Our society has for decades been changing for the sole benefit of a tiny minority. I want it to change for all of us to flourish and I am now committing myself to help make it so.
We have been pouring money into a political wasteland where the Republican Party is no longer a thoughtful counterbalance to progressive impulses and the Democratic Party is simply anti-Trump.
Both major parties must be transformed because a society dominated by either one will be unfair.
I will focus chiefly on the Democrats, making modest and conditional contributions to half a dozen or so influential individuals and emailing them often. I began this way:
Dear Congress(wo)man/Senator/Governor xxx,
I hope this is helpful.
As a life-long Democrat I am appalled that Democratic Party leaders have not learned from our defeats at every level of government. I believe they must be forced.
I’m writing to you because party leaders will not notice I have stopped responding to their barrage of appeals to pay for uncoordinated advertising.
What I will do, however, is support you to establish a well marketed Democratic Party program of change for a better world.
Opposing what Republican leaders are now proposing is of course necessary but it simply is not enough. We must be FOR changes that most voters want, and we must market them well.
We aspire to be a society that prioritizes human flourishing over private profit for a tiny minority. Achieving that requires a long-term program — the equivalent of tax cuts for Republicans — of coordinated marketing to build unstoppable demand and to mitigate the cultural concerns that now divide us.
Our economic message resonates, but we are creating powerful reasons to vote against it. As Fareed Zakaria points out here: https://fareedzakaria.com/2017/06/30/the-democrats-problem-is-not-the-economy-stupid/ “More people prefer the [Democratic Party] views to those of Republicans on taxes, poverty reduction, health care, government benefits, and even climate change and energy policy … [but] Democrats need to talk about America’s national identity in a way that stresses the common elements that bind, not the particular ones that divide … stay true to their ideals, of course, but yet convey to a broad section of Americans — rural, less-educated, older, whiter — that they understand and respect their lives, their values and their worth.'”
We can hope to gain seats in 2018 and 2020 but we will not achieve a mandate unless we make a long-term effort. Republican leaders started getting where they are half a century ago as Bruce Bartlett points out: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/06/24/intellectual-conservatives-lost-republican-trump-215259 “In the wake of Goldwater’s defeat, many conservatives concluded that their philosophy was insufficiently well-grounded in the social sciences and lacked an empirical foundation. For example, Goldwater talked about privatizing Social Security, but had no plan whatsoever for how to do it. Hearing his rhetoric on the subject, those receiving Social Security assumed, not unreasonably, that they would just be cut off.”
Although we must build an equivalent infrastructure of think tanks and media for lasting change, we can quite soon begin to succeed because our theme, economic justice, is already popular.
Our program will only succeed, however, if it is based on the values we all share, not on those that divide us.
I am counting on you to convince our Party’s leaders to make the necessary changes. Please let me know if I can help. I will be watching.
Preaching to those who agree will not make our future better and ranting at those who do not agree makes it worse. We must focus on values we share.
And because only politicians can establish government changes, we must above all convince them to make the changes we want.
That will require persistent and emphatic effort. I hope you will join me.