Now that the shock of the past presidential election has worn off and some surviving Democrats in Congress are even pursuing deals with President Trump, I can think of a number of reasons why the Democrats lost the election in November. For one, a major party should look carefully at their candidate, particularly when that candidate is disliked by far more Americans than like her or him.
For another, it isn’t enough to run against the Republican candidate. Issues matter more than personality. John Kerry showed us how effective that was, and Hillary Clinton has reinforced this truism. Finally, it’s a good idea for the party to start looking for a new generation in order to pass the torch of leadership.
Toward that end, who are the up-and-coming Democrats out there? As governors go, Andrew Cuomo of New York, John Hickenlooper of Colorado and Steve Bullock of Montana are three possible candidates. There are other governors out there, but these three should be considered.
From the Senate, the Dems can find Kamala Harris from California. She’s been making a name for herself. Al Franken of Minnesota should also be considered as a viable candidate. Corey Booker of New Jersey would be a good candidate. And from the House, Joseph Kennedy III has instant name recognition, but he also has some gravitas as a politician.
Of course, Texas’ own Joaquin Castro is a favorite son, as would El Paso’s Beto O’Rourke should he upset Ted Cruz in his 2018 Senate race.
More than likely, Democrats will nominate someone that no one has presently heard of, similar to the 1992 campaign when Bill Clinton managed to pull off the win. When Clinton ran that race, he had ideas that he presented, ideas that were fresh and interesting. It resulted in his unseating a sitting president.
Whoever Democrats nominate in 2020, it won’t be enough to simply go after Donald Trump. The Dems need ideas. I propose the following be raised:
- Improve and expand Obamacare.
- As we have seen over the past year, people have suddenly realized that it’s better than nothing but that it really needs to be tweaked and improved. Consider all options to make it better and, should the need arise, replace it with something entirely better.
- Re-examine the War on Poverty
- . It’s been 60 years since passage of the Great Society legislation and poverty is higher now than then. Why is that? Are the programs no longer working? Are they working but need improving? Pledge to form a blue-ribbon panel to investigate and come up with new or better ideas, then enact them within the first term.
- Consider scrapping the war on drugs.
- Attitudes are changing on marijuana; maybe it’s time to rethink the way we’ve been trying to deal with drug abuse in America.
- Rethink the way we do law enforcement.
- A sizeable number of our society do not view the local police as their friend. Police seem in fear of their lives. What can we do to improve law enforcement across the nation so that people don’t feel threatened, so that police feel supported and so that crime truly is deterred?
- Heed President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s warning about the military-industrial complex.
- How can we better arm our forces and provide for our servicemen without bankrupting the country and blowing up the national debt? Streamline the Pentagon and encourage cooperation between all branches of the military. I understand they have rivalries with one another. The problem is that the military is not college football; it’s the common defense of this nation. We need to make the best military even better.
- Declare the middle class an endangered species.
- Make laws that seek to preserve and increase this dwindling group of folks. Find ways to address the rising costs of education, health care and living while salaries and income remain stagnant. It’s time to address the problem of the rich getting richer and the poor paying the price.
There are other things to look at, but these should be on any list. As we learned from the last election, candidates don’t have to be specific on what they will do or how they will do it. Just a broad promise to examine and address these issues. One word of warning, though: Have an idea of what you want to do and how you want to get there.
One last thing. If Democrats should win back the White House in 2020, I really hope the new president will genuinely reach across the aisle and truly seek to begin the healing in our nation. Remind the congressional leadership that they’re even less popular than lawyers right now and will continue to be till they begin passing serious legislation.
And the only way that’s going to happen is if both parties work together with a real interest in passing bills the president can and will sign. In that context, maybe the Democrats learned something this week.