My Thoughts III: Season of the Witch
Apologies in advance if I sound like I’m repeating myself from previous pages. I’m just trying to organize and refine my thoughts. Let’s do this in a quasi-list form.
1 - We need a change in Democratic party leadership. Our strategy of circling the wagons has cost us dearly. Time for a change.
“But it was just one election.” Wrong! We got our asses handed to us in 2010 and 2014 too. And while Obama kept the oval office in 2012, we didn’t recover our losses from 2 years before. The excuse “it was just the mid-terms, what did you expect” obviously won’t work this time.
“But we mustn’t waste our war coffers on in-fighting. We have alot of seats at stake in 2018.” In case you weren’t paying attention, Trump just proved that campaign spending isn’t everything. And much more so than Obama did in 2012. No more using money as an excuse for complacency. We either evolve or die. It’s time for fewer tv ads, less fundraising, more social media presence, and otherwise more direct interaction with the public & press.
2 - We need to abandon cable news, and start financially supporting more trustworthy news sources, such as online print. Or at least those that still engages in investigative journalism. (lgf deserves support too, but keep in mind that this is a blog, not a source for news)
Twenty-four hour news channels have mostly dropped investigative journalism in favor of sensationalism and vapid, often cringe-inducing, filler. This is real problem, not just because of misinformation, though I don’t mean to downplay how problematic that is. It’s also perpetrating and exacerbating political polarization. Their business model revolves around that now. And it’s poison, I don’t care how many of their opinions you agree with. Political polarization is good at whipping up party bases, but at the expense of blinding us to tangible problems. It also blinds us to the opinions of swing voters, the undecided, and those who just sit things out in disgust.
Opinion polls about issues, especially the ones that allow more nuanced answers than “agree, strongly agree, disagree, ect”, consistently show that America is becoming more progressive, and that disagreements between most of us are much smaller than cable news has led us to believe. Said disagreements still exist, but they’re not insurmountable. We just need to engage “the other side” more, and not just to educate them. We also need to educate ourselves about our own blind spots. Such as this elephant in the room that we ignored during the election…
3 - The economic divide between cities and small towns. Cities have recovered from the recession. But rural communities have not. Obama’s economic platform, which Clinton echoed to no avail, revolved around service jobs such as infrastructure and mom-&-pop businesses. This works for cities, but not for lower population densities, even if local businesses survive the opening of a new Wal-Mart. (which they usually don’t)
Rural communities need manufacturing jobs. There’s no getting around that. We’ve gotta stop telling them “globalization is here to stay. Those manufacturing jobs aren’t coming back. Stop crying over spilled milk and suck it up.” We’ve just witnessed their retort at the ballot boxes.
Rural voters chose Trump and republicans, despite the man being a charlatan, and despite the party being largely to blame for outsourcing. Why? Because they’re the only ones promising the manufacturing jobs they need. Yes, I know those promises are empty. The libertarian-esque “solutions” conservatives are offering are just snake oil for the working class. The mess in Kansas isn’t the only time that’s proven that economic growth isn’t stimulated by cutting corporate taxes, regulations, and wages. But when you’re desperate, and your options are either snake oil or nothing, you will give the snake oil a chance.
But the fact that conservatives are offering false hope gives liberals a potential path to victory, if we can offer something better. Something real. Something that actually works.
Like what? Lemme brainstorm for a minute:
- How about government loans to start-up manufacturing businesses? Alot of green energy manufacturing companies got started during the Obama administration that way. Why not do more of this, focusing on locating them in small towns? And not solely for green energy. Hell, not just for start-up manufacturing companies either. Offer larger industries subsidies and tax-breaks that cover the expenses of building new rural operations? Or for buying, re-purposing, renovating, and reopening shuttered small town factories? (no, this isn't the same as cutting taxes for the wealthy. This is just covering initial expenses to get the ball rolling)
- Or how about using the "more jobs" sales pitch to increase NASA's budget? Voters won't care that the aerospace industry is more privatized now, so as long as it means more good paying jobs for them.
- Or how about harvesting more domestic lumber, as opposed to importing the majority of the wood we currently use? So long as we act responsibly, e.g. replanting and selectively harvesting, trees are a renewable resource. Plus, it's less dirty and dangerous work than fossil fuel extraction.
- While we're at it, why not end the exploitation of cheap farm labor? Close the farm loopholes in labor laws, make them pay living wages, and subsidize the farms for the difference in costs in order to keep our food cheap. We're already in the habit of subsidizing farmers for other reasons, so this isn't a hard sell.
Again, I’m just spit-balling here.The point is that it doesn’t take a helluvalotta imagination to find ways to, um “manufacture” more good-paying manufacturing jobs. We just need to shift the focus of our economic growth policies away from cities, since they’re well enough for now, and towards rural communities.
And if you’re concerned about backlash against increased spending, don’t be. Just propose taxing the wealthy more. Most voters are readily support that so long as they get the jobs they need.
TL:DR - the democratic party needs a change in leadership and modernization of basic campaign methods, especially de-emphasizing fundraising since campaign spending clearly matters far less than it used to. We need to move away from 24/7 cable news and deescalate political polarization on a personal and grassroots level, since each side shaming one another objectively causes harm and only benefits a cynical few. And we need to quickly shift our economic policy focus to giving rural America the one thing it needs most: good-paying manufacturing jobs.
This, I believe, is our path to victory in the coming years. We stick to our current ways at our own peril.