The Way Forward

As we enter February, the shortest month of the year, I figured it would be a good day to try and get back into this writing thing. So my plan this month will be to write something daily about whatever strikes me as important, and with all the craziness in our world right now, I don’t anticipate running short of topics, but expect me to touch on a variety of things that aren’t all about what is happening in Washington, DC.

Election Day seems like a lifetime ago, but it was only less than four months ago. Even Inauguration Day seems like it happened in another year, let alone 12 days ago. Every day, millions of gallons of digital ink are spilled trying to keep up with the latest crazy thing that the new President has done. I may reflect directly on some of things in the coming weeks, but I’m not a super policy wonk or really tied into the inner workings of government to really give you a different perspective than you can get from some of those experts.

I want to use this first piece to tackle something that I pop up on Facebook this morning. A friend of a friend questioned why Hillary Clinton wasn’t out front leading the charge against Trump as the Voice of the Democrats. My friend made some very salient points that I agree with, though I’m not going to replicate them here. But the main gist is that it is time to move on from Clinton-era Democrats and find some new blood. This is something that I agree with wholeheartedly, and I think some of the more vocal leaders of the current Democratic Party — Senator Elizabeth Warren is but one example — are great people to lead the fight right now. But as much as I like Senator Warren, I don’t think she is the answer for Democrats in 2020. And I also don’t think that we know right now who that answer might be. I have my favorites, and maybe I’ll share them a bit later, but the progressive movement in this country should not be led into the future by a certain Independent Senator from Vermont. Leadership needs to come from elsewhere.

It might be time to find someone that was born in the 1970s — and not someone in their 70s, to become that progressive voice for a new generation. One of the things that led to President Obama winning two elections is the participation of the “Millennials.” (I really hate that term, by the way) His election was the first that many people born in the late 1980s — and early in 1990 — were able to vote and their passion was hard to miss. They chose him, a relative newcomer on the national scene, over the establishment candidate. His message of Hope and Change resonated in a way that the staid politics of a different generation did not. Returning to those same staid politics in a country even more aligned along party lines in 2016 was the worst thing that could have happened, and it could ultimately lead to the downfall of our democracy as we know it. But that might be a topic for another day…

We need that passion back, and we need it back soon. The 2018 mid-term elections are already viewed as a lost cause by some on the Left, and many are already looking ahead to 2020. Hoping that POTUS will do something so heinous to get impeached seems to be a pipe dream of the highest order, especially with a Congress that seems more concerned with pushing through their agendas than actually caring about the future of our country. That’s their prerogative, of course, but we need to be more engaged as citizens and hold these people accountable.

As much as people hate the sound of it, and everyone wants to keep re-litigating the election, it’s time to move on. Sure, you can keep pushing back at President Trump’s policies, appointments, and executive orders and against legislatures at all levels that aren’t meeting your ideals as constituents. But start preparing for the next important electoral benchmark in this country. Protests and letter writing campaigns won’t get the job done; identifying quality candidates to primary those currently in power and showing up to vote in 2018 does.*

*This doesn’t even touch on the problems with gerrymandering and the shift of power at the local and state levels, which is something I plan on writing about later this month.

I know that this is kind of a blanket statement without a concrete “call to action.” All I know, however, is that if we keep worrying about the results of the past election, we won’t be able to stop the Next Trump from winning. We can’t keep waiting for the demographics to shift in our favor and ignore all those “red states” and hope for a rebuilding of the “blue wall” to lock up future elections. Look forward, but remember the lessons of 2015–2016. Otherwise, the Democratic Party will go the way of the Whigs and all those other parties that lost their identities and faded into the annals of history.

Until next time…

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