|Sorry to rain on the parade of professors, political scientists, pollsters and pundits, but all this debating over a percentage point here or a population sub-segment there; all the excuse-mongering; all the “if only she’d done that!” wailing and flailing; the (well-deserved) Comey-shaming; all the blame gaming, in short, is missing what this Truthteller suggests is the main question.
Instead of trying to justify, explain, excuse, or condemn the Democrat loss by a few votes in a few states, the real issue is NOT why this contest was won by the Republicans with so few strategically-located votes, but why it was not won by the Democrats with a ten-million (or more) vote plurality and a 50 (or more) edge in the Electoral College.
What enabled the coalition of the ignorant, the religious right, the Hillary haters, the rabid Tea Party and all the other anti-progressives, and, most tellingly, the millions of voters who stayed home in 2008 and 2012 rather than vote for a Black man, to go out and support the worst educated, least qualified, most dangerous, most despicable candidate in our history?
How did what should have been a nation-wide mass rejection of this oafish lout by all the real patriots and serious, educated, issue-conscious citizens turn into a sullen victory by the minority of Americans who hate the very idea of a rational, informed, fact-based approach to governing and public policy?
How did a no-brainer choice, the *obvious* win over ignorance, become literally a no brainer: the victory of a mindless minority composed of only about 25% of our neighbors? We are talking here, fellow losers, of what should have been a historically massive victory of rationality and public spiritedness over a mob.
The answer will not be found in the nit-picking of exit polls, or the insidious vote suppression schemes of the Republicans. The answer will be in understanding why, when faced with a looming disastrous overthrow of our country’s slow march to a progressive society, fully 45% of our citizens would not care enough to vote.
|The answer, my friends, is blowing in the wind. We are a country, not a collection of population samples. Our government has failed *everyone*, not just the angry white men. Seniors, minorities, women, and immigrants have been pushed aside in our relentless march to a brave new progressive world. The Democratic Party has been a significant part of this failure. The party has mainly focused on local or regional causes and written off whole sections of the country along with most of the unfortunate people who happen to reside in them.
We in our coveted Blue liberal safe zones forget too easily that the people in the disaffected class include millions of Democrats, independents, minorities, frustrated young persons, and ignored seniors. More stupidly, we who are living the educated, employed, progressive good life seem to have forgotten there are millions of less-fortunates living in the slums and ghettos and forgotten rural regions of our Blue states and urban areas.
We assume that, just because a person is ignorant, they cannot think. Too many young progressives assume that seniors are out of touch with reality, when many of these same seniors are distraught at the prospects of their grandchildren coming face-to-face with climate change, in a country impoverished by Republican financial excesses. Too many of us assume that, just because a person is white and poor, they must be a racist, or anti-progressive, or unsympathetic to, or even resentful of, the plight of Black and Latino people, their fellow-sufferers in poverty.
We claim to be the champions of public education, but have done nothing as a party to educate the public.
We lost this election because we failed to mobilize all the people from ALL the population segments who want a progressive future for their children. Drunk with our own clever numbers, we ignored the more important ones:
- Two thirds of Americans fear global warming and want our government to take action to mitigate it
- More than 80% of our citizens want gun safety implemented
- More than 80% of our citizens want a fair, universal, comprehensive national health insurance scheme
- More than 80% of our people accept the principles of women’s equality, voting rights, LGBT rights, and criminal justice reform
- Most of our people want employment in all the country, not just the thriving pockets of the educated class.
Instead of forcefully and consistently pressing these issues, we allowed our candidate and leadership to campaign on the singular theme of “We’re not him, or the Deplorables, morally bankrupt Republicans, and hypocritical Christians who support him.” We let our political leadership run away from the real issues for fear of offending some small population segment or special interest group.
We sat back and mocked Trump and his rally-goers, sure that all the other rational folks would crush him and his misogynistic, White Nationalist, anti-science, jingoistic followers. We gave them no reason to get off their duffs and go out and stop him. We simply said, “We’re not him.”
And guess what!? The vast majority already knew that they were not “him”, either. They obviously felt that we’re so much “stronger together” that they need not do anything unpleasant, like voting. Or assumed they could fritter away their vote on ineffectual independent candidates.
The answer, my friends, is blowing in the wind, an answer for all Americans. And it needs to be based on the commitment of the Democratic Party to utterly reform itself, top to bottom.
We do not need a Democratic Party led by career politicians who are committed to a Democratic party, instead of to democratic principles. We will not win with a party that is reformed in name only, after ideological cosmetic surgery. It needs to become the natural and national party for all those who want a progressive future for their children. It has to include fierce progressives, independents, seniors, and millennials alike, of all colors and cultures. It needs to include the struggling poor as well as the successful professionals. It needs to work, in every sense of the word. It needs to become the Progressive Democratic Alliance.
For days, recently, I’ve listened to good people like Joy Reid of MSNBC hound their pundit and political party guests with one question: “What is the message that can reform, revitalize, and redirect the Democratic Party? What is the one thing 65, 75, even 85% of the people can agree with and take to their mind and hearts, and carry to their polling place?”
It’s this, for me: “Change that works”, period.