Monday, November 14, 2016

Just Sketching Direction for National Democrats

Rep. Keith Ellison
I don't have any solid answers for where Democrats should go next in 2018 or 2020, but I think I have a few pretty good ideas and can sketch out a road map of what might make the party more successful against Donald Trump.

First of all, as the Democratic National Committee, I would name a Chair who gets it.  Donna Brazille is a great operative, and she has performed about as well as she could after being undercut by the Wikileaks scandal.  There are two choices I would support.

The first candidate is Howard Dean.  Dean burst on the scene in 2004 and showed everyone what a powerful organizing and fundraising tool the
internet could be.  His star burned out before the primary season warmed up, but he went on to become the soul of the party in some ways.  Dean became DNC Chair in 2005.  He engineered the party's comeback seeing the Democrats take control of both the House and the Senate in 2006.  His "50-state strategy" caught fire in 2008 when it met the Obama campaign.

Howard Dean
Barack Obama became a transformational candidate by expanding the electoral map for Democrats and pushing through some reforms some had only dreamed about.  Briefly, Democrats held 60 seats in the Senate, caucus-wise.  Dean left in 2009.  Much of the progress reached during his tenure has now been turned back with Republicans controlling both Houses of Congress and the Presidency.

If Dean could get lightning to strike twice, he might be able to put Congress back in Democratic hands if Trump remains an unpopular executive.  2018 is that first opportunity to send a message.

Keith Ellison could also be a great DNC Chair.  First of all, the Congressman is endorsed by Bernie Sanders.  Ellison would likely take the party in probably a more progressive direction than Dean.  As both an African-American and a Muslim-American, Ellison would continue to show the Democratic Party's commitment to diversity and our idea of one big tent.  He would provide a new voice and a new direction, and he's picked up the endorsement of outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

After the direction of the party is settled with a new chair, I wouldn't have Democratic candidates beginning their campaigns in Iowa or New Hampshire.  There will be time for that.  Democrats need to go to West Virginia or Ohio or Wisconsin or Pennsylvania and find out why Trump was so successful with the so-called Reagan Democrats.  As a party, we have to bring working-class people back into the Democratic Party.  Our values more closely match their values than Donald Trump's do.

At the same time, Democrats must continue to defend women and minorities and others from those that would tear them down.  We can never forget the big picture.

At the end of he day, we need to look, I believe, towards the center of the party to candidates that can do well in the rust belt and in rural areas before we can ever seriously get this train back on track. Either that or get candidate that all Democrats and even more than a few Republicans can rally around.

Democrats, your voices are needed now more than ever.  Keep on talking! The race for 2018 and 2020 will begin before you even know it.

2 comments:

IndyDem said...

I like both Dean ( I was a Dean-iac) and Ellison. Both would do great jobs, but why not have both. Also, Keith is a member of the LGBT Equality Congressional Caucus too.

kris said...

I think after the reelection of Pelosi to be Minority Leader, it's clear the Dems haven't learned anything. And to put Dean (whom I also supported in 2004) or Ellison at the DNC won't fix what ails the Dems.

It's clear from the Presidential election that people were looking for an outsider. Or at least an insider that doesn't have a bunch of baggage.

I also think that this shouldn't be over thought. I supported Hillary but there was a sense of every minute part of the campaign being calculated, measured, and polled, and mulled over. The rules have changed, and that's what we need with Democratic leadership.