One of the reason institutions need to add new blood to their leadership is to ensure that they introduce new methodologies newcomers are likely familiar with to ensure their continued success. The Democratic Party is failing to remake itself for the 21st century.
On Monday Donald Trump gave a health care press conference. He paraded a few people presumably hurt by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) aka Obamacare. He lied about issue after issue. It's not necessary to go over the lies here as the purpose of this article isn't to litigate Obamacare lies versus truth. It is the method of communicating with Americans.
It is crunch time. Republicans are in the majority. The only power Democrats have is the power of persuasion. That power comes from ensuring that they inform people appropriately and efficiently that Republican policies will materially harm them. To do so requires beating the opposition's misinformation. Democrats are doing a terrible job for one of two reasons. The first, an inability or resistance to leverage new technologies and methods to reach beyond its core base. And the second, an entrenched portion of the party intent on supporting a rightward moving center that fits between fixed rails.
If one's social media and other social networks consist of Progressives, Conservatives, Independents, and others, one's feed and environment capture a broader picture of what people of all political persuasions are seeing. Otherwise, one's environment becomes an echo chamber. Most Americans are currently existing in their ideological silos and echo chambers. To reach them, one must invade those silos.
Conservatives and Republicans have been good at invading those silos. They have terrible policies but great snake oil salespersons. They are present everywhere. They show up with a concise and a precise narrative. Even as they are unable to come up with a health care plan, they turn to their standard song, Obamacare is collapsing and hurt many Americans. It is a lie, but when repeated over and over again, it gets traction. While it is true Obamacare is in a positive poll surge; concerns will mount when they release new rates in October. After all, Democrats thus far have failed to lay the correct narrative that Republican created uncertainty and sabotage will be responsible for the October price shock.
President Obama did not wait for the Democratic Party to morph into modernity. His team did. They put the Howard Dean networking method on steroids. They evolved and kept growing and won even in difficult times.
Donald Trump upped the ante with big data. While Trump is a troglodyte, his campaign was not. Most took him for granted. Trump did not have to win most of the people's vote; he just needed to win the right people's vote. His team understood that. Democrats remained set in their old campaign ways.
After Trump lied to Americans on Monday and bullied Republicans into passing the procedural motion to begin debate on Trumpcare, one would expect Democrats to be ready on every channel, radio, TV, social media, emails, and more. They should have had a fast response team ready for a live news conference simultaneously playing live cable, TV, radio, Facebook Live, Periscope, Youtube, and other streaming networks broadly targeted to reach more than the Democratic echo chamber. The news conference should have consisted of people helped by Obamacare and those hurt by the previous laissez faire morally corrupt health care system. They should have been ready to refute every single lie Trump told. Additionally, they should have used the opportunity to ensure that the narrative that the problems with Obamacare in 2017 and beyond are the deliberate sabotage by Trump and his administration.
What most American on the Democratic mailing lists got was a plea for money with a canned message. The same happened when the motion to proceed passed. The Democratic Party is currently more reactive than proactive. It is more on defensive than on offense. Even the new Democratic Party slogan lacks the urgency needed for a party unable to win even though most Americans support the values and policies within its Democratic Platform.
The current leadership of the Democratic Party did a great job in 2006. The Party, mostly led by then Senator Barack Obama, took it a step further in 2008. Unfortunately, the party did not continue to build on those successes. There are many reasons why, some cynical, some based on the lack of new blood entering leadership.
The Democratic Party still has time to right the ship. The Republicans are giving them ample opportunities to rebuild, their decimated state and federal benches. It is time for the Democratic Party to invest in new technologies and to learn how to use the new social media paradigm effectively. Grassroots Democrats are answering the call throughout the country. However, it is imperative that the old guard does not become a hindrance to moving forward. It is time for Democrats to reach beyond the base to form a coalition that can govern. The Democratic Party needs to up its game for the 21st Century.
Also published on Medium.