November 8, 2017
Much has been made of the victory of the Democratic Party in Virginia and the impact of the message it sends to Republicans and President Trump. The real story of the election returns both in Virginia and elsewhere, however, is the rise of women to positions of governmental responsibility and leadership. This could be the beginning of the Year of the Woman in American politics.
In Virginia 12 of the 16 seats that flipped Democratic in the House of Delegates were won by women. In my home state of Massachusetts two women who were first-time candidates won elections for mayor, one over a guy who said that his opponent was a stay at home mom while he had a full time job. Talk about a huge sexist miscalculation.
But besides the victories of women, there is mounting evidence that the ol’ boys club of politics may be facing more and more female challengers. Organizations such as Emily’s List and She Should Run are reporting that there are thousands of women who have expressed an interest in running for political office. With the victories in the Virginia election, the number of women seeking to enter the governmental fray will likely increase even more.
This burst of female political energy was bound to happen not just because of recent sexual harassment charges, but also because women have had enough of men making public policy decisions on equal pay, contraception, workplace advancement and health care. Male office holders running for re-election against a woman in 2018 should be very scared. What’s that old saying about ” Hell hast no fury, then a woman scorned.” Hillary will not be the first female president of our country but her legacy may be encouraging the sisterhood to take up the fight for woman power.
Now before this analysis of women in politics gets out of hand, men still dominate the governing landscape and turning the tables on generations of male control is not going to happen with one election cycle. The ol’ boys will still be around suggesting that these female entrants to politics are novices who aren’t ready for “prime time.” But what the ol’ boys don’t understand is that they may be up against a political movement that will be difficult to stop. The Tea Party was a movement, Trumpism was a movement and now Women Rule may just be the new movement destined to shape our politics and the direction of our country. Women got the right to vote in 1920; 2018 and beyond may be the time for women to get governing power.
July 9, 2017
It is no secret that the Democratic Party is lost in the woods and desperate to find a way out. Losing the special elections in Kansas, Montana and Georgia showed clearly that voters are not willing to get on the Democratic bandwagon, despite their disappointment and disillusionment with President Trump and the Congressional Republicans.
It is clear that there is a massive fissure in place between establishment Democrats and the so-called Progressive wing of the party on how to win elections and perhaps capture the House and Senate in 2018. This fissure makes victory in the mid-term elections a pipe dream.
So what to do? Finding the right strategy is no easy walk in the park as Democrats analyze what went wrong in the presidential election and in the special elections. But for what its worth here are my suggestions on how Democratic Party candidates for election in 2018 and in the presidential election should present themselves and their policy prescriptions to the American electorate.
- Go to church on Sunday. Enough of this embrace of secularism as the religion of tomorrow. Voters in the heartland still go to church and prefer candidates who at least appear to be religious. Democratic candidates need not be fire and brimstone churchgoers but they can at least get up on Sunday and be seen with the congregation.
- Stop the love affair with Hollywood. The movie, music and media billionaires will still give their money to liberal causes, but why go out of the way to be linked with pop stars who are seen by many voters as morally corrupt. Better to be seen with girl scouts and boy scouts than Katy Perry.
- Listen to seniors and play to their interests and concerns. Sure the youth movement is the future of the party, but young people are unreliable voters, where seniors drag themselves out of their homes to cast their ballot. Medicare, Social Security, retirement income and taxes should be at the forefront of a Democratic campaign strategy.
- Talk to voters not talk down to voters. Voters in 2016 said that they perceive the Democrats as elitist snobs who have all the answers and want to convert the masses to their point of view. That tactic is a dead end street and designed to bring on defeat. Democratic candidates need to spend time talking to Mr. and Mrs. America on Main Street not the high rollers in the suburbs.
- Finally recruit candidates who have a military career, own a business, work with their hands, show a net worth of six figures, not seven or eight figures, have a solid marriage, and most of all can tell a life story of lifting themselves up because of hard work and dedication to the community they live in.
Of course my strategy suggestions are just as difficult to implement as any put forward by Party leaders and Progressive agents of change. But they are rather simple and straight forward and most of all speak to all those voters who rejected the Party in 2016 and maybe in 2018. Maybe the answer for a Democratic revival is simple and not complicated, just a willingness to listen to all the people, not just a selected few.