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10 Action Items for Democrats

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Bob Burnett       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   1 comment

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The 2020 presidential campaign began on November 7th, the day after the midterm elections; many Democrats are prepared to work every day for the next two years in order to oust Donald Trump from the White House. For this prolonged effort to be effective, national Democratic leaders should heed these words of friendly advice.

1.Develop a 50-state strategy: In 2016, the national Democratic leadership abandoned whole swaths of the U.S. and focused primarily on the coasts and the rust belt. In 2018, the Party began to move away from this model and, as a result, fielded competitive candidates in -- what had been regarded as -- deep red states such as Georgia and Texas. (Although a lot of support from candidates like Stacey Abrams and Beto O'Rourke came from organizations outside the traditional Democratic framework -- such as Way to Win (https://waytowin.us/ )).

In 2020, Democrats must compete in every state at all levels.

2.Learn from 2018. There are valuable lessons to be learned from the 2018 elections; the national Democratic leadership should spend the time and money to study what worked and what did not work. For example, Montana Senator John Tester was Trump's number one target; yet Tester won by 3 percentage points in a red state. How did Tester accomplish this when other red-state Democratic Senators got stomped?

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As another example, in Ohio. incumbent Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown won by more than 6 percent while Democratic gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray lost by 4 percent -- competing for an open seat. Why the discrepancy?

Each state has races that deserve a detailed study. For example, in California where Dems captured 46 of 53 congressional seats, two dreadful Republican incumbents won: Devin Nunes (CA 22) and Duncan Hunter (CA 50). Why?

3.Deal with voter suppression. In several states, notably Georgia, voter suppression was a major problem for Democratic candidates. (Democrat Stacey Abrams lost the Georgia gubernatorial race by 55,000 votes and there's reason to believe that several hundred thousand votes were suppressed by Republicans.)

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As part of their 50-state strategy, Democrats need to assess the voter suppression problem on a state-by-state basis and start working to combat this. For example, on November 27th, the Georgia "Fair Fight" PAC. "filed a federal lawsuit against Georgia election officials asking a judge to order fixes to what it says are deep-seated problems in the state's election system.(https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2018/11/27/stacey-abrams-fair-fight-action-georgia-election-lawsuit-brian-kemp/2128540002/ )

4.Convince their (unelected) "stars" to run again. Several charismatic candidates, such as Stacey Abrams and Beto O'Rourke narrowly lost in 2018. National Democratic leadership should convince them to run again: Abrams for Georgia Senate versus Republican incumbent David Perdue and O'Rourke for Texas Senate versus incumbent John Cornyn.

The demographic tide is running in a direction that favors Democrats. Candidates such as Abrams and O'Rourke can win if they start their campaigns now, by registering new voters and dealing with voter-suppression issues.

5.Recruit exciting candidates. This was a change election and one of the primary changes was the election of many women and people-of-color. This trend must continue. The Democratic Party needs to look like America.

National Democratic leadership needs to embrace diversity.

6.Expand the use of ballot initiatives. In 2018, one of the many reasons that Democrats prevailed was their intelligent use of state ballot initiatives, For example, in Michigan, a state where Democrats retained a Senate seat (Stabenow) and added a governor (Whitmer) Dems boosted their turnout with three initiatives: legalizing marijuana for recreational use, creating an independent redistricting commission, and adding additional voting policies to the state constitution -- including automatic voter registration. These ballot initiatives furthered Democratic objectives and increased voter participation. (The statewide turnout was 57.5 percent, the highest midterm-election participation in more than 50 years.)

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7.Develop a rural strategy. A recent Alternet article (https://www.alternet.org/its-official-first-time-history-gop-has-become-party-rural-white-voters?src=newsletter1098031 ) declared: "If there was one demographic group that blunted the force of the 'blue wave' in this month's midterm elections, it was rural white voters." The CNN exit polls indicate that 56 percent of rural voters favored Republicans (versus an even 49-49 percent split in the suburbs and only 32 percent in suburban areas).

Alternet notes: "As the suburbs have turned against the Republican Party of President Donald Trump, rural whites have embraced the Party's new message of economic protectionism, immigration restrictions, and an 'America First' foreign policy." [emphasis added]

There's a way for Democrats to sway some rural voters: convince them that Donald Trump's economic policies are not working. In other words, change them frame of the discussion from ideological to practical: "Donald Trump has deceased your income and opportunity."

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Bob Burnett is a Berkeley writer. In a previous life he was one of the executive founders of Cisco Systems.

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molly cruz

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I think it's time for the race to involve a developed cabinet, and a new approach, to run AS A TEAM. The day of political divas is fading I hope. The manner in which politics has melded with entertainment puts the nominee in the arguably poisonous position of movie star, with all the attendant snooping, an expose that would send any reasonable person running in the opposite direction. Consequently only self promoters with nothing to lose would find the occupation attractive. Tempting the facts to keep up with the fiction that Washington has become another challenge. Everyone's buying into Hollywood's approach to reality.


The setup is corrupt.Politics is actually a dreary job, fraught with self-selling and fund raising,rather than nation managing. Clearly size matters with social operations of any kind. It's Governors who need more power, and a more strictly designed and limited function for the President: Interface with the World at large.


The money too needs to stay in the states. Most are the size of nations anyway, and by now can handle their inner operations. Tying them to conform to the lesser standards in Washington is absurd. The Federal Congress proved itself to be entirely dispensable while Obama presided. They did nothing and we survived, proving them worthless, a bunch of drama queens.

Let's take the drama out of politics and down to caring for our people.

Submitted on Sunday, Dec 2, 2018 at 3:10:56 PM

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