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The Democratic Party Path Forward

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  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    It has been suggested in another thread that we discuss a Democratic Party mission statement. Okay, we can go there, but first we have to define what the problem is before we set out on a mission to navigate the complexities of our diverse views of ourselves and the world.

    Most of all we need to begin to understand and accept that we are a whole bunch of people who are different in our thinking. Our brains are wired differently largely because of genetics but also because of our life experiences. It is very difficult to change our brains as George Lakoff discussed in his January 15, 2017 article in Salon addressing how Democrats helped elect Trump.

    We also need to understand and accept that we have an abundance of ignorance about government in general and issues in America, but even more significantly that our ignorance about people, cultures, religions and countries outside of our geographical boundaries is a liability. By liability, I mean that we can be easily manipulated by demagoguery.

    We have a diversity of worldviews where the most common denominator is perhaps "no view" or perhaps a view based on very limited or one-sided exposure to the complexities of the world's problems. By "we" I am not necessarily talking about the members in this website, but rather the collective "Americans".

    Democrats cannot be all things to all people anymore than Republicans can be all things to all people. In addition to our differing life's experiences, we are divided by economic status (rich, poor, middle class), education levels, intelligence, religious beliefs, race and ethnicity, region (urban versus rural), geography (north, south, east, west, and the heartland), age (young versus old), gender and sexual orientation, and personality types (introverts, extroverts, and a whole bunch of genetically driven profiles that include such things as empathy and greed).

    So as we discuss our mission statement should it be ideologically driven or reality based? Is there room for compromise with "the other"? Or should it be "my way or the highway"...no compromises!

    I think many of you know where I stand on the issues of the day (just refer to HillaryClinton.com), and I'll be happy to further elaborate on those views as we try to seek an elusive consensus. I'll leave it at that for now. Chime in...

  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Maybe as a starter we should take a hard look at our respective party platforms...why do roughly half of Americans identify with the "other"?

    Democratic Party Platform 2016

    Republican Party Platform 2016

  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Yes Schmidt, an good start. But you should add "outside" the US views as well. I said many times this is an "island". You can put all the people here together and it is still an "island view".

    As I explained over and over again, this country's "base laws" should be amended to reflect 2017 thinking as well the "technological" developments since 1800. The problem does not lie with the people, but things in the "system" here. Like trying to fix an car with 300,000 miles on it. Look at "gun" control, electoral college , supreme court chosen for life, laws which don't fit the times anymore; tax free churches with private planes; the rich paying barely any taxes, refusal to copy "healthcare" from other countries where it does work, a "two" party system etc. etc. I could go on and on. This whole country is out of wack, because it is an "island", which refuses to look "outside" this country for solutions as well uses commonsense.

    Just wrote this, but I'll add my comment on "platforms"; sorry that is the wrong approach; they are mostly geared to this antique system not on how this country should be run; start with an "clean" sheet if possible. Due to the "system" here "platforms" are "wishlists only and seldom get materialized due to an two party system.

  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Dutch -- Yes there is much to be learned from what works in other countries, but even more so having a respect for their cultures. That is certainly something many of us can endorse, but first we need to get our own act together. Are we going to be the party of Bernie Sanders or the party of Obama/Clinton?

    MSN, NBC News, March 20, 2017: Dems Beware: Sanders 'Movement' Turns to Midterms

    The Hillary haters amongst the Bernie supporters have not gone away. From the above article:

    "But the more radical strain, which led hundreds of Sanders delegates to walk out of the Democratic National Convention in protest last summer, is still present on the left and emboldened by the loss of Hillary Clinton and their belief that "Bernie would have won."

    There are different factions intent on remaking the Democratic Party into a Bernie Party or alternatively splitting off into their own party. The #WeWillReplaceYou is putting out warnings to specific members of Congress that they may be challenged in the midterm primaries

    Then there are the Justice Democrats staffed by ex-Sanders aides who seem to be planning to run a large slate of their candidates on the cheap against possibly dozens of incumbents. Justice Democrats have now merged operations with another anti-incumbent group founded by former Sanders aides, Brand New Congress, which started last year.

    As the NBC reports, The Justice Democrats website "features an image of a sledgehammer smashing the "D" logo of the Democratic National Committee and declares "it's time to rebuild the Democratic Party from scratch.""

