I offer this simple recipe for disappointed Democrats who are dismayed at the current state of our nation and government and who despair about how to change things.
Here’s the recipe for one candidate and one issue:
- Identify a specific elected official whose vote on a specific issue you want to change. Resist the temptation to paint with a broad brush — be specific. One elected official. One vote.
- Examine the constituency of that official as it pertains to that vote. Use reliable current polling with multiple sources if possible. If it’s a Senator, look statewide. If it’s a Representative, look at their district. Be specific. The opinion of Somerville voters is irrelevant to a Congressional race in North Adams.
- Ask if the official is in line with the opinion of their voters:
- If yes: Change the opinion of their voters. Use media, door-knockers, whatever. Your task is to change the voters that your chosen official represents.
- If no: Change the official. Aggressively identify and promote an alternative candidate who shares your position. Use media spots that challenge the official: “Why do you vote against the people you represent?”.
If you choose to target a candidate, then pick the top five or six issues that you care about, and gather the data you’ll need at step three for those five or six issues.
Resist the temptation to pick insulting names or let yourself be lured into lazy shortcuts like “because they’re a jerk”.
Most elected Democrats at the national level tend to be pragmatic, and this recipe is an effective way to use that pragmatism.
If you aren’t able to perform this recipe yourself, then find people and groups that will do it on your behalf. It is not difficult to form questions that help address each of the stages. If a particular group doesn’t have specific and believable answers to those questions — and particularly if they are unable or unwilling to back them up with data — then find another group.
Most of all, be PATIENT. This takes time. We aren’t going to solve this in one, two, or five election cycles.
The changes we’re talking about take generations and even lifetimes. Just ask an old-timer who remembers when America’s right-wing was a fringe group — 1964 is a good starting point.