Sunday, November 13, 2016


What worked most effectively for the Republicans over the last eight years was their determination not to work with the President on any piece of legislation that went against their interests.  They also filibustered key judicial and cabinet appointments, giving Harry Reid no option other than to go "nuclear" to get key positions filled before the 2014 Midterms, after which the Republicans regained the Senate.

The Democrats have to adopt the same policy.  They have to be an opposition party.  There is no reason to work with Trump, much less Congressional Republicans over the next two years.  Their sole aim should be to regain the Senate in 2018 and make Trump a one-term president, assuming he survives that long with all the lawsuits hanging over his head.  If they can, filibuster Trump's pick for the Supreme Court throughout these next two years.  Democrats also have to make damn sure Trump and the Republicans own their mistakes, not try to pass them off on the Obama administration.

We have to be extremely wary of Trump, who will most likely try to play one side off against the other in Congress, as he so effectively did with the media.  He's already signaled he is willing to retain parts of Obamacare, largely because neither he nor the Republicans want to tell 20 million Americans they will no longer get health insurance if they repeal the Affordable Care Act in full.  

At this point, Liz Warren or Bernie Sanders would make a much more effective minority whip for the Senate Democrats than would Dick Durbin or Patty Murray.  Liz and Bernie have a much better sense of the pulse of the nation, and are less likely to score deals with Republicans that will ultimately erode confidence in Democrats to challenge what will be a Conservative oligarchy.  The Republicans once again have control of all branches of government, as they did in 2004.  At the time, the Democrats stood their ground and refused to make Bush's tax cuts permanent.  They have to have that same steely resolve.

More importantly, Democrats have to win back Midwestern states.  Walker, Snyder and Kasich along with their Republican legislatures in Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio have been able to rewrite voting districts and stifle voting rights by herding Democrats into more narrowly defined districts.  In 2012 Democratic Rep. Kucinich found himself running against fellow Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur for the new broader Cleveland-area district.  Kucinich, a 2008 presidential candidate, lost, and the Dems had one less Representative in Congress.  This has to stop, otherwise we can expect the Midwest to stay red, as there will be no effective way to vote Republicans out of office.

This has been the Republican long con ever since Reagan.  They felt the voting districts across the country favored Democrats and set about to rewrite this wrong.  Most persons are oblivious to this until they show up to vote at their realigned voting precincts.  Democrats have to make sure people know what is going on, and that their voice is being underrepresented at the state and national level, which was made painfully obvious once again.

Also central to a new Democratic strategy is to reach out to rural and suburban dwellers, which they all but gave up on during the Obama years.  They wrongly assumed there were enough votes in the urban centers to make up for these large swathes of red, only to find out many of these cities have declining populations.  While the population of Michigan has risen slightly over the last few years, the population of Detroit has dropped precipitously, meaning more of the Michigan vote is now concentrated in rural and suburban areas favorable to Republicans.

Democrats need to make Republicans own their mistakes at the state level as well.  This is what Kathleen Sebilius did in Kansas, winning two terms as governor before being picked to head Pres. Obama's Health and Human Services cabinet.  If a Democrat can take Kansas, he or she can take any state.  

A presidential candidate relies heavily on a governor's campaign team to get the vote out.  This is what helped vault Obama to the presidency in the Midwest in 2008.  He even took Indiana that year, thanks to what was left of a strong Democratic campaign team in that state, even though Mitch Daniels had recently won the governorship.  Obama lost in 2012 because Daniels now had the better campaign outreach, securing the state for Mitt Romney.

It's not like these Republicans have made life better in these states.  In fact just the opposite if we look at Wisconsin, Michigan and Kansas, where severe austerity measures were imposed after the 2008 banking crisis, seeing investment dry up in these states.  Yet, for some absurd reason all three governors were re-elected in 2014.  Obviously, Democrats have to find young, energetic leaders who will offer a better alternative.  

They did this out West.  Catherine Cortez Masto took Harry Reid's hotly contested seat in Nevada over teabagger Joe Heck.  In doing so, she became the first Latina Senator.  Democrats have to offer bold choices, not trot out past political icons like at an Oldchella concert.

The only way for the party to remake itself is to have a dynamic DNC chairman, who isn't going to play elections by the numbers.  The Democrats have to inspire a new generation to vote.  Millennials are theirs for the taking.  Look at how so many young Americans have come out against Trump in the past few days.  But, the DNC can't expect them to be inspired by retreads.

These young voters also expect the Democrats to stand up to Trump, not cower to him like they did George Bush when he shoved the Patriot Act, Homeland Security and the Iraq War down their throat his first term in office.  Few Millennials are accepting Trump as their president and for good reason.  He doesn't speak for them.  That means Democrats have to speak for them as Obama did eight years ago and again Monday night in Philadelphia and Manchester. 

This is your chance, Democrats, don't blow it!


  1. Had to check in to see how you all were doing after the election.

    I must admit, I wasn't surprised by the outcome -- I was a Sanders supporter and even spoke at his rally here -- but that doesn't make it any easier.

    After the primary when I was, needless to say, bitterly disappointed, I read an amazingly prescient book: Thomas Frank's Listen Liberal. Highly recommended.

    Hope you are doing okay! AVRDS

  2. Plan on going with a new blog -- A Survivor's Guide to the United States of Trump ; )