So how do we get our people fired up to get out there and vote?
We all know how tremendously important turnout is on election day, especially in off year elections.
I firmly believe that what motivates Democrats and Republicans to vote are entirely different things, even when boiled down to the base emotions entwined with each parties base. The GOP operates on fear, the Democratic party does not. As odious as the GOP and their failed ideas have become that alone is not enough to get people to vote against the GOP in off year elections. We need to give people something to vote FOR when they vote Democratic.
It is my belief that the things that motivate democrats and left-leaning voters to get out and vote on election day are truly steeped in hope. The hope that things get better. Fear doesn't motivate the left. Optimism is what motivates the left, but it can't be empty optimism either.
To that end I'd like to open a discussion on HOW to get people motivated to vote, and I think the key to that is a policy issue.
I believe we need our own version of the "Contract with America", something short and sweet written in language anyone can easily communicate that expresses the goals and policy solutions that Democratic officials should be driving towards. The Democratic party has a platform, it is a long read and full of wonky stuff that fall flat on the ears of people who are not political junkies. We need to compress and refine that platform into a contract and a pledge that states clearly "This is what we stand for, this is what we will do when elected, and this is what you stand to gain when you vote for Democrats"
So a couple of friends and I have been trying to boil down an easy one or two page statement, something that anyone can print off and show to their fellow citizens and elected officials. Something that not only clearly articulates HOW we are going to solve the many problems Americans are facing but also a document that will allow us to hold our elected officials feet to the fire once they are in office.
On that subject, regarding policy, I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. I have my own ideas which I will share later in this post but I'd love to hear the opinions of other people who want to Get Out The Vote and start making a difference.
Because if we want to seriously start winning in states that are demographically shifting blue, states like Texas, Georgia and North Carolina, if we want to start electing solid Democrats instead of GOP-lite industry shills in places where Dems are guaranteed to win like New York and California we need to start giving Democratic leaning voters something to vote FOR instead of just pointing to Republicans as something to vote against.
More below the fold . . .
Now, this isn't just important for the upcoming mid-terms, but for the future of the Democratic party going forward. What kind of Democratic party do you want to see in the future? One that keeps drifting right and into the arms of the special interests or one that truly fights for what is in the best interests of all Americans?
This isn't about winning one election or one election cycle, this is about building the Democratic party of the future.
And the only way to do that is for activists and regular people to stand up, get involved and do something about it.
So let's start putting together a short policy proposal. A "contract" if you will. Republicans have used these sorts of tactics against us in the past, often effectively, why can't we use these same tactics for the common good instead of the good of the special interests as so often occurs under GOP rule?
Because clearly, selling GOP-lite policies and politicians in rural districts and states isn't winning. There is a reason Elizabeth Warren can barnstorm in these rural districts and get people fired up in a way that "conservative" democrats can not. To quote President Truman . . .
I've seen it happen time after time. When the Democratic candidate allows himself to be put on the defensive and starts apologizing for the New Deal and the fair Deal, and says he really doesn't believe in them, he is sure to lose. The people don't want a phony Democrat. If it's a choice between a genuine Republican, and a Republican in Democratic clothing, the people will choose the genuine article, every time; that is, they will take a Republican before they will a phony Democrat, and I don't want any phony Democratic candidates in this campaign.
Are we allowed to have policy differences? Sure! I don't think anyone wants the Democratic party to become a monolith, but we need to have some every basic common goals and understandings that we can easily explain to the average voter that lets them know exactly what is at stake on election day and why they should be there, voting in their best interest for the Democratic party.
Because you don't win friends with salad. And you don't get people fired up to vote for Democrats by adopting conservative framing and starting a negotiation with half-hearted compromises. You have to go big or your base tends to stay home.
So, how do we differentiate ourselves from the GOP and fire up our base to turnout on election day? With good policy, and the best part, the easy part is that Democratic policies are already tremendously popular. We, as activists, simply must do a better job selling our ideas.
As for the policy bit, I don't want to get too far into detail in what I think because I want to see what you have to say in the comments below, but I think a few basic principles to build around are fairly obvious. Some examples would be . . .
1. Basic Fairness Issues (raising wages, equal pay for equal work, student loan refinancing, net neutrality and comprehensive immigration reform would fall under this category)
2. Tax Reform (A Progressive tax code, eliminating tax loopholes for corporations, reinstating inheritance taxes and bolstering social security would fit in here, among other ideas)
3. Fair Elections and Less Corruption in Government (Overturning Citizens United and McCutcheon, passing disclosure laws like the DISCLOSE Act and other ideas to broaden the franchise for American voters fit here)
4. Celebrating and Building On Our Accomplishments (Supporting and Improving Obamacare as well as recognizing that Climate Change/Pollution is real and taking necessary actions, among a plethora of other ideas would fit here)
Remember, this is just a start, and I am looking forward to the input others will provide.
My hope is to set up a website in the next few weeks with a few other people where we can iron out a short platform for Democrats. Call it a contract, a pledge, whatever, but something solid, short and sweet that we can take to American voters as a means of showing them the exact differences between the two parties and why they should vote Democratic. Concurrently this contract, once ironed out, can and should be brought before elected officials to hold their feet to the fire.
I want a Democratic party worth voting for, one that wins elections and delivers on promises. I hope you do too.
Now, let's talk about how to achieve that.
I leave the floor to you.