Some of us saw it coming for a while, but for others it hit them on Election Day. The Democratic Party is finally at the crossroads of its identity. Will it go down the road of making identity politics (those regarding equal and civil rights) the cornerstone of its platform, or will it make a shift back to its working-class roots, which will attract more white voters.
Down one road, we have issues such as civil rights, gay rights, reproductive rights, and a host of other issues that are social in nature. The other road goes back to making unions strong, opposing trade deals that are deemed unfair, and bringing back jobs that have been sent overseas. These are the two messages that are at the center of the battle for the DNC. And for those who say we can do both…well, you really can’t. If one increases, the other decreases. That is just common sense.
However, was the message the problem, or was it the messenger?
Right now, Democrats are putting the cart before the horse. We are talking about the messages that we think work or do not work. But what if our message was fine? What if it was the messenger that was the problem. As of now, Democrats are not conducting a proper post-mortem. The first question that needs to be asked is if the candidacy of Hillary Clinton was the problem. Remember, the Clinton campaign still has a 1.7 million vote lead over Donald Trump. Would that lead have been doubled or tripled if, let’s say, Joe Biden was the Democratic nominee?
This is an important time for Democrats…and we first need to evaluate Clinton’s impact on the electorate. If Democrats rush to judgement regarding the election outcome, then we might take a winning strategy and turn it into a losing one because we did not conduct a proper post-mortem. Maybe the message of multiculturalism, female empowerment, and equality for all IS a winning message. But we don’t know yet. Why? Because Democrats are looking in the wrong place.
Let’s put it in another way…what if we went to the working-class message yet still had Hillary Clinton as the nominee in 2020. Would we win? I think you know the answer. Therefore, it might not be the message.
And, remember, I am a Bernie Sanders supporter. I am all for getting the Clinton’s out of the party. But we also need to make sure that we are creating a winning strategy first.