Now we know. We know that despite everything Donald Trump did the past five years (or 50 years), about 70 million Americans–almost half the people who cast a ballot–voted to re-elect him. They had the option to vote for a moderate Democrat with a track record of bipartisanship, and they still chose Trump.
The Democrats also lost seats in the House and most likely lost the Senate. They ran against one of the most unpopular candidates in American history during a recession and pandemic, and they still failed to gain control of Congress. Many of Trump’s biggest supporters won re-election in the Senate. There were no consequences for supporting him.
It’s time for Democrats to face reality: Their current political strategy is a historic failure.
We need a major shakeup in the Democratic Party. This roadmap should increase the number of people voting for Democrats in 2022.
Stop Running Unpopular Candidates
Joe Biden ran failed presidential campaigns in 1988 and 2008. Kamala Harris was equally unsuccessful in the 2020 Democratic primary. Democrats need to nominate people who generate enthusiasm from the Party, especially against Republican incumbents with a cult following. Think Barack Obama. If there wasn’t a pandemic this year, Trump would have defeated Biden in a landslide.
End the Name-Calling
How can Democrats criticize Trump for bullying and name-calling when they also engage in it? Biden told Trump to “shut up,” called him a “clown,” and challenged him to a fistfight. On multiple occasions, Biden berated voters asking him questions. It’s mind-boggling that his advisers couldn’t reel in his temper given the stakes and the need to draw a contrast.
I’m embarrassed by Democrats’ online conduct. I can’t even read my newsfeed because it’s so cringe-worthy and deflating. They make fun of Trump’s weight, hair, and skin color, scramble his name, mock his wife’s background, and engage in other counterproductive, juvenile activities. Every time they do it, it blurs the line between the high and low road and gives Trump supporters an excuse to vote for him. Democrats should abandon playground tactics and focus on his reckless policies, gross incompetence, and crimes, which provide sufficient fodder to prosecute the case against him.
Replace Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer as House and Senate Leaders
In other countries, when a party fails, their leadership resigns immediately. Schumer and Pelosi have presided over improbable, repeat losses in the House and Senate. The Party needs new leadership. Both of them have too much baggage, they’re too divisive, and they don’t attract independent or Republican swing voters. Schumer has no charisma and doesn’t have the skills to expand the Party. Republicans loathe Pelosi. Ripping Trump’s State of the Union speech sent millions of Republicans to the polls to win back the House. It’s easy to grow the Democratic coalition given the popularity of Democratic positions. They’re incapable of doing it.
Recognize Character Does Not Matter to Millions of People
I’ve never known someone with more bad character traits than Donald Trump, and I worked in a prison. Not only did the American people elect Trump once, they nearly elected him twice, knowing everything about him: the rape, theft, cheating, racism, lying, bullying, etc. It doesn’t matter to millions of Republicans. They’re willing to vote for anyone who stands for their issues. Democrats need to recognize this reality and do a better job connecting with them. They thought they would send a resounding message that rebuked Trump’s character in this election. They failed. Trump received 10 million more votes than Mitt Romney did in 2012 and seven million more votes than he did versus Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Advocate More Strategically
Many Democrats advocate within a narrow echo chamber speaking with people in their inner circle who already share their values. We should spend more time calling our Senators and House members to register our positions, and speaking with and texting voters as campaign volunteers. It may not feel as good or generate as much attention, but it’s more effective.
Invest in Education
Trump dominated the less educated vote, specifically, white men without a college degree. Biden should prioritize increasing education spending, especially on media literacy. He should assemble a team of education experts to determine what’s ailing our schools and develop new strategies to achieve learning gains. An educated citizenry would never elect Trump.
Democrats Must Do a Better Job Discussing Guns, Religion, Healthcare, Abortion, Energy, Police Reform, Climate Change, and Taxes
The Democrats need to listen to Republicans’ concerns on these issues. They’re failing miserably. I spoke with hundreds of voters in the Deep South and Midwest during this election cycle, and many expressed their concerns about Democrats’ inability to connect with them. Democrats are far too dismissive. They can disagree while respecting different points of view and seeking a middle ground whenever possible.
