December 1, 2017

What Democrats Believe

My take on a summary for the Democratic Party's agenda.
In the wake of last year's election, there's been a lot of soul-searching among members of the Democratic Party. One point I see raised often is that Democrats don't have a clear message or statement of beliefs. I recall a local Democratic Party meeting back in February where we scoured the state party web site for such a statement, and found nothing. The problem, of course, is not that Democrats don't have a clear set of beliefs, but rather that we're not very good at articulating them.

Earlier this year, the party tried to improve their messaging with the proposal "A Better Deal." I can understand the thought behind this: the New Deal is still the gold standard of Democratic legislative accomplishments, what we're offering is better than what the Republicans have, put the two together and voila! Unfortunately, the message fell flat. "A Better Deal" sounds hesitant and timid, and the proposal itself is heavily detailed and more practical than progressive - criticisms which reinforce the stereotype of the Democratic Party as out of touch with the needs of America today.

This week, The Takeaway radio show has been asking various people inside the Democratic Party about what they think its direction should be as part of their series The Road Ahead. I've heard a lot of good ideas, and at their core is the belief in democracy: that government should be of the people, by the people, and for the people. From Keith Ellison to Howard Dean, the people interviewed all said that the future of the party is coming from the grassroots up, not the top down. Like any good manager, the job of the people in charge is to facilitate the best ideas, remove roadblocks, and make it easier for everyone to get involved.

So, while the people who are good at meeting and facilitating and administrating are doing their jobs (God bless them! It ain't easy.), I'd like to submit my ideas for consideration. This is my take on a succinct statement of beliefs for the Democratic Party.  Here's a PDF you can download, too.

Please note this is not (yet) officially endorsed by the Democratic Party

I used the language that Democrats I know have already been using this year. "Resist" cropped up immediately after Trump's election, and hasn't diminished in the year since. "Reclaim" entered the conversation thanks to Representative Maxine Waters, who refused to allow others to ignore her questions or talk over her. "Rebuild" isn't a meme, it's just a simple statement of the work we have ahead of us to fix what's been broken and neglected.

My goal was to craft a statement of beliefs that can inspire those both within and outside the Party. I wanted something general enough that most of the Party's goals and values would be included, without getting bogged down in details, as we so often do. 

In the spirit of democracy, I would like to hear your feedback on this statement of beliefs. What would you change? What would you add? I'd like to continue the conversation to let America know what the Democratic Party believes, and hopefully inspire a few more people to say, "I want to be a part of that."

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