinton. Hillary Clinton was not a well-liked candidate across enough of the base where the electoral votes came from. If the democrats had a marginally more popular candidate among the rural voters, much like Bill Clinton, the election would have turned out differently.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We badly need checks and balances to the power of this president. He seems to think he’s a king, not a president. I certainly hope the Democratic party can get its act together. We better give up on loyal DT voters for now at least. They seem to be cemented into their beliefs. We need to go over and around them. —- Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are quite right. I just looked back through my posts, and it was last October that I first dubbed Trump as “the man who would be king”. Not so far off base, is it? I share your hope that the dems can cut the petty politics and focus on the bigger picture, but they really need to do so SOON! I already gave up on DDT voters/supporters … let the chips fall where they may, and I hope that a year from now they are happy as little larks with their choices! Okay, yes, I am getting snarky again … I must be feeling better! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree with every point you make, Jill. But please let me add this: The Democratic Party is not stupid. They know what to do, if they want to win elections. I have come to the conclusion that establishment democrats mostly want to keep their own jobs, rather than win elections for the party or the people.

    If they followed the progressive platform that most Dems and Independents want, they would have to cut ties with corporate and billionaire donors. Without the means to finance a flood of TV ads, they would have to compete with other candidates on a more fair playing field. This is risky, and hard work. Many of them would not be able to rally enough votes to stay in office, based on their own ideas, track record, and personal merit.

    This is not to say that establishment democrats are not, or could not be, worthy public servants. But by honing their skills to attract huge corporate donations, and building their political careers about a Big Money campaign funding strategy, they are now at a disadvantage when it comes to getting votes the old fashioned way: on the campaign trail.

    Eventually, an Independent or 3rd party presidential candidate is going to beat the Democratic Party by a landslide. Maybe sooner than we think or dare hope.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jill, as an Independent voter who has been a member of both parties, the Dems do have better ideas, they are just lousy marketers. They hide from their data and success. Here is an example. Most Americans believe the GOP is the party of job creation. With respect to the Presidency, that is not even close to being correct. Under twelve White Houses each since 1921 job creation under Dems is more than twice as much than under Reps. Since 1901, the stock market has performed 73% better under Dems. The economy has done better as well.

    The message should be very succinct – we are the party of jobs. We have concerns about technology taking more. And, here is what we plan to do. They can also embrace renewable energy as it is a job creating industry.

    This message needs to be hammered home with they data. Truth be told, Trump needs to thank Obama for giving him the baton on a percolating economy. Obama was not so lucky when he took the reins.

    I would pair that with healthcare. The GOP obviously has no solution. Dems should say we are all about jobs, healthcare and the environment. That would distinguish them from the GOP which is convinced tax cuts will create jobs.

    That is my two cents. Keith

    Liked by 3 people

    • Your ‘two cents’ are always worth so much more! Methinks that you are needed at Democratic headquarters PRONTO!!!

      I, too, am an independent and, while I have mostly voted democrat, I voted for Nixon and Bush, Jr. his second time, though not his first. And I agree wholeheartedly that the dems have the better ideas … or at least the ideas that most nearly align with my own values … but you are quite right … they are lousy marketers. Now, that said, wouldn’t you think they would have learned a lesson after last year??? But no, as best I can tell, they are sitting with their hands under their posteriors wondering what to do next. Where is the inspiration, the motivation, the excitement???

      So … I vote for Keith Wilson to lead up the DNC for the next 38 months! Please feel free to use me for a reference, my friend! Now get to work … 🕴️


  6. If the Democrats can’t sort themselves out soon so they know who they’re going to target next year to come out and vote, then they deserve the balance of power to stay in opposition hands.Maybe it’s time to look at some Independents and see if they have ideas and ideals that will appeal to the electorate. Maybe it’s time the elephhant and the donkey were put out to grass?
    xxx Cwtch Mawr xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well, I agree with you that the two parties have grown old and tiresome. And I would like to see both some serious competition and some fresh blood injected into the mix. BUT … it ain’t likely. In fact, it’s so far fetched that I might be inclined to label it ‘sci-fi’. Why? Because any independent is almost doomed from the start due to FEC (Federal Election Commission) rules. Just getting on the ballot in any given state is a maze, with different, complex, filing requirements and deadlines for each of the 50 states. And … I do not remember the exact percentage, but a third-party or independent candidate must attain a certain percentage in the aggregate polls in order to be eligible for a spot in those all-important debates. So, the likelihood of us seeing any viable independent candidates come even close is … well, slim-to-none. However, I DO think that both parties are in dire need of some re-structuring, AND I think we need to de-monetize the entire election process. Too many candidates are already indebted to bug business and lobbyist groups by the time they take office.


      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re right about the indebtedness of the candidates when they take office. By that time they’re bought and paid for. It needs to be that campaign contributions are managed so that large amounts are unacceptable and also that a limit is set to the amount a candidate is allowed to spend to achieve their goal. A certain amount to go for a Representative Seat, an amount for a Senate Seat and an amount limit for the Presidential race. That allows a level playing field for all candidates . Once in office, no-one should be allowed to be bought meals,holidays or anything else by pressure groups. Arguments only should decide merit.
        xxx Cwtch Mawr xxx

        Liked by 2 people

        • You are right, and right, and once again right, David! Citizens United, which declared limits on campaign contributions to be “unconstitutional”, gave unprecedented power to big business and lobbyist groups such as the NRA. Efforts to repeal it have been unsuccessful, for obvious reasons. What member of Congress doesn’t like being wined, dined, and having extra $$$ in their bank account in exchange for just one or two votes against their own conscience. Oh WAIT … did I just say conscience??? Silly me …

          The reality is that we need not only a few laws passed to change the way political campaigns operate, but a complete overhaul of the system. But don’t hold your breath, for the rats are already in the arena and they aren’t about to give up their perks any time soon. SIGH.

          xxx Cwtch Mawr xxx

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Yes, of course. Then there is the problem of the Democratic party as a whole and how they are owned by special interest groups. The donors if you will. No matter how much a candidate might wish to run and or make a difference. They are ham-strung with many other factors.

    It might be better if there was a bit more diversification of parties?

    Canada has more than 5 legitimate options, for both supporters and voters. Does it dilute the vote? Somewhat, yet I believe it also helps the definition within the construct of them. Do we need more? Perhaps, even with some overlaps of platforms. In the end it usually boils down to one of two, being elected. Unfortunately for Canada, the main thrust of seats remains fixed in what is known as Upper Canada. Which for western Provinces, means the die is cast there and usually won, before the polls close on the wet coast. Then there are the secret handshake clubs, who control the agendas. Makes it awfully tough for those outside their sphere of influence, to have any. On either the candidates or the parties. Yet once again the USA and it’s inhabitants, who like to hold themselves up as democracy’s champion. Are not really democratic at all. Including the named Democratic Party. Which if history would be proved? Stands for government control, on everything. Watch guards of individual liberties, they are not. Cheers Jamie

    Liked by 3 people

    • You are right in all you say. Both parties are basically ‘owned’ by big business and lobbyists, and until that changes, we will not see fair and honest political candidates. And as for having more than two parties, I would fully support that. I think both parties have lost their way and need some genuine competition to hold their feet to the fire. However, an independent candidate in our political system is almost doomed before he/she leaves the starting gate, thanks to the FEC rules. And nobody in Congress is likely to support a change in those rules, because it would have the potential of hurting their own party and … again … because they are beholden to the big businesses and lobbyists. But I fully agree with you that the two-party system has become toxic.
      Cheers, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

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