I have respect for Republicans. They know how to play the game and they are consistently not afraid to get covered in mud in the process. They are unabashedly loyal, and they are thoroughly convinced of their beliefs. It's only all too evident in the recent special election in Georgia's sixth district.
Democrats poured millions of dollars into a district race that has traditionally been held by Republicans for over forty years. An army of volunteers led by Jon Ossoff, a newcomer to the scene, swarmed the district neighborhoods offering change and inspiration.
So what went wrong? Brand loyalty, unwillingness to play the game, and convictions. Ossoff opted to be a blank slate. He aimed to be someone voters of all stripes could impress what they wanted in a leader on to him. This strategy didn't work. Instead, he came off as positionless and bland. He ended up losing the district by around the same margins Hillary did this past November.
I sincerely hope Democrats take a long hard look at what went wrong not only in this district, but what has gone wrong with the party. It's abundantly clear there was no plan in place if Hillary lost. Right now, all we're getting is scattershot ideas of how to win over Republican voters, which obviously doesn't work at all. Whoever thought that would be a good idea should be fired.
The Democratic Party needs a makeover, and here is how you do it. Copy exactly what the Republican Party has been doing for the past 40 years.
- Focus on local and state elections. These races have been woefully ignored by the Democratic party, and now it's coming back to haunt them. This is how you secure districts and STILL manage to hold onto them in spite of the trainwreck that is Trump's presidency.
- Stop expecting Trump to get impeached right now. Democrats wouldn't know patience if it bit them in the butt. Trump won't get impeached today or tomorrow or even next week. IF Trump ever gets impeached, it'll take years to impeach him. If you're not in it for the long haul, than you don't deserve a vote. Change takes a long time. Republicans have been biding there time for eight years now. Look where they are now. They own the presidency, congress, and have firmly entrenched themselves into a large percentage of the nation.
- Stop trying to win over the other side. I can't remember a Republican politician, pundit, or personality who has legitimately tried to have a conversation with liberal voters or politicians in the last ten years at least. They are always talking to their base about liberals. We're the enemy to them. They've been telling their base that every night on the news for the past 15 years. They don't reach out to us. Why in the world are we trying to reach out to them?
- Focus on your base. See point 3. The Republicans have been pandering to their base for decades, while Democrats have floundered on this forever. The Republicans have a head start on this, but see point 2 concerning patience. Democrats need to decide what party we want to be. My vote is screw all of the big money establishment types. That hypocrisy always kills us. We need the outsiders, the minorities, the young people, the poor, and the worker. Focus on them from now until forever.
- Be FUCKING tenacious. Republicans are stubborn as hell. You got to give them respect for that. We must be the same exact way. If we don't get exactly what we want, we tell every media outlet about it. We let everyone know. We make use of double standards. We play into partisanship. We get dirty and play the damn game just like Republicans do every single time. If something is wrong, we halt work until it's corrected. Democrats have been phoning it in every since Obama got elected. (I include myself in this.) This needs to change. Democrats need to stop being wishy-washy.
- You can be hypocrites to Republicans, but you can't be hypocrites when it comes to your base. This is the most important. Don't say you represent some section of the electorate then abandon them like Democrats did for the unions. Don't say you believe in the poor and working class and then summarily pander to big banks and take fat checks from them. All I'm saying is that ideology is everything, and optics can make or break a race (ex. Hillary Clinton). Don't screw over your base. Who cares about anyone else? Do what it takes. Congress is filled to the brim with Republican ideologues, and their base loves it. We need some on our side too.
I do think about Michelle Obama's famous words, "When they go low, we go high." The more I think about it now; the more I realize it's idealist crap. It sounds good, but isn't practical. Republicans have been playing the game for years now, while Democrats have been holding their nose in abject disgust refusing to play. Now, it's coming back to haunt us. Let's change that.