I remember my Grandfather sitting on the sofa smoking Old Gold cigarettes and reading the Chicago Tribune. He was a smart man. He possessed great wisdom.
He would sit reading his newspaper over and over. I did not understand why he read the same story more than once. One day I asked him why.
He put down his paper, and looked at me with his piercing blue eyes, and said, “Bobby, if I just read it once, I do not get the whole story. You must read an article many times, then think about it. Only then can you start to see the whole picture.”
That was my lesson on learning how to read a newspaper from a retired union electrician who was one of the wisest men I have known. It has been a valuable lesson throughout my career. Giving information a once-over look, or just reading a headline does not give us much information we can use for looking at the big picture.
That summarizes a problem we have in America and might hold a clue as to why we are a hot mess today. We no longer look at the big picture. We tend to see everything in terms of “me,” and not as “we.”
Democrats like to say we are the party of “we,” and the GOP is the party of “me.” We give lip service to thinking about us as a nation, but there is much me-thinking in the Democratic Party. I run across it regularly.
When I became a Democrat, many people welcomed me into the Party. They would repeat the Will Rogers quote, “I don’t belong to an organized party, I’m a Democrat.” It is a one-liner that is true.
In running GOP campaigns, we counted on the Democratic Leadership not leading. We relied on the party fighting among itself, with a base that took its direction on its own due to the constant leadership vacuum.
All of the elements are in place for a Democratic sweep in the 2018 midterms. The only thing standing in the way of a Democratic tidal wave are Democrats.
I do not know what is going on inside 430 South Capitol Street, SE, in Washington, DC, the headquarters of the Democratic Party. For all I know, they have turned it into a mushroom farm. The US election is in 297 days. There is no unified message, no theme for the nation, no clear vision for America coming from the Democratic Party.
I asked a Democratic operative what they are doing? He said he was busy with DACA. Huh? He does not work for the Congress; he works for the party. He is supposed to be getting elections together.
DACA is in the hand of the elected officials the only role for the party is to include the effort as part of the Democratic Party vision. Where are the economic policies the Democrats will propose? What about those states that made a Blue Wall that fell to Trump? Is there a plan to address getting lost jobs back?
In part, Trump won former Democrats because workers want jobs, and not government programs. “A chicken in every pot,” was a slogan of FDR. The GOP stole the slogan and modified to be “a job for everyone.” We need to steal it back.
As Democrats, we need to go back to what happened that caused our loss. I know there are those who believe we lost because of the Russians. The Russians are convenient for many. We do not have to look at our shortcomings by having a foreign country to blame.
For instance, blaming the Russians shields us from dealing with the fact more than 20% of Bernie Sanders supporters voted for Donald Trump, or a candidate other than Hillary Clinton, like the Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Harvard uncovered that inconvenient truth in their Cooperative Congressional Election Survey released last August.
We need to admit that Hillary Clinton, a wonderful, smart, educated person who would have been a good President ran an awful campaign.
From her disastrous pick for Vice President, instead of choosing Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, two candidates with big followings; to not bothering to acknowledge disaffected Democrats in the rust-belt who feel isolated from the Democratic Party. They left and voted for Trump. Ray Long, of the Chicago Tribune, wrote a good article on Hillary's disastrous campaign. You can read it by clicking here.
To this day, the Party has not made a move to win them back. Where is the outreach to West Virginia coal miners, former auto workers in Michigan and Wisconsin? Instead, we are finger pointing at the Russians instead of coming up with a plan to bring the Democratic coalition together again.
Do we need to continue with the Russia investigation? You bet we do. The reaction by Trump to the inquiry is the reaction of a guilty man. However, we need to look at our shortcomings and try to correct them.
From the people I talk to on a daily basis in Washington, that is not happening. We have shortcomings, and we need to address them. Time is running out.
If we do not address them and address them soon, then it is an opportunity lost for the Party and the Nation. As Mr. Trump showed the world yesterday, he is overtly racist. We have to show the nation and the world; there is another way, a way that restores common decency to Government and the treatment of people.
Wake up, Democratic Party. If you do not get it together, then you will just be part of the mess. It is up to us in the base to start putting pressure on the National Party to get its act together.
It is time to look at the big picture.
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Tags: 2018 midterm elections, Democratic 2018 platform, Democratic Party, Democratic vision for America, disaffected Democrats, disorganization, Disorganized Democratic Party, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton Campaign, racist, reasons for loss in 2016, Russians