Dear Democratic leadership,
Today an article announced that the leadership of the Democratic Party has laid out their agenda: Win back the House and investigate Trump.
Please, I’m begging you. Listen to me: This agenda will NOT help you win.
If your focus is simply to win, then you will lose. If all you are doing is vying for power for the sake of being in power, people will not flock to the polls to support you.
Just as your 2016 election strategy—ignore battleground states in the general election, focus all of your rhetoric and talking points on bashing Trump and his followers rather than tell people who Clinton is and why we should support her, and offer only empty concern and superficial policies rather than real, substantial solutions to the struggles Americans face—did not bring you an electoral victory in November.
When 20% of American children are living in poverty, your focus should be on helping those families put food on the table and ensure that the utilities stay on, that they have a house to live in, and that there are good jobs that pay a living wage for struggling parents. Focus on these goals, and people will know what you stand for—what you fight for—and the votes will come.
As poverty, foreclosures, and hunger among the nation’s elderly continue to rise and as the GOP works to increase healthcare and drug costs for those 65 and older, fight to make sure that everyone can retire and live out their later years with dignity and security. When you tell everyone you can and whenever you can that you are doing everything you can for America’s aging generation, then people will know that you are on their side, and they will vote for you.
When tens of millions of people are facing the prospect of losing critical healthcare because of skyrocketing costs, put your energy into figuring out how to deliver truly universal coverage in the most cost-efficient way. If Democrats once and for all solve the problem that is the American healthcare system—not just tinker around the edges, which is what Obamacare does—people will take notice and will work to get you elected by getting more people to the polls.
When our schools are fighting for the most basic funding while Republicans are working to funnel money to the communities that need it least and away from those who need it most, you need to be battling every day for every American kid to have access to quality education and the opportunity to build a good life for themselves. If you do this, people will know what it means to be a Democrat and will proudly cast their vote for anyone with a (D) next to their name.
When our young adults are struggling under crushing student loan debt, a stagnant economy that offers very little in good entry-level jobs, and a cultural narrative that continually denigrates them, our Democratic elected officials need to work to relieve the burden of those with prohibitive student loan payments, make college affordable for all, revive the economy by supporting industries set to explode (e.g., renewable energies, technology), and begin changing the way we talk about and to our nation’s emerging leaders. Give the next generation your care, respect, and attention, and they will take heed and throw their energy and support behind you to make you the leading party for at least the next forty years.
But when your #1 issue focus is Russia, something that feels distant and abstract and reeks of Washington political game playing to the millions of Americans struggling to keep a roof over their heads and the utilities on, to feed their families, to get the healthcare they need to survive, to find a good, steady job that pays a living wage, you are not talking to voters.
You are talking to yourselves.
And there’s not enough of you in your narrow echo chamber to win elections.
Democratic leadership: Stop focusing on what YOU want, and start working toward what Americans NEED.
THAT’S how you win.