    Those groups largely focus on Democrats and changing the party. Another group, Indivisible, is largely focusing on Donald Trump.

    I throw all this out for consideration as we think about a new direction for the Democratic Party...a major shift...or a tweek. Maybe it's not the party so much as our poor messaging.

  • Liberal
    Independent
    Durham, NH
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    Well, when the Dems became "Repub lites" this is what happens. It doesn't take a genius to realize they just about forgot the middle class and the middle class turned around and chose Trumpy because they love being made to feel how important and better than everyone else they are.

    Say what you like about the Repubs - they know how to reach the voters they need to win by hook or by crook. No one ever accused the US voter of being sophisticated, much less informed.

    Winning has nothing to do with being correct or even honest, in fact, those traits are liabilities in today's political universe.

  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Schmidt, an exellent reply. Like you said there is more to it than a "strong" focused party.

    Looking at the total "picture" in this country, then I have come to the conclusion that first ( as Bernie said) focus on"education", second on the "elections" laws. As long as the "system" here allows the uneducated part ("bible belt, rust belt, coal belt, dumb belt") get to run the country. Then you get the "crazy" things like an Trump . No democrat can battle stupidity in voting laws regardless of an decent platform; the election of 2016 proved such.

    Thus my answer is tackle the voting laws first before we start voting again; otherwise we end up the same as now, that the "stupid" part of the population wins again. You can have the most "beautiful" platform but we still will loose.

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    From whatnI can see , the Democrat party is owned by the elite who are the DNC. They ignored the people and this is what they got. The people are not going to come back iether. 30% of the electorate does not vote. While some 20% have lost their right to ever vote. That is exactly half the electorate.

    That is a problem.it allows a minority of Uber assholes to control the entire American government, the Justice Dept and the huge too heavy burdensome military. And that is terrifying.

    When Shultz ,Clinton and brazaile took over the party they wrecked it. They are so myopic they cannot see beyond their noses. They thought they were smarter than Americans . Turns out they were wrong.americans don't like arrogant know it all's.

    Now Bernie raised how much h money at 27 dollar donations ? A sleeping giant is awakened. And it's not a democrat anymore. It's a progressive. And we are going to take over this mess. The Rethugs may create a shitstorm and they will crash our company I am sure they will. But we are going to be rid of them soon enough and we will rebuild America from the ground up . We should update our laws with an eye on what we know now.

  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Maindawg -- Did you look at the Democratic Party Platform at my link above? The building of that platform started at the grass roots level by people like myself submitting resolutions at their local caucuses or other venues. The people who sift through those resolutions to consolidate them into a platform are also ordinary volunteers who take their jobs very seriously. In the case of the 2016 party platform, just a whole bunch of those people at the grass roots level were Bernie supporters. They had overwhelming numbers at the caucuses and therefore were heavily represented on the Platform Committee at the County Assembly and State conventions. The final tweaking at the national level was done jointly by both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Both have fully endorsed it.

    So take a look at it and tell us what you would change in it for when it is next updated in 2020. I have read it thoroughly and parts of it more than once. I stand behind it.

    Democratic Party Platform 2016

    In so far as candidates for offices in 2018 and 2020, that activity is also in full swing. People are actively putting their names in the hat for local and state offices and well as federal offices. Many of those people are Bernie supporters.

    For those who want to throw out all the Democrats from office and start over, there is a process for that, and yes many of the current incumbents are being challenged.

    The Democratic National Committee is in charge of fund raising and otherwise encouraging good people to run for office. It is headed by Tom Perez with Keith Ellison as the deputy chair. Those two will be working together to help Democrats win back the House and Senate in 2018. It will be a tough task. Their biggest challenge is to get liberals to vote...especially those who choose not to vote out of protest or maybe just apathy. There were several reasons why Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump but the biggest was the non-voter...liberals who stayed home on election day for various reasons. Some 40 percent of the voter eligible population DID NOT VOTE in the 2016 election.

    Anyway, this thread is about constructive ways for the path forward. You are entitled to rant, but I would be more interested in what you would change assuming of course that you have studied both our platform and the DNC website of issues. Let's be constructive.

