Sunday, January 13, 2019

Purity or Expansion

My opinion? Of course I'll weigh in. 
A fair-minded observer would have to say the Democratic Party picked up some momentum from the 2018 elections. What should Democrats do within their own ranks to best use that momentum?

Should they expand the party by welcoming a variety of opinions and encouraging people to express themselves? Or should Democrats circle the wagons, refine their message to a couple of good catch-phrases and then insist upon messaging loyalty from the top on down the line?

Democrats who want more than anything else to win the next presidential election need to think it over and discuss it. Soon the leaders of the party should be deciding between policies designed to start reshaping the party in just one of two directions:
1. Expand the party by taking in more people, all around its current periphery. Campaign in every district and encourage all anti-Trumpists to hop on the bandwagon. 

2. Force the party to be more uniformly "progressive" by moving to the left on as many issues as feasible. Campaign for big turnouts in targeted states. 
It says here you can't really do both, simultaneously. At least not convincingly.

Here's what planners have to ask themselves: Does moving significantly to the left energize more voters than it turns off? Does going hard left recruit enough new voters to outnumber the old voters it leaves behind?

On Nov. 6, 2018, I was delighted to see Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez win. Since then, watching her confound her detractors has been fun. Now I hope she and other socialist-leaning liberals will be successful in convincing lots of other Democrats to move the party to the left on a number of issues.

Likewise, I hope state legislatures become more liberal. Remember, in Virginia both houses of the General Assembly are up for election on Nov. 5, 2019.

OK, I see the notion of purging so-called “moderates” or “Clintonistas,” from the Democratic Party, as a mistake. Punishing well-meaning people because they won't change fast enough is frequently a mistake.

Meanwhile, some "progressives" have been adamantly defending the sort of rough language they used to complain about Trump using. To them, saying "fuck," on the record -- as have Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Beto O'Rourke recently – should nowadays be heard as evidence of one's "passion."

Passion? Really?

Hey, I'm not the word police, but on this matter I have to call out hypocrisy. Which doesn't help when you're trying to appear to be more credible than your opponents.

For what it's worth, I think the 2020 presidential election will be much more about truth and trustworthiness than it will be about ideology. Therefore, on election day 2020, I think a lot more voters will go for a presidential candidate they believe is most trustworthy. That instead of the one who promises to satisfy their wish list.

Maybe I'm wrong. I hope not.

Summing up, I think Democrats should let their members and representatives follow their ideological hearts and speak honestly about their thinking. If that means there is no one "national message" for the whole party, then fine. They can disagree about some issues, as long as they all agree that honesty in all things and adherence to the rule of law are valued above all else.

Bottom line: In 2020 a righteous agenda will be served by sending a trustworthy Democrat, who listens to advice from wise heads, to the White House to clean up Trump's mess.

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