As a left-leaning, liberal-thinking independent voter, I have had serious reservations regarding the ‘blue wave’ that everyone is talking about. It is a theory that democrats will win big in November simply based on the fact that Trump and his sycophants in Congress are doing such a horrible job that all sensible voters will vote in a democratic candidate … any democratic candidate. For months, I have said that it wasn’t enough, that the democratic party needs cohesion, that the candidates need a solid, respectable platform. I have called for the DNC to find and support candidates who are ‘squeaky clean’, who carry no baggage that would give the GOP an opening for mud-slinging and under-handed shenanigans. Last night I found my sentiments echoed by Anthony Zurcher, a journalist for the BBC.
“One of the ongoing criticisms of Democrats since Barack Obama moved out of the White House is that the party has been defined by what it opposes, instead of what it wants to do.
They’re not Donald Trump. They’re against travel bans, border walls, trade wars, financial and environmental deregulation, corporate tax cuts and repeal of the Obamacare health insurance system.
But what are they for? What are their ideas?”
It’s true. Think about it … we know exactly what the GOP stands for because they are loud and obnoxious about it. They will defend to the death their 2nd Amendment rights, they applaud Trump’s vision of a wall along the southern border, they want immigration stopped, they want environmental regulations removed on businesses, especially the fossil fuel industry, and the list goes on. There is no doubt what they stand for. But ask the average person what the democrats stand for, and the answer would likely be … the opposite of all of the above. They know what they are against, but they don’t know what they are for. Which, of course, is not quite true, but one could be forgiven for thinking it was, given that the democratic party as a whole is not speaking above a whisper these days.
“We’re not going to win if we spend all our time bemoaning that he’s there. He’s there. And we have to offer an alternative.” — Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar
“People ask how come you’re not offering alternatives. And I say we are.” – Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown
During a recent “Ideas Conference”, democrats tried to zero in on the party platform …
- Minimum wage increases
- Expanding public schooling
- Ethics, reform and oversight
- Dismantling the oligarchy
- Guns, the environment and health care
That’s it … that is what comprises the core values of the democratic party. Okay, I am on board with all of the above, but there is so much more. And why are the three arguably most important issues lumped together at the very end???
My concern is that this election will devolve into a mud-fest. I am also concerned that for democrats, it will become a single-issue election: gun regulation. While gun regulation is certainly among the top concerns today, if it is allowed to become the central focus, I’m not sure how well the democrats will fare, for it is also the single most contentious issue on the docket, with far too many being told by the GOP that democrats want to abolish the 2nd Amendment and ‘take all your guns’.
While political ideologies do have a base platform, the day-to-day issues tend to be reactionary. In this, the era of Trump, they are typically a reaction to whatever horrific thing he has most recently said or done, and there is no dearth of material on which to react. But this gets us nowhere, it pulls us down to the level of the GOP, and it won’t win elections in November.
The Democratic Party stands for many things: social & economic equality, social programs, labour unions, affordable college tuition, universal health care, equal opportunity for all, consumer protections, and environmental protections, to name a few. This, then, is what the candidates need to be focusing on, the message they need to be getting out. It will help that Trump & Co are making a mockery of our government, and the anger that generates will certainly play a role, but it is not going to be enough to carry the day. It is absolutely essential to the continuation of this nation as a democratic republic that the demographics of Congress be changed. The current majority in both the House and the Senate are naught but sycophants, book-lickers, who will bow to Trump’s will and who will fight to keep the madman in office, for he is their job security.
Please, democratic candidates, focus on the issues rather than simply being the “anti-Trump”. Trump will, I firmly believe, help sink his own boat as well as that of the GOP, so leave him to it, and focus on presenting a united, sensible, humanitarian front. It is easy to argue against every single thing Trump has done or will do between now and November 6th, but there is a bigger goal here, and to achieve it, we must do better than to be the “Party of No”.