Will this be a long march for the Democrats?
- Change, no matter how uncertain and perilous, might lead to more authentic and desirable transformations
- A kind of pruning and restoration are needed so that a more reinvigorated, authentic, and appealing Democratic Party would emerge
- As to the Democratic Party, it needs to gradually evolve into a labor movement that effectively addresses the deep concerns of the working class
Now that Trump won the presidency and is working on forming his cabinet, the Democratic Party and political pundits are trying to figure out what went wrong and how to fix this major glitch before the next election cycle.
One of the reasons some voters preferred Trump, the voice of change, over Clinton, the voice of status quo, is that change, no matter how uncertain and perilous, might lead to more authentic and desirable transformations. This might sound paradoxical, but has some truth in it.
Most Democrats are rightfully shocked by Trump’s election and have a hard time believing that his election would launch a dynamic process leading to the emergence of a more genuine Democratic Party.
However implausible this might sound, the Democratic Party should experience a revival, some sort of a rehabilitation and reorientation. It should represent the working class and, yes, the middle class. Although social and cultural issues are important, so far they haven’t helped Democrats, not in Congress, and definitely not in the presidency. It seems that they are not the primary concerns of this critical mass.
Therefore, the Democratic Party should gradually evolve into a labor movement consisting of tens of millions of working class and middle class voters. Although the terms middle class and working class can be used interchangeably, the low-income population is part of the working class and is yearning to climb the first few rungs of the upward socioeconomic ladder and mobility.
Some political commentators, including this writer, argued that the other Democratic contender Bernie Sanders would have been a more effective candidate and might have won the presidential election. The reason is that Trump galvanized his support base and went all the way to Election Day, while Sanders’ followers were pushed back and got frustrated by the nomination process.
It was kind of Bernie Sanders, Interrupted … They did not feel validated and were basically muzzled.
It is clear that many of Trump’s supporters wanted a revolution without a revolution, a kind of coffee without caffeine, a zero calorie soda, etc.
It is still too early to predict and evaluate what sort of socioeconomic and cultural changes a Trump presidency would bring.
Trump’s election represents an opportune moment for the Democratic Party to start a political and philosophical introspection and a soul searching journey that should not only be based on electoral strategies and short-term coalition-building.
A kind of pruning and restoration are needed so that a more reinvigorated, authentic, and appealing Democratic Party would emerge that would undoubtedly attract more middle class and working class voters.
I did not vote for either candidate. It was a protest vote. I voted for the state propositions and ballots.
However, it is the way that Trump rallied and intoxicated his supporters that was revolting and alarming. The sad part is that he got away with the toxicity and falsehood he spewed, as he predicted, and was rewarded with the presidency.
It is unfortunate that sometimes, in this gracious, beautiful, and bountiful country, this kind of despicable behavior is collectively approved and hailed.
Hillary Clinton is a liar, but Trump’s lies were more consequential and malicious. His racist remarks, indiscriminate bullying, outrageous distortions, unrivaled megalomania, etc. have contributed to the expansion and deepening of his popular base.
The Democratic Party is in crisis, both in terms of its leadership and constituents. There are reports that Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) has put his name forward as a candidate for chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
Although Mr. Ellison seems passionate about addressing the Democratic Party’s core issues and might energize and inspire a large crowd, some political commentators are supporting his candidacy for the wrong reason. One said that he is a Muslim and Muslims are part of the Democratic coalition. Let’s not forget that Trump insulted Muslims and still got elected. Muslim voters did not have a significant impact on the outcome of the election. Actually, many Muslims espouse conservative values. A Christian commentator even said that Evangelicals have more in common with Muslims than progressives and liberals.
What I am trying to say is that Democrats are making the same erroneous calculations which put them in this precarious situation in the first place. Cultural issues and minority politics/rights might sound honorable but they are hurting the Democratic Party.
Unfortunately, the Republican Party has defined itself as the “anti” party, vehemently opposed to some fundamental issues and minority groups. The Democratic Party, on the other hand, is trying to include everyone except large segments of white voters.
Both parties blame national challenges on scarecrows and scapegoats, real or imaginary, without addressing the structural deficiencies at the heart of the political system that creates or amplifies those self-inflicted wounds.
Fundamental problems that give rise to frustration among members of a society require dialogue and compromise. So far both parties have failed to do so. Although American democracy is 240 years old, it has not reached the level of maturity that necessitates such a dialogue and compromise.
At least not yet.
As to the Democratic Party, it needs to gradually evolve into a labor movement that effectively addresses the deep concerns of the working class and choose a leader who is going to energize its constituents and beyond, not because he/she is from a minority group but because he/she is the right person.
And finally, as a German poet once said: “Under the sky chaos reigns. It is an excellent situation [opportunity].”
Indeed this is a clarion call for Democrats to act now…