Frustrated by the outcome of the 2004 election, I wrote the following in January of 2005, in part as a cathartic exercise. To avoid the benefit of hindsight, not a word has been changed since it was written.
Unwavering adherence to and advancement of progressive Democratic ideals is key! Becoming more like the current Republican Party is not an option!
1) This means taking ownership of, and relentlessly expressing and advancing, the following “moral values”, which include:
Love, tolerance, spirituality, humanitarianism, honesty, respect, justice, inclusion, hope, imagination, wonder, individual rights, kindness, thoughtfulness, principle, idealism, pragmatism, strength of conviction tempered by a willingness to compromise, sense of community, sense of responsibility, environmental stewardship, economic fairness, equality, honor, open-mindedness, enlightenment.
The remainder follows below. My apologies for some of the dated references, but the sentiment is the same. And get out there and vote today, people, and help others get to the polls, too. Take our country back, indeed.
I truly believe that the Right shot their wad in this election with their Kool-Aid drinking base. Their numbers have reached a plateau. However, they are motivated, organized, and well funded. Do not underestimate their determination and single-mindedness.
2) Bill Clinton was right. The phrase, “all politics is local”, is a myth. The Democratic Party has missed the boat by not putting congressional elections in a national context. Like it or not, the 1994 Republican “Contract With America” did just that. Never mind that their top priority was hilariously called “The Fiscal Responsibility Act”.
3) At a minimum, expand the electoral base to the following states; we need more viable options. It is doable, so make the attempt. Start organizing now.
Iowa, Ohio, Missouri, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, West Virginia, North Carolina, Louisiana, Arkansas, Kentucky, and TEXAS (yes, Texas). At the very least, it won’t take much more Bush and DeLay to drive enough Texans to swing a few congressional seats back to the Democrats. Make ‘em sweat, damn it. Keep the Blue states, and add any four from the previous list of 14, and the presidency is in the bag. Hell, win just the right ONE and it’s in the bag.
4) Speaking of Tom DeLay, take a page out of Karl Rove’s book and politically destroy him. He is the Joe McCarthy of our times, except a worse and viler version. Crush him.
5) Isolate and marginalize the right-wing fringe that controls the Republican Party. Remind voters that former Republican presidents like Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Dwight (“beware the military-industrial complex”) Eisenhower, would not be welcome in today’s Republican Party, and explain why. Build a coalition with disenfranchised Republicans; they will be turned off soon enough and looking for refuge.
6) Strategically target Republican right-wing senators and House members for defeat in 2006. F*ckwits Rick Santorum and James Imhofe leap immediately to mind; I am not sure if there is a more ideologically stunted pair in the current body (although it appears that status might be challenged by the new Class of 2004 Republicans). Bill Frist’s Tennessee seat is up for grabs in 2006, so replacing him with a Democrat would be poetic justice for the loss of Tom Daschle. How about Al Gore?
Field quality candidates from the local to national level that are true to the ideals and values listed in #1 above. Start planning for Robert Byrd’s replacement, too. If an opportunity arises, initiate recalls. It worked for the Republicans in California. I’m just sorry Minnesota has saddled the country with that opportunistic f*ckweasel, Norm Coleman, through 2008.
7) Embrace, engage, and encourage the 18-30 voters by tapping college campuses like the right-wing Christian fundamentalists have tapped their churches. Their support must be maintained and grown.
8) Put the Republicans on their heels by pushing for real voting reform. Require a permanent and confirmable paper record of voting nationwide. Electronic voting minus a paper trail is a recipe for fraud. Honestly, how many people actually buy anything without getting a receipt for their purchase? I can fill my car with gas at unattended pumps just about anywhere in the United States and get a receipt, for crying out loud.