Fix the Polling
Top-rated U.S. Senate and presidential polls showed races where Democrats were either tied or winning. The Democrats lost many of those races by up to 15%. The polls were terribly wrong in 2016 and 2018 and depressed the vote. They were even worse in 2020 and likely kept many Democrats home in Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, and other states where they showed Democrats with big leads. In some Senate races, polls were off by 20%. Democrats are wasting precious resources on races they can’t win. The pollsters need to identify and fix the problem.
Invest More Resources in Fact-Checking and Disinformation Prevention
Many Trump followers aren’t dialed into factual news and binge on propaganda, so they take his word as gospel. Truth is whatever he says. Democrats have to do a better job developing systems that combat Republican dishonesty, gaslighting, voter suppression, and the disinformation campaigns from Russia and domestic bad actors. Voters are too easily duped by insane conspiracy theories and misinformation. Trump successfully convinced millions of people that Joe Biden is a radical socialist leading a mob of left-wing anarchists who are going to loot and burn the suburbs. Democrats must control their narrative.
Stop Following Mainstream Media
Left-leaning media outlets elevated Donald Trump by becoming his foil. Dozens of people run for president and never get attention. Trump was grossly unqualified and should have never received media coverage–and yet they flocked to cover him because they knew they could profit off him. Then those same reporters wrote books about him and landed their own television shows to further stuff their coffers. Democrats should reject consuming this type of ambulance-chasing journalism that degrades democracy.
I’m sending this list of recommendations to the Democratic Party in each state and to the DNC with the hope that it will inspire them to make improvements. I encourage you to share your suggestions as well. We should be our biggest critics to improve the Democratic Party.
If you volunteered for campaigns this season, but your candidate lost, or you lost a state in the presidential race, your time was not wasted. You planted seeds that will grow in future elections, and you made our democracy stronger. Your advocacy matters. If we learn the lessons of this election, it will matter even more in 2022.
15 thoughts on “A Missed Opportunity”
Regarding better education: THAT IS THE Most Important!
And what? exactly gives you the impression that the people who presently voted for tRump are interested in more EDUCATION? MORE SCIENCE? MORE EXPERTISE? You really think these promises would change them? Or even interested them? tRump promised NOTHING but his wonderfulness in their worlds.
We have have to watch this play-out so no one can say we did anything wrong. As for the trumpets they are hungry for any recognition, he always promises something (like daddy did) and its 2 weeks away forever, We need jobs thump has wasted 9 months on this hate campaign lying about everything like immigrants are taking our jobs, they are coming from Mexico to rape us. Then take away money then food then say I’m the only one to help you.
Brainwashed, just stay calm like all cults this one needs doctors for therapy on them . Money training, jobs will make them feel better.
Covid first we have to wear masks!
…..we are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams
I agree with everything and watching it play out and living it the Impeachment should have worked. The GOP turned into and still are blaming everyone like thump does, and didn’t help us when we still need it.
I witnessed this ugly nazi type action and didn’t like it.
Voting I see the senators that enabled thump are back in NC and KY I wish they weren’t.
And for the speakers of the house I know they fought but why didn’t it help before the election? Now people are worse than ever with the same government running it but a New President.
We need to still fight for the justice we all deserve.
Thank You for writing this excellent article.
We in America have the oldest people running it, I want to see new blood in government.
Yes to all of this. Thank you.
The point too, is that if half of the population are still all for Trump.
They stand with him for his bigotry, biases, prejudices, racism, NRA supporting, selling off the land of National Parks, encouraging police brutality, distancing our allies and tightening the reins with the enemies. It strongly shows that those who support him are in alignment with him. That’s critical to consider that half of the country, some are our family, neighbors and friends are all about and who we have to deal with. We are on opposite ends of the spectrum of beliefs and reasoning.
I agree with you Andrew, as I always do, as you have such a tremendous understanding of how our government and system ought to be running and utilized. It’s ideal.
Thank you for such remarkable commentary and for the comments that follow from your readers.
Now to get to work and make certain Trump is removed and that healing and repair to the USA can start to happen.
