[Bungling Democrats are suffering the same disease that has gripped UK Labour]
Hey Democrats, it’s the winning, stupid!
To beat Trump, the party should not be running to the furthest reaches of the left
The writer is a political strategist who worked on Bill Clinton’s victorious 1992 presidential campaign
Political parties do not exist for factions to gain power over them and lose elections so long as the faction maintains its grip. They exist to win elections. Without power, they are nothing.
In 2016, Senator Bernie Sanders told the House Democratic caucus: “The goal isn’t to win elections.” Maybe the stakes involved with Donald Trump weren’t crystal clear then, but by God they should be now. Winning this election is all that matters — and the way to do it is not running some rat race to the furthest reaches of leftwing zombie land.
Never in my life have I seen the Democratic party suffer a case of political amnesia this bad. A little over a year ago, the party stormed the House of Representatives in the midterm elections with the largest winning margin ever.
And how did we do it? By running a diverse coalition of candidates — young, black, brown, women, gay, straight — with one basic message: while the president gets things done only for himself, we are going to get real things done for you. While the president targets your protections for pre-existing medical conditions, we are going to lower the cost of prescription drugs. While he marches to the orders of the National Rifle Association, we are going to protect your child’s life. We care about climate, infrastructure and broadband — it goes on.
Our margins with suburban women shot into the stratosphere. We elected Democratic governors in Michigan and Wisconsin. But barely had the dust settled than Democratic candidates for president started ripping that playbook apart, competing to see who could promise to spend the most on healthcare, or who was most brazenly outspoken on letting criminals vote from jail.
In what universe are those policies going to give us the numbers we need to defeat Mr Trump? Why are we not running a candidate who is building on the playbook that won us the previous election?
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