Recently Politico ran a story on Democrats holding a seminar consisting of lessons to teach member politicians how they should be speaking to Donald Trump voters. The impulse is understandable given their party’s current state, both federally and in a majority of the states. Judging by the lineup of speakers and presenters, however, it is highly likely that they continue to focus on the wrong things. It was held in West Virginia, where Joe Manchin faces reelection in 2018, but the inclusion of David Brock and Dianne Feinstein as presenters certainly leads one to believe that many Democrats still aren’t listening to Manchin.
This is not another “why Trump won” screed. That horse was beaten to death with broken records quite a few exits back. This is rather, in the spirit of comity and bipartisanship, a few suggestions to Democrats on how to truly reach those flyover country voters they have hemorrhaged the last few election cycles. Because it isn’t really “Trump voters” they need to learn to speak to, it’s the majority of the people not invested in hard leftist politics– i.e., most Americans.
Rein in your crazies. This is not normal behavior. The far left is understandably upset that Donald Trump won and prevented their Dauphin from ascending to her rightful throne. However, he’s the duly, legally elected President. This in no way means you should line up and support policies you oppose, but the fact is that most Americans who both voted for and against Trump view his election as fair and square. Of all people to realize before the election that screaming at your political opponents is a poor way to convince them to vote for your candidate, one notable example was President Obama himself. You’re upset and disappointed. People understand that. What normal people don’t understand is your unhinged insistence that Trump somehow “stole” the election from Hillary. To get anywhere close to the majorities President Obama enjoyed in 2009, you’re going to have to win a hell of a lot of elections and only reasoned and intelligent arguments are going to convince most voters. Stop screaming at people.
Abortion is a losing issue. This does not mean that being pro-choice is a losing issue. The majority of Americans are not for an outright ban on abortion, which is in any case impossible short of the overturning of Roe. However, the Left’s insistence on abortion being a sacrosanct and inviolable right has indisputably hurt their electoral prospects. American taxpayer dollars funding abortion overseas is an even worse hill to die on. The difficulty facing the Left is that there is a relatively large group of their dependable voters who are hardliners on abortion. But to have any hope of returning to being a national party (as opposed to just holding their large population centers and hoping they have enough votes to control the executive branch every so often), Democrats are going to have to face the fact that most red state Americans have come around to the idea that if abortion is a necessary evil, it should be as rare, and as early, as possible. As our highly intelligent and erudite friend @molratty recently stated in this space:
“The question of whether and under what circumstances we should allow the intentional killing of a human being isn’t easy, but it becomes significantly more difficult when abortion advocates try to obfuscate and dodge it.”
This is actual settled science. Democrats had better come to terms with it.
It isn’t always about race or sex. As hard as this may be for many on the far Left to understand, most Americans don’t spend their days dissecting every interpersonal interaction for signs of racism and sexism. The idea that Trump won because America is a racist and sexist country is stupid and insulting. Yes, some of Donald Trump’s support is from virulent racists. But so was some of Barack Obama’s. Yes, Donald Trump is a human being who in his personal life apparently treats women not related to him pretty terribly. So did Bill Clinton. As a political party, it should be possible to appeal to voters without constantly dividing them into groups and pitting the groups against one another. Living by identity politics means that, eventually, you die by identity politics. Develop a platform that appeals to Americans across the board instead of many platforms used to appeal to disparate aggrieved groups.
The media is dragging you down with it. The press has been in the pockets of the Left for a long, long time. They got used to enjoying positive spin from almost every outlet. But now, the press is actually an albatross for the Left. Americans don’t trust the media in general, and a lot of that distrust is due to the media doing the Left’s heavy lifting for 60 years. But Trump has caused an unhinging of a lot of the media that is actually driving more people to give Trump the benefit of the doubt. If the Left is unable to convince the media to focus on targeted, specific attacks on Trump’s policy proposals (which is a target-rich environment), they should at the very least refrain from joining in the media’s myopic focus on every little Trump untruth. Trying to catch Trump in all of his inane lies doesn’t put any actual ideas on the table.
Learn that the entirety of the Constitution is your friend. For many on the Right, the charge made by many Democrats of hypocrisy over support for President Trump’s early Executive Orders seems pretty hypocritical in and of itself. There are many on the Right, however, who dislike Executive Orders regardless of the party affiliation of the president issuing them. The problem the Left faces is that they are almost wholly untrustworthy in their application of the Constitution. An honest return to the belief that the Constitution is the law of the land and that our disagreements are only over its application could go a long way in convincing centrist Democrats that the radical progressive wing of the party isn’t in control in perpetuity. A return to the idea that the three branches of government exist specifically as a check against any one branch attaining too much power would likely be greeted warmly by the Right. It might also force reluctant conservative/conservatarian Republicans in Congress to oppose Trump when he runs afoul of the Constitution, as they should do in any event.
This is not an exhaustive list. The Democrats have a vast array of electoral problems facing them. They will continue to lose ground if they refuse outright to address immigration in good faith or to affirm Constitutional protections for all religious liberty. The choice is theirs, and it is a clear one.
Just a gaggle of people from all over who have similar interests and loud opinions mixed with a dose of humor. We met on Twitter.