The Democratic Party is in a rough situation, as their control of the White House over the past eight years masked the fact that the party had lost ground in the other two branches as well as state and local governments. Trump’s victory ripped that mask off to reveal those problems, and the recent election of Tom Perez over Keith Ellison as chair of the Democratic National Committee has spurred fears that the Democratic Party could tear itself apart between progressives and moderates. If that was not bad enough, the 2018 midterm elections are heavily skewed in favor of the Republicans, as far more Democratic senators find themselves at risk of losing their seats.
These factors mean that the Democratic Party has a long road back to power, but that does not mean all is lost. A democracy is more than elections. It is a civic society where citizens must be active and informed about what the activities of the elected. And if there are not enough Democratic politicians, then the people themselves, armed with the media, need to make it clear just how disastrous Republican policies will be.
Fortunately, the people have made a good first step by asking Republicans tough questions during town hall meetings. By getting ordinary people out there and posting real questions to GOP representatives about how Republican plans such as removing the ACA will affect them, it humanizes the problems within complex issues. It is not enough to say that millions of Americans will lose their health insurance if Obamacare is repealed. According to Jeremy Diamond, lawyer, this could affect society’s most vulnerable, including seniors or catastrophically injured accident victims.You have to show the ordinary Americans who discuss their plight and confront GOP officials, and whose plight is reported on by the media.
Many Republicans (though admittedly not all) have tried to dismiss these concerned town hall people as paid protestors. But by doing so, they will commit the same mistake that many progressives made in regards to the Tea Party. Far too many Democrats did not see that the Tea Party represented a swelling of angry white men, and pooh-poohed them as tools of the Koch brothers and thus not real.
Unfortunately, they turned out to be very real, very angry, and very willing to vote. And while their rage will only bring misery to America, we must look at how they managed to organize and bring political change.
But these town hall protests will not matter if Americans do not hear about it, which is precisely why Trump has made it a mission to discredit the media by screaming “Fake News” at the slightest provocation. Democracy can only function if an informed public stays active and is not afraid of questioning authority. Trump and the Republicans want the public to stay ignorant and sleepy as they carry out their plans, and the Democratic Party cannot let that happen.
It may be two years until the next national elections, but that does not mean it is time to stay silent. By organizing and relentlessly confronting the Republicans about their plans, the Democratic Party can lay a groundswell which will eventually sweep Trump and his twisted ideals out of power.