Do you remember the rousing speech that Democrats gave last week? Or the hugely successful Democratic fundraiser from earlier, which gave voice to the disadvantaged? No, it’s not just you – I don’t recall either. Most of the communication I have seen from the Democratic party is either the occasional sound bite from ranking leadership or one of an endless barrage of emails pleading for monetary contributions to the party.
Meanwhile, small fractured groups are forming all over the country, in an attempt to fight both the continuous stream of nonsense coming from the White House and the Republican efforts to implement their agenda using the White House noise as cover. These groups are predominately made of new-comers and those disenchanted with the results of the last election (i.e. Bernie supporters). They have the drive, determination and local connections to effect change, but lack coordination and resources to do much outside of their immediate communities.
And reaching outside of local communities is what I think will be required to make a difference. Many of Trump’s supporters have legitimate grievances – they have truly been abandoned by the actions of both parties over the past several years, and can’t be blamed for looking for someone outside the traditional political system to “shake things up”. It’s not solely their fault if the person they chose to address systemic job loss, opioid addiction and general economic decline in rural areas happened to be an accomplished confidence artist. And the party needs a way to reach out to these American’s, while providing them a welcoming way to help solve their problems.
So a party transformation is called for, to change the public face of the party and its control structure. What if the core Democratic party focused on their core strengths – fundraising and messaging – and also provided a framework that the smaller groups could utilize to coordinate their efforts? This change would take the party from a group that advocates “for” the Americans to one that is comprised “of” the Americans it supports.
A change in how these groups are included may go a long way to enhance the Democratic party. Since the election, there are four main groups that have risen up since the election:
– Women’s Rights
– Inner Cities
Inclusion of these groups formally within the party seems natural. I also suggest that a fifth group, representing “job rights”, be added, focusing not only on the decline of employment in rural communities, but also the lack of jobs in inner cities as well. Perhaps the solutions for one area would work for another as well.
The party would also need a new name. I propose “Revolution Democrats”, to represent a new kind of democrat, which includes both the traditional liberal and social justice issues the party has traditionally stood for, but also to include more of what people what from their government, represented by these five main groups. After all, the point of a political party is not to impose their policies on America, but offer solutions that reflect the issues that affect everyday Americans.
Once these new groups are added, the challenge for the current Democratic leadership is to step back and allow the newly-emboldened groups to flourish with their help. Offer the tools and know-how to allow these group to grow and prosper – call it the “Community Action Framework”. This will get everyday Americans back into the political scene, which will reinvigorate the republican democracy we all depend on, and even provide recruitment for the next generation of leaders for the party.
In return, the new groups will have to join to together and adopt a platform that addresses the identified issues and appeals to the common interests of most Americans. They will create meaningful goals, provide status updates, and pursue policies at the state and local level that benefit the majority of Americans. Progress can be measured by the democratic leadership, and successes highlighted at the national level as examples for a party that is dedicated to listening to the issues that concern everyday American’s and taking steps to solve those issues, even outside the traditional Washington power structure.
The Democratic party needs to adapt to the current post-election political landscape. A central party is still needed to prevent fracturing of the effort to hold off the agenda of the current administration, but needs to change it’s makeup and hierarchy to reflect the current issues – immigration, jobs, women’s right, inner cities, and science. By providing a working framework, I think we could craft a party that addresses the current issues, and maybe even instill something that’s been missing recently.
– What would the “Community Action Framework” look like?
– What are concrete steps that can be taken to address the needs of these groups in the here and now?