*Originally published on 11/9/16*
If you would have told me that Hillary Clinton would be giving a concession speech today, I would have told you that you were lying. Bottom line: Democrats lost this election because they told over half their voting base that they did not matter. There were the Bernie Progressives, yes. But I’m going to focus on the part of the voting base I feel I fall into. They didn’t bother building a bridge between the old school Democrats and the progressives that have become the loudest voices in the party.
The old school Democrats (not necessarily by age, but by their views on work, traditional values, higher education, et. al.) have been slowly turning red for the better part of eight years now. Many of us saw this coming. And instead of Democrats looking to those voters, their concerns about Medicaid/Social Security (that retirees paid into their whole lives), Higher Taxes, Jobs, Crime/Violence – they were pushed aside in favor of more preaching and promoting sweeping social change.
I’ve said many times that I lean conservative on a lot of issues for a Democrat and even I (a gay, black man) personally felt marginalized and ostracized by the progressive majority for simply stating opinions on policy. Taking away what I now know about Benghazi (which is what did Clinton in for me last year), I was basically made to feel like I needed a new party. If I felt that way, can you imagine how others in the party felt?
I also feel like these old school Democrats were told that their opinions, their voices, their concerns did not matter because they don’t have a college education or anything past a bachelor's degree. They were told what they had to believe in versus being allowed to be part of the party and still separate themselves from certain things they reject. And I also believe more people of color and LGBTQ people voted for Trump than we are being led to believe. Part of it has to do with their personal beliefs. But, above all else, they want jobs, national security, control over their money and their lives after they leave work.
The media covered the fracture between the Republicans (The #NeverTrump Movement), but didn’t bother covering the issue that was clearly boiling over: the fractures in the Democratic Party. Hillary thought she should have had this handed to her, and the voting bases she needed the most rejected her.
The Democratic Party is split between three factions: blind loyalists who will vote Democrat out of loyalty and fear, progressives who are tired of crony capitalism/bank bailouts/pollution, and those conservative Democrats who are tired of being talked down to and/or having Washington DC liberal beliefs forced upon them.
I don’t know how we, as Democrats, fix this. But we don’t fix it by unfriending/unfollowing those who did not vote for Hillary. We don’t fix it by furthering the divide we claim Donald Trump created in this election. We don’t reject our fellow Americans. We’re in for a long, bumpy ride with President Trump (or probably President Pence). We need to come together, build up our communities, build each other up, build up ourselves.
Don’t be the sore losers you would have ostracized if Hillary had won. Use this to put fire in your belly to inspire change. And if she truly cares about immigration, working families, the LGBTQ community, HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, I hope Hillary Clinton takes up the initiatives she had in her platform and utilizes them in work for the Clinton Foundation or another nonprofit.
Prove your supporters right and prove your detractors wrong by putting your own money where your mouth is. #OnTo2020