How the Democrats Lose the Election

The biggest reason why the Democrats could, and likely will, lose the election [unless they change their campaign tactics] is that they’ve forgotten the basics. The election isn’t about money; it’s not about racial injustice; it’s not about Trump; it’s not about ideology; it’s not about police brutality.

It’s about power.

Now, in the U.S., power isn’t money; power’s not religion or the strength of belief; power’s not guns, or mass movements, or bodies in the streets demonstrating, peacefully or otherwise.

It’s about votes – pure and simple.

Money, ideology, civic involvement can be ways to get votes…but they don’t always translate into votes.

The Republicans have spent almost twenty years working with state laws and governments to make it harder for Democrats to vote. They’ve worked legislatures to gerrymander districts. They’ve just tried to slow down mail delivery for the same purpose.

During the last Presidential election, Hillary Clinton polled almost three million votes more than Trump… and lost. Election scholars have estimated that Democrats have to average 53% of the vote, in general, just to break even with the Republicans.

The second problem Democrats have is that they so far don’t have a single unified message. Trump does. It’s simple – keep America white. It’s not phrased that way, but it’s the basic theme.

The Democrats have lots of good ideas – and they’re still arguing over which one is best. Forget it. Now is the time to agree on a single simple theme – one like “A better life for all working people.” Don’t get hung up on details, just emphasize “a better life” or something else simple and positive that people can get behind. And then work like hell to turn out every possible voter.

An old and very successful political pro, who elected some pretty disreputable characters in his day, made this point to me: You can’t beat someone with nothing. What he meant is, no matter how awful the other guy is, you have to give voters something to vote for, not just something to vote against.

Third, all great ideas mean nothing if you can’t elect enough people to pass the laws to change things. Winning the election comes first.

Finally, most voters, especially the ones most likely to vote dependably, are risk-averse. They don’t like radical proposals, violent demonstrations, shootings, and the like. A recent study of the 1968 elections indicated that riots reduced turnout and likely support for Democrats, while peaceful actions or even peaceful protests improved turnout.

So… Democrats… if you want to hand the election to Trump, keep on with your scattered radical messages, bland unfocused generalities, and claim those messages and all the riots and violent demonstrations are just demonstrating free speech. Being “right” in that way before the election may well insure that you’ll never get the power to actually change things.

3 thoughts on “How the Democrats Lose the Election”

  1. Tom says:

    No arguments regarding the probability that the Democrats will loose this pivotal election. They will shoot themselves in the foot (again) with the retro-Marxism they call Progressive.

    But I wonder if you are right in concluding that the US voters will elect unbridled authoritarianism ie. power without responsibility. After all that means loss of their pet goal of individual freedom.

    1. Shannon says:

      That’s just it, some of the people who will vote for Trump are willing to trade the the perception of safety he sells them for freedom. Plus, Trump isn’t going to restrict the freedom of the type of person who will vote for him (white, religious, scared of diversity and tolerance). Trump, or the incompetents and fanatics he puts in influential positions, will restrict the freedoms of those who don’t match the image of Christian white America.

  2. M. Kilian says:

    You’re not wrong, sadly. A common joke on the internet is the slogan “Settle for Biden”, that the only consistent thing being pushed by the DNC is that Biden isn’t Trump.

    It seems that both the Republican and Democratic parties have decided to make this year’s election an all-or-nothing game, to incense their voterbase into a partisan frenzy in which anyone not on their side is an enemy. It is sad to watch, even from the outside.

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