Don’t Get Distracted By the Mainstream Media!

    The mainstream media would have us believe that “electability” is the most important issue in the 2020 election, that the Democratic Party is seriously divided, that no one really knows what Democrats stand for, and by implication, that male candidates are more viable than females. They have to fill a 24/7 news cycle that depends on discord and gossip, not to mention the whims of owners and advertisers.

In addition to making a record of Trump tweets for members of the legal profession and historians, the media should be paying attention to the many Bills passed by the House in the past few months under Democratic leadership. If they did, everyone would know what Democrats stand for, and they would see how important women have become in shaping our legislation.  “Electability,” however, is a chimera that defies prediction by anyone!

Our job in 2020 is to put forward a candidate who is prepared to steer us out of the muddy backwaters of 19th century parochial politics into the 21st century where we will live or die according to how well we solve global problems. By 2020, climate issues may matter to voters far more than the stock market (as if that were a true measure of economic health!).   

Our Party is not perfect, but it is strong enough to have won the popular vote in 4 out of the last 5 presidential elections (2000, 2008, 2012, 2016) and if “one man, one vote” were the law in WI, our state legislature would be Democratic.  Poll after poll shows that the people are on our side of the issues. But other research shows that issues determine only 10% of most people’s vote! (Party affiliation and candidate appeal determine the rest.) This time, we need to make the issues that affect real people matter more.

Each one of us can make them matter by being more vocal about them. Any of the following issues touch people on local, state, regional and federal levels: clean energy, clean air and water, good schools, a living wage, the right to organize, equal pay for equal work, affordable medical care for all, a woman’s right to decide with a qualified doctor what is the best way to support life, the right to political asylum, the right to become a citizen, the right to be treated fairly regardless of race and personal choices that do not harm others. The list goes on. All the items on it value real people above corporations and other social constructs, such as money and dogma.

Maybe we need a new slogan to make our concern for people—all people—more memorable. The mantra the DPDC devised more than a decade ago—Public policy for public good, not personal gain or corporate greed–was a good beginning.  The list of accomplishments on the back of our Thank A Democrat t-shirt was a great reminder of our history in the 20th Century. Now we might need something simpler: Whoever you are, your well-being matters! But if we are to be understood as the Party of the People in the present media climate, it will be because we act on our beliefs and speak about them openly at the grass roots, with pride and humility, knowing that new policies will require a lot of discussion, hard work and patience. What do you think?

Estella Lauter