After spending last weekend in Washington D.C. to participate in the National Equality and Pride March, I’ve been thinking about what the Democratic Party needs to do if they want to take back the U.S. Congress in 2018 (a tall order with the way most districts have been drawn) and the White House in 2020.
Recently, John Aravois wrote an article, Yes, Virginia, corporate America played an important role in the LGBT rights revolution, in Americablog that got me to thinking about what might need to happen to make those gains in Congress a reality. His article starts with him sharing what he learned from working with the Late Senator Ted Kennedy. While the article is focused on the relationship between corporate America and LGBT rights, he makes a point that also applies to what Democrats need to do if they want to take back the US Congress in 2018 when he wrote,
“Being successful in politics, and getting what you want in both policy and legislation, is about knowing what levers to push.”
Aravois was referring to what Senator Kennedy did in Congress to get votes for key legislation, but the idea has merit when it comes to rebuilding bridges where the party lost ground in the 2016 Presidential election (e.g. Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin – to name but a few) and to help accelerate change in states that were once deep red but now are slowly turning purple (e.g. North Carolina and Georgia).
One of those “levers” we need to start pushing is having the Democratic Party field more Gen X, Y and Millennials candidates. Another lever we need to pull (or maybe stop pulling) is this idea that the Democratic Party consists of Clinton supporters on one side and Sanders / Warren progressives on the other side. The fact is both those constituencies came together for the most part when and where they needed to in the 2016. It didn’t really matter though because those crucial yet fickle Independents who traditionally lean Democrat didn’t turn out so we need to make those people feel like they have a seat at the table if we expect them to turn up on election day.
My two cents