There is a famous quote, often misattributed to Albert Einstein, which defines insanity as doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results. I don’t know who said that, but there is a lot of truth in it. With that in mind, I have some suggestions for the Democratic party to tweak its approach in order to win back the White House in the next election. By the way, the time to get started on that was the day after the election results in 2016…it’s time to start finding the right candidate and to adjust your message, Democrats!
I’ve been thinking it over and I have come up with five keys that I believe will improve the chances for the Democrats. One thing is for sure, just because Donald Trump’s approval ratings have been dismal, it’s not cause to think the pendulum will swing back to the blue side automatically–that kind of smug overconfidence is what put Trump in the White House in the first place–a fact borne out in the recently revealed fact that Hillary Clinton actually purchased a home next to her house in Chappaqua for the Secret Service to stay in during her presidential vacations…wow, talk about counting your chickens! You can’t afford to assume anything in this day and age.
So, Democrats, here is my 5-point checklist. Take or leave it, as you wish, but I believe it is your best path to follow.
1. Run a candidate who doesn’t come off as an establishment insider.
If Donald Trump has proven anything it’s that it doesn’t take a career politician to win the White House anymore. The Constitution spells out the qualifications for the job–be at least 35 years of age, be a natural born citizen of the U.S., and have established residence in the U.S. for 14 consecutive years before the election–that’s it. That potentially opens the doors to an awful lot of people–look no further than Trump for proof. So, Democrats, will you think outside the box next time? You were really sure that Hillary was the right choice last time and that nobody was ever more qualified to run, based on her experience–that may be true, but how’d that work out for you? What if you chose someone who comes from a different background than your traditional choice? It seems to be in vogue these days.
2. Run a candidate who is from, or who can play well in, a Red state–work the Red states.
This may be the most important of my 5 points. It’s not hard for Democrats to do well in, or even win, the popular election for the presidency. Al Gore did it. Hillary did it. Neither of them got the job, though. Like it or not, the Electoral College is how the game is played and, frankly, Democrats, you stink at that game. You barely try to hide your disdain for the Red states. Perhaps the most heinous mistake Hillary made during her campaign was when she referred to Trump’s supporters as a “basket of deplorables”–that was a cute line and a great sound bite, but that sound bite came back to bite Hillary right where it hurts. The Red states got Trump elected. They are very sensitive to the smug, elitist attitude they sense from the Blue areas of America. They hear every word, they take notes and, more importantly, they vote. You’d be smart, Democrats, to find a candidate who can relate to Red states–someone who understands their sensibilities, knows what makes them tick and scratches their itch–knows what alienates them and ticks them off. That’s the person you need in 2020.
This issue, perhaps above all others, is killing you among people who mix their faith and politics. You might as well face it, people vote on this issue–a lot of people do. Democrats, you need to take back the narrative on abortion. You need to put out a more pro-life message. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t suggest overturning Roe v. Wade, I simply mean you need to soften your message on abortion and kill the idea that being pro-choice is equivalent to being pro-abortion. You and I know, Democrats, that nobody is actually pro-abortion. That’s absurd–abortion stinks–we just know that sometimes it can be the lesser of two awful options and that it is not our choice to make. But try explaining that to those people who label you as baby killers. Why not tweak your platform to encourage other options–sell people on counseling programs. Perhaps even suggest a government program that might provide tax credits for couples who would adopt the children of women who would otherwise choose abortions. If you can convince enough people that you are trying to reduce the number of abortions–rather than have them assume you are doing everything in your power to hand them out like halloween candy (that’s the impression some people have), then you may win some key votes.
4. Loosen up on the gun control talk.
Steal that talking point from the NRA. Face it, you’ve lost that battle anyway, why push it? Gun control is not going to happen in this country–not to the degree some of you would like to see it. Pushing the issue will cost you votes. Cut your losses. If the NRA has nothing more to gripe about, they’ll lose power and you’ll gain some votes.
5. Play to moderate and progressive Christians and get them to the polls.
There is a growing base of Christians who are tired of being forced into Conservative politics. They see many of the planks in the Conservative platform as being counter to the teachings and message of Jesus. Court those people. Many of them didn’t vote in 2016 because they didn’t like either candidate. You have a chance to woo them before 2020. They may hold the biggest key to your potential success. They’re willing to work with you if you follow my advice in points 1 through 4. I’m pretty certain of it.