United we stand, Divided we fall.
Sandie in Ohio USA
PS. So sorry that the state of Ohio is SO pro-Trump…UGH. It’s a huge farm belt with big AG, slaughter houses, Factory Farming, and the Ohio Farm Bureau endorses all Republicans, which the farmers follow exactly.
Thank you for clearly stating why Dems lost!! Do you think a Civil War will ensue or will the Dems just give up? Democracy and our government are dead. America and Earth to follow?
Our education system is a complete failure. This is the most important issue facing our country. When 60% of high scholler know nothing about the holocaust and the propaganda of Joseph Goebbels (imitated in this election) you know how illiterate this country remains compared to the rest of the Western democracies. Also, as pointed out our newscasters pay too much attention to junk and not enough to the real issues facing this country and the whole world. Sensationalism must stop!
We have some well educated people in the Congress, and YET? What makes these people so afraid of tRump? tRump’s following? They don’t care about anything but being reelected? They have no morality or conscience? They trade anything for a job in Congress–which he largely went around– so they can do nothing but rubberstamp the works of a madman? Congress was caught ‘flat footed’! They relied on customary behaviors of a person who behaves in compliance with The Constitution, etc. They should have nipped his behavior in the bud, but they just wrung their hands instead of figuring out how to remove Bill Barr thru the Courts–bfore this onslaught of biased judges occurred. It has to be ILLEGAL for Don Jr. to be out demanding these gun toting people GO TO WAR overthis election. STOP HIM!!
Good insight in your article Andrew. I think the Democrats will learn a lot from this election just as they did with the tragic result in 2016. The most important take away is that even though we won, 70 million people still voted for an individual with no moral compass who could not care less about them. That scares me more than anything. We have to know our electorate I think the Republicans did a better job on the Senate and House races because they talked about the far left of the party which wants to defund the police and provide free college and Medicare for everyone. Those are not winning platforms.
Funny I thought it was just the Republicans yelling defunding the police against the Democrats.
All I saw was GOP lying with the President and still doing it.
We can move forward when the White elitist figure out we don’t like racism we haven’t since 1964 with the help of Lyndon Johnson.
The lost people with thump don’t care if they live or die right now, Look at a covid map they are on fire because of an ego maniac that has been openly killing us for 10 months.
College is a funny topic why is it only for RICH WHITE people and then they are in debt the rest of their lives to a systemic racism propaganda machine.
Republicans denied to help America and the world, when Americans were in crisis for an ego maniac wanting more power.
Hope separates us right now not one man and the USA .HOPE was the platform that won Nov3 and thank GOD gave us a women in the whitehouse that actually loves AMERICA for what it is a melting pot that never turns off like it did for 4 yrs with Republicans.
Help Scott we need forward thinking not repeated lies we know hurt the people that have been left behind for 200 yrs. I want justice for the killing of Breonna Taylor in her home late at night a working medical female BLACK women that was helping us. and out of that DEFUND came out of REPUBLICANS.
The list of names is outrageous we watched a man get killed in daylight screaming for help by policemen! George Floyd I’ll never get over that in my whole life and the man shoot getting in the car
I want PEACE that is why I voted Democrat and I always will. I wish we were all on the same page one man didn’t understand that United we stand or Fall.
Wake up, America! We are currently watching a ” SOFT COUP”. The President is using his authority to try to overthrow the2020 election results. Election results don’t matter if he can stop the certification of the results. If that fails, he can bomb Iran and declare a national emergency and postpone or nullify the election results. As Commander in Chief he cannot be removed in war time. Another scenario has him making a deal to accept the results in exchange for non prosecution by New York State and New York City after he leaves office. He may also collect donations from his supporters for a 2024 run that will not take place. He will not admit defeat. A cornered rat will fight to the death!
You might want to check up Biden’s gaffs on you tube to see what sort of doddery old fart the Democrats chose to be the next president. Then you could check out Biden sniffing girls hair on you tube. A revaluation. Once you’ve done that you might want 5o ask yourself why the media underplayed it all and went along with the Democrat narrative.