5 Things The Democratic Party Must Change To Win Elections Again

denialismI’m not going to mince any words or sugarcoat the message today – the midterm elections sucked. They weren’t bad, disappointing, or sad – they were absolutely horrific, and it’s only going to get worse unless progressives and the Democratic Party do something fast. It wasn’t that the Republicans had a great message, it’s that the left didn’t have a message and people just didn’t show up. It wasn’t a victory for GOP ideas, it was a forfeit by Democrats.

For some reason, the younger generation of voters didn’t turn out to vote, and I think a lot of it had to do with apathy. There certainly were good candidates on the ballot, and while New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley referred to this loss as a “red tide,” he’s wrong. While I’m an independent, I tend to vote for Democrats, sometimes grudgingly, and pretending that this cycle was a fluke win for the GOP is wrong – and dangerous for Democrats.

If the Democratic Party wants to change this pattern of losing and making excuses, they’re going to have to make some drastic changes very quickly. Here are my five suggestions that party officials should implement as quickly as possible.

5. Go back to the “50-state strategy” that was very successful in 2006 and in 2008. All too often, ideological Democrats tend to write off conservative states like Louisiana and don’t bother spending any time or resources on candidates in red districts, especially if they’re centrists or even moderately conservative. At the same time, they’re also going to have to appeal to independent voters in those districts instead of pretending everyone who lives in Alabama or Mississippi are a bunch of racist, redneck Teabaggers.

4. Stop playing the race card: I’m one of the most anti-racist people you’ll ever meet and I’m sick of someone playing the race card every time Republicans criticize President Obama or don’t support something that he does. Are some Republicans racists? Absolutely, but stop blaming every measure of opposition on race. Most Republican politicians and pundits are opposing him because he’s a Democrat. Remember what they did to President Clinton and the lies they made up about him and Hillary that still continue to this very day? Republicans are also more than happy to welcome blacks into their ranks like Dr. Ben Carson, who are fluent in the language of political derp and making Nazi comparisons. Yes, minorities are just as capable of selling out their own people and saying stupid stuff for a buck – so stop with the race card thing. It’s getting really, really old.

3. Enough with the Koch Brothers scare tactics: Like it or not, money in politics has been around since the beginning. This is an unfortunate part of the political process, but to pretend that the only big spenders in politics are Charles and David Koch is disingenuous and hypocritical. Look at this Super PAC list of receipts and expenditures for this election cycle, and you’ll see a lot of the money comes from liberal groups. Also, despite some well-circulated blog stories that even made an appearance on DailyKos, they don’t have a Nazi past. While their influence in politics has certainly been harmful and they’ve poured funds into supporting candidates that don’t have America’s best interests at heart, lies and half-truths don’t help the cause. Deal in facts, not scare mongering or the latest nontroversy involving political celebrities like the Quitta From Wasilla that don’t matter. That’s Fox News territory and we don’t need to stoop to that level.

2. Stop the elitism: As a white male who lives in the South and owns guns, I don’t feel like I belong to that party and haven’t been registered with them in 4 years. More and more it feels like unless you’re a New York or California true blue, ideologically pure liberal, you’re really not welcome. That’s an especially big turn off to white, blue-collar voters who may not like Republican policies, but feel like Democrats look down on them as poor and uneducated rednecks who need to have their guns taken away. Stop talking about how horrible Republicans are all the time and start telling them what you can do to make their lives better instead of just saying that you’re better than the Republicans, and really little else.

1. Turn out the youth vote again: Young voters turned out in 2008 like never before, and gave President Obama a landslide victory. Then in 2010 and afterwards, they didn’t really bother. These are voters that the Democratic Party is going to have to reach once again, or let an ever-shrinking older Republican population keep deciding elections. These younger voters are turned off by a constant bombardment of distractions and the message from people like Russell Brand (and other celebrity figures that have inserted themselves into politics) that voting doesn’t matter or that it’s a waste of time. There’s an effort out there to convince the public to remain apathetic and to tell them that both parties are the same, and if Democrats don’t push back against that hard, they’re not going to get people to turn out.

Of course, I’m just a white guy who owns guns, drives a pickup truck and lives in the South. I’m sure that the party elite may not care what I have to say, but these suggestions would go a long way into expanding the voter base and getting people to care enough to show up on Election Day. Or they can just keep going the way they are now and let Republicans control all but the most liberal districts. It’s up to them.

Do you agree with this list? Stop by my Facebook page and let me know what you think.


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