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2020 Democrats


2020 Democrats:  Devising an Alternative To Empire

Jesse Lee

            I spent last weekend at the Washington Plaza Hotel for the inaugural conference of a new organization, 2020 Democrats.  I went in with low expectations, I left not only amazed, but certain that a peaceful and prosperous future was within our reach.  Attendees included foreign policy advisors to Senators, Congressional aides, lobbyists, journalists, active members of the military, waitresses who organized powerful grassroots campaigns, founders of organizations, and a virtual cross-section of powerful liberal Washington non-profits.  The collective influence, intelligence, and potential of the 150 who attended was nothing short of staggering.  The goal was to craft an early draft of a vision for America in 2020, as well as a strategy to make it so.  For all those who think young progressives are not a potent, brilliant bunch mobilizing and organizing to seize control of this nation, or who think that the Republicans have once again out-maneuvered the Democrats and gained control over the next generation- think again.

            The conference began with speeches from some of Washington’s elite.  John Podesta, Clinton’s Chief of Staff and founder of the new liberal think tank the American Majority Institute, reminded us that the current neo-con revolution was begun in a very similar fashion almost 20 years ago.  Donna Brazile, Gore’s 2000 campaign manager and Washington “Diva”, urged us to “bang down the door” every chance we got.  Robert Putnam, the leading thinker on Social Capital and author of Bowling Alone, demonstrated powerfully and convincingly that America’s political malaise bears a direct connection to the deterioration of America’s social fabric, something that we all kept in mind throughout. 

            We broke into policy groups ranging from Healthcare to Education to Foreign Policy, where participants could work together in their area of expertise, and find consensus on a definite set of principles, objectives, and policies.  I have heard presentations from all of the groups, and without exception the final product was both inspiring and breath-takingly sensible and realistic.  This is what America would look like if it were truly a nation of, for, and by the people. 

            A full draft of all of the groups’ platforms is being finalized as I write, and will be available at the moment it is finished.  Rarely is so much progress and innovation accomplished in so little time, and the process is only beginning.  Soon, any time a Republican claims that the Democrats can offer no alternative to their long-term plan of world-wide military domination and “drowning [the government] in a bathtub”, the answer will be short and sweet:  Howard Dean and John Kerry have already submitted their visions, and one of our goals will be to solicit visions from powerful progressive organizations and individuals so there can be no doubt that progressives are not only looking towards the future, but doing so in a way that will make citizens actually want to vote again.  The free people of this nation will once again be able to take pride in the fact that their nation is leading the world in accordance with the highest of human principles, not the highest corporate profit margin. 

            If this idea appeals to you, the discussion is still very much ongoing, and you may join us by submitting your vision at the website above.  If you do not want to join, keep an eye out for us over the coming years, because we will be looking for you to help us take the country back for the people.  It is time to start dreaming again, and time to take action.


Jesse Lee’s Vision (submitted for entry to the conference):

A Vision For America, Year 2020

 Jesse Lee lives in Washington, D.C. and is a regular columnist for opednews.  He is also a founding contributor to the platform of 2020 Democrats.  He encourages comments at This article is copyright by Jesse Lee and  originally published by but permission is granted for reprint in print, email, blog, or web media so long as this credit is attached.


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