  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    We were fortunate to win the presidency twice. It was because our candidate was not mangled by Fox news. Unfortunately as a party we have lost being a majority and we have lost far too many elections and are not a lock except in the NE and the Pacific coast. I like many comments shown above. We can only improve. Most of all, I want us to be an entirely inclusive party that can agree more often than not and ultimately minimize the damage in the next 4 years and try to win some elections in '18 & '20. If we can only have 1 or 2 SCOTUS seats filled it is start. I want people to read a statement and say "That's what I think as well". Maybe we can regain lost party loyalty and lost territories and be the party people are proud to assimilate towards. Currently there's the bitter taste of November 2016 and fading memories of president Obama. Zero outreach moving forward. I want more people to be proud Democrats or Progressives. Call it what you want.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    TJ -- Yes, good points. It's what I want as well. I want to experience again the feeling I had as an Obama volunteer knocking on doors and engaging potential voters (although some of the doors I knocked on were really bad experiences...but nevertheless educational). I think my experience as a former precinct chair for four years and an Obama and Clinton volunteer was a sobering experience...it made me more of a realist, perhaps even a cynic in some cases. I met a lot of what Chris Matthews calls "low information voters", a polite term for degrees of ignorance. And by that I don't just mean the knowledge of the candidates and issues, but also ignorance of our government and the separation of powers between the three branches of government.

    So I agree with Dutch when he says we need to start educating people about government...Civics 101 to start with. I also believe that our federal government is fundamentally good for the people, but it has been undermined and outright sabotaged by big money Republican operatives and many of the people we elect to Congress (e.g. Tea Party) and now also the presidency.

    We need to take back the blue collar worker but it's hard to do when we vote our emotions rather than thinking critically about the issues. Having studied the issues carefully, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the coal country and rust belt workers and unemployed would have been far better served with Hillary Clinton as president. But that's just me...a wonk like Hillary.

    I fully understand as Republican strategist Frank Luntz said in a 2003 interview, “80 percent of our life is emotion, and only 20 percent is intellect." I struggle, therefore, at election time when candidates on both sides (Hillary perhaps the exception) appeal to emotions with TV ads made to appeal to the dumbest amongst us rather than engaging in critical thinking. Emotions largely trump critical thinking. Trump made promises that appealed to emotions...promises he could never keep. But it got him elected...telling people what they wanted to hear rather than giving them a reality check. Trump is the most unqualified person to ever run for the presidency and he beat the most qualified person to ever run for the presidency. He did it with lies and misinformation and continually appealing to emotions...but he also had help from the Russians.

    So as we discuss a path forward, do we really want to revert to the Trump style of campaigning? It won him the election, but he may be impeached before he finishes his four years.

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    Couple things I have to say. That 40% of the electorate who did not vote is closer to 50%. As I pointed out , some 20% of the American electorate are not eligible to vote due mainly to Republican voter suppression efforts. That's alot of voters who have been scrubbed from the rolls and that should be a major concern.

    I read the platforms . I like the Democrat platform , I was very dissapointed in the Hillary Clinton platform .

    The repub platform spend major time attacking and blaming the democrats rather than addressing issues. And it's so much bullshit. Sure how a s their commitment to debt reduction and their blaming it all on democrats. You have to live in alt reality to believe a word of it. The entire document is a boondoggle. It's full of myths. It's full of contradictions. It's plain crazy.

    I am hopeful that the democrats are willing to listen to voters . They include us progressives maybe but delegate us to second string while keeping their neo liberal masters in place.

    As I see it ,the real problem is the new world order debt makers. There is always a couple democrats who refuse to listen to the people. They are called blue dogs and they deny us a seat at the table by being a no vote on the big important issues. They are why the Rethugs win . The Rethugs are united. They can be united against everything it's impossible to be united for anything. Now that they are in the majority they must unite to be for things. Impossible. They are not capable of actually doing anything but destroying and that is what they are doing now.

    They won't address the debt. They will only scream about it when they can blame the Dems.

  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Maindawg and Schmidt. Sorry to keep repeating myself; again if the "structure" and "education" in this country is an not "working" entity, then you can talk forever about "platforms" and "voter turnout".

    Like I said if the "electoral college" and other "antique" things related to voting stay in place, then we will have the same discussion over 4 years. Furthermore if half the population gets lousy education, then this country will be ruled by the "stupid" backwards area's. Like now most of the important posts are held by people from the "stupid' States. Example "Sessions/Alabama, Pence/Indiana, EPA job/Oklahoma, or an "surgeon" who runs HUD etc. Thus holding on to 1800's rules does not benefit this country "brain" wise.