Ever since the Fuhrer was able to occupy the White House with less that 25% of eligible voters and a minority of votes cast, several propel have published articles on how to recover the Democratic Party in order to enable it to take America away from the Republican Reich, an alliance of billionaires and misanthropes, and represent the people. While I can't say I agree with everything these authors have to say, here it is for your consideration.
Democrats are still reeling from Hillary Clinton’s unexpected loss last November. Democratic leaders such as Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer are leading the opposition to President Trump’s proposals to overturn reforms such as the Affordable Healthcare Act. But history suggests that opposition to the president and vows of action to reconnect with alienated voters will not suffice. The Democrats will need new ideas, better alignment with the spirit of the times, and fresh new candidates to make a comeback and recapture the presidency.
They can learn from the experience of their party in the 1950’s. Their presidential candidate, Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson, campaigned in 1952 mostly on a platform of continuing and expanding the programs of his Democratic predecessors, Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman. He lost to Dwight Eisenhower, a World War II hero who vaguely promised to uproot corruption in Washington and end the Korean War, ongoing since 1950. Republicans won majorities in both houses of Congress.
The Democrats came back, but it took eight years. They mainly followed five strategies.
1. Analyze reasons for the loss
Democrats need to examine frankly why they lost in 2016.
In 1952, Stevenson lost for two reasons. One, Eisenhower, a popular military hero because of his World War II leadership, ran convincingly against corruption in Washington and the threat of communist aggression and promised to end the war in Korea, which had begun two years earlier. It would have been very difficult for any Democrat to defeat him in 1952.
Two, more relevant for Democrats to recall today, Stevenson, governor of Illinois, came across as detached, waffling and indecisive. He was a reluctant candidate, not entering the race until just before the convention. He was eloquent and witty but bland, uninspiring, and inconsistent, something of a lukewarm liberal. He endorsed and promised to continue FDR’s New Deal and Harry Truman’s Fair Deal policies. But he also expressed disdain for federal programs on public housing, aid to education, and farm subsidies. He favored self-restraint, government frugality, and state action on economic issues. We should not “do in Washington what can be done in Indianapolis” or “ask Uncle Sam to bridge Catbird Creek,” he insisted. He was a proponent of civil rights but skeptical of federal intervention and asserted the issue was a state responsibility. He said there was “no easy answer” to the Korean War. Stevenson’s loss was due in part to not having clear, distinct, credible positions on key issues.
2. Develop new ideas
Democrats need a fresh set of ideas and policy proposals.
Early in 1953, John Kenneth Galbraith, an economics professor who had served as an advisor and speechwriter on Stevenson’s 1952 campaign, wrote him with a suggestion. “How can we do the most to keep the Democratic Party intellectually alert and positive during these years in the wilderness?” Galbraith asked. “We have all told ourselves that mere opposition is not enough. Yet it would be hard at this moment to say what the Democratic Party is for. On domestic matters we are for good and against evil and for tidying up the unfinished business of the New Deal. We want an expanding economy but there are few who could be pressed into any great detail as to what this means or takes…. [W]e are still trading on the imagination and intellectual vigor of the Roosevelt era and that capital is running thin.”
The answer, said Galbraith was “some organization in or adjacent to the Democratic Party” where political leaders and intellectuals could discuss issues and develop fresh new proposals.
Galbraith, with Stevenson’s encouragement, assembled an informal group of thoughtful economists, political leaders, academics, and foreign policy experts. The group met every month or two for the next three years. It became known informally as the Finletter Group because it assembled frequently at the Washington home of Thomas K. Finletter, former Secretary of the Air Force. Stevenson attended occasionally. The group’s discussions were lively and imaginative as they explored ways to draw on traditional New Deal/ Fair Deal policies but come up with fresh ideas that would take the Democratic Party to a new level and help it project a new, winning progressive image. They debated strategy, developed new ideas, and wrote substantive papers on national security, disarmament, taxation, social security, income distribution, agriculture, education, international trade, disarmament, and the U.S. role in Southeast Asia.
The whole effort brought forth new perspectives and fresh ideas for more proactive, interventionist federal policies. Several Finletter Group veterans worked for Stevenson’s campaign in 1956 and later served as policy architects in the Kennedy Administration…
From <Raw Story>
I shared the first two of the author's six steps. Click through for the other four.
Like Stevenson, Hillary Clinton was a weak candidate. Had she been able to combine party support and the ability to stir up a crowd the way Bernie Sanders could, she would have won easily. Democrats need candidates that can motivate voters. Hillary could not.
I think that rather than lots of new ideas, Democrats a commitment to the American people. There can be no doubt in people's minds that our candidates represent them and not some billionaire or huge corporation.
What do you think of the rest of the authors' points?