Democrats are getting hammered. And the excuses are flying. The “we’re losing less badly than before and besides it’s a Republican district” rationale for losing congressional races is a consolation prize where consolation is meaningless. In politics, all that counts is winning. And until the Democrats get some checks in the ‘W’ column they are irrelevant.

What do Democrats stand for? What’s their reason for being? They are against Trump – because Trump is a bad man. Who probably owes the Russians money. And he tweets a lot. And lies. And hires his kids. And has a sub 40% approval rating.

Whatever. Trump’s base does not care. Liberals already assume that Trump’s villainy knows no bounds. And the constant harping on Trump doesn’t give the folks in the middle a reason to come out for Democrats. My first piece of advice is that, beyond the occasional reference to his legal troubles,  liberals should essentially ignore Trump. If nothing else that would spur him into even more self-debasing tantrums.

The Democrats are great thinkers. They agonize over whether they should be more mainstream or more liberal. Should they try to regain their standing among the white working class or should they energize the left-wing base? My second piece of advice is that they stop thinking.

Every group has its unique issues, but all groups want to have economic security, the chance for advancement and a better world for their children. And thus my third piece of advice, it’s the economy stupid. If the Democrats were to plant their flag there they could prosper. It is all in how they frame the debate.

Take global warming. Republicans have done well in throwing doubt on the science – making it seem as if climate change is a UN plot or a Chinese hoax. And should you accept the science, the Republicans have made the case that doing something about it would be an economic calamity.

Democrats have reacted by calling science-deniers stupid and casting aspersions on the intelligence of people who give them a listen. But it’s hard to win a man’s vote by calling him an idiot.

Instead, Democrats should focus on the jobs alternative-energy creates. Let them ask why the Republicans are stifling job growth and why they want all the benefit to go to the Germans and Chinese. Let Democrats extol the genius of American business. Let them bang on about ‘unleashing the creativity of the market’ as Republicans always do when they need an excuse to give the rich more money.

And while they are at it, give healthcare the same treatment. Here are the Democratic arguments. Access to healthcare unleashes people to be entrepreneurs. It gives people economic freedom. It stops health expense bankrupcies dragging down the economy.

Let’s use the $15 minimum wage as one more example. Democrats must talk about how small business owners profit when people with a living wage go out and buy things. Who wouldn’t benefit from more money in the community?

And here’s my fourth piece of advice. Democrats need to change their brand. Their cardinal sin is smugness. They pride themselves on being better educated than the poor dumb hicks who insist on voting Republican – despite it being against their best interests. But what Republicans give their base is a sense of worth – and identity. And that counts.

Further, Democrats do little to dispell the image of liberals as white wine swilling, quiche eating, bicoastal elite – ivory tower denizens with the patronizing ‘we know what’s good for you’ schtick. They don’t need celebrities campaigning for them. Breaking bread with Barbra or Leo never created a job. And it makes the star gazers seem indifferent to the day-to-day life of paycheck-to-paycheck Americans.

So here’s my fifth piece of advice. Get authentic. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are by all accounts brilliant in managing congressional Democrats. But they are dismal as the Democrats’ national face. If they have to have a Californian and a New York Senator make it Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand.

Gillibrand isn’t scared to loft a few ‘f-b0mbs’. She has a history of it. No focus group, poll-testing her feelings – she comes by them naturally. And Kamala Harris is fresh, smart and has momentum.

The Democrats need credibility. The Republicans keep handing them good field position, only for them to fumble the ball. Liberals should win on health care, wages, predatory lending, taxes – on a raft of issues that affect the finances of the majority of Americans. But they wander off into pointless jabs at the ‘big bad Republicans’ and their tonsure denying mouthpiece.

Bernie Sanders showed the way. He kept talking about economic fairness and opportunity. And people went mad for it. I’m not here to critique the 2016 election, to refight the Bernie/Hillary duel. And any liberal who does so is wasting their time. I am just saying that in 2018 and 2020 the Democrats would do well to attack down the path Sanders blazed.












The Constitution Wasn’t Designed to Make it Easier To Shoot Steve Scalise

June 15, 2017

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) – and four others – were gunned down on a baseball field. Luckily nobody died except for the gunman. Quick action by dedicated Capitol police prevented a bigger disaster. And the GOP quickly decried the ready availability of assault weapons to crazy people. All these statements are true – except the last one. […]

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Trump Returns Home. Expect Tweets.

May 27, 2017

In summing up his trip abroad, Donald Trump told a captive audience of American military personnel in Sicily, “I think we hit a home run no matter where we are”. In short, he was Queen Victoria playing fantasy sports, while losing track of his tenses. Seriously, it is hard to think what his successes were. He […]

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What Republicans Can Learn From Derek Jeter.

May 19, 2017

The Yankees retired Derek Jeter’s number a week ago. The New York baseball great was an accomplished player and a man beloved by both the hometown faithful and his rivals. Even the hated Red Sox Nation saluted him. Which raises the question: Why? Simply put, he instinctively knew how to react and what to say. […]

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Trump, Russia, Flynn, Comey, Pence & the 2018 Election.

May 16, 2017

Trump defends his blabbing state secrets to the Russians by saying he has the right to say what he said. Which is to miss the point. Just because you have the right doesn’t mean you should. The Westboro Baptist Church has the right to say what they say. Predictably, Fox News is doing yeoman’s work […]

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Trump Zealots Just Can’t Quit Their Man.

May 14, 2017

The most notable feature of the Trump presidency is the slavish loyalty of his acolytes. Even as a majority of Americans see his term as an unremitting failure, Trump’s true believers see it as a blemish-free saga of extreme success. His approval ratings are dismal. But over 90% of those who voted for him say […]

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Why Was Comey Fired? The Administration Offers Everything Except the Truth.

May 11, 2017

The Trump administration is the gang who couldn’t shoot straight. All Presidents lie, prevaricate, spin – but no administration has done it worse since – and it is a fair comparison –  Nixon. Take the Comey firing. They obviously can’t admit the real reason. That either Comey was getting too close to an uncomfortable truth – […]

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Republicans Have Never Met a Regular Guy They Wouldn’t Screw.

May 7, 2017

Republicans ran on the promise that they would repeal and replace Obamacare. They portrayed the ACA as so magnificently evil that any replacement would be better. Now House Republicans have kept half of their commitment. They did repeal and replace Obamacare, but remarkably they found something worse. Trump helped. In his desperation to pass something, anything, to […]

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Really? 5.2.17 – Trump Has a Bad Week and It’s Only Tuesday.

May 2, 2017

Donald Trump disdain for history. Tucker Carlson told the head of the White House Correspondent’s Asociation that the press hates Donald Trump. He has misread the media. I suggest that if the press has an institutional opinion of Trump, it is that he is an idiot – because they go where the evidence leads. And that evidence […]

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