Democrats are scrambling to win state and local elections in the hopes of stopping the Trump Kakistocracy, or a government run by the worst officials among us.
One of the chief concerns is that Trump’s threats toward other countries could set the nation “on the path to World War III,” namely North Korea. Even Republicans are concerned about it.
But if history is an indicator, Democrats are poised to win back the House, which could further hamper Trump’s agenda to dismantle Obama-era policies, including health care, immigration and tax overhaul.
“The president’s party typically suffers in off-year elections like the one we’ll have in 2018,” CBS wrote. “Recall President Barack Obama’s Democrats losing Congress in 2010 or President George W. Bush’s Republicans losing Congress in 2006. Or President Bill Clinton’s Democrats losing in 1994.”
Indeed, more women running for office, more candidates inspiring constituents and making more alliances to overcome political barriers are parts of a multi-pronged effort Democrats must travel to wrest control of governorships and state houses from Republicans.
After Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential victory, a growing number of Democrats, many of whom are Black women and other people of color, are working hard to win back the House of Representatives in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections by becoming candidates.
Karine Jean-Pierre, senior advisor and national spokesperson for MoveOn.org public advocacy group is seeing a recent untraditional influx of women candidates coming forward in the wake of the Donald Trump victory – a sign of a change in American political landscape.
“We have seen people prompted to run for office and people announcing their candidacies at all levels as a direct result of Trump’s elections and his harmful agenda. Following the Women’s March, we’ve seen women raising their hands across the country to run for office. These are people who are not career politicians or beholden to corporate America, corporate interests.”
“The key is to find authentic, progressive candidates who stand up for their values and can inspire voters across the board to turn out for them,” she said.
Jean-Pierre, a professor at Columbia University School of International Public Affairs and former White House aide and campaign aide to President Barack Obama, said blaming voters isn’t an effective tactic for analysts, voters or elected officials.
“What Democrats need to do to excite their base is [have] a diverse slate of candidates focused on both economic populism as well as social justice – what we call inclusive populism.” —Jean-Pierre,a professor at Columbia University School of International Public Affairs and former White House aide and campaign aide to President Barack Obama
“What Democrats need to do to excite their base is [have] a diverse slate of candidates focused on both economic populism as well as social justice – what we call inclusive populism,” Jean-Pierre said. “This means things like candidates who will stand up to Wall Street and fight for a $15/hour minimum wage, to expand, not cut healthcare coverage, who will protect and expand Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid. It also means standing with immigrants, supporting criminal justice reform, rejecting boarder walls, Muslim bans and other discriminatory policies.”
Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams, a Black woman running for governor of Georgia, says a favorable outcome for Democrats in key upcoming elections will be dependent on successful, concerted community outreach and education to encourage participation.
“Democrats should redouble their focus on registering and energizing blacks, Hispanics and Asian-Americans as well as young and low-income voters, who often decline to participate in elections,” she said in a May 2017 New York Times article.
Joel Rodriguez, who lost a runoff to beat New York City Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio, hoped to win by focusing on the “forgotten community,” he told NewsOne. The 4-year veteran of the New York City Police Department says the “forgotten community” of poor and working class voters are a key segment that’s been overlooked by the Democratic Party.
“If they don’t talk directly to the poor and the working class people, they will have a very hard time,” Rodriguez, pondering the Democrats comeback efforts for the 2018 midterm elections and beyond, said.
“I’m actually a little disappointed that they have not been a little more vocal in allowing people from the forgotten communities to be in public office because I think they have a lot to offer.”
For many, the expectation of the “perfect” candidate may sometimes impede the decision to vote. Black Lives Matter- Civil Rights activist DeRay McKesson, wrote in his 2016 Washington Post Op Ed piece, that he was voting for Clinton, despite that she “did not appear to understand the urgency of the need to address racism” in the infancy of her campaign. McKesson also wrote that he “did not agree with Clinton on everything” but that he “agreed more with her than he disagreed.”
Still, he emphasized the importance of voting because of the need for racial equality, community policing and criminal justice reform-issues from which the Black Lives Matter movement evolved in the first place. Those problems remain at the forefront of today’s racially divisive political climate.
Yes, race is an issue. Like the turnout in the two Obama elections showed, it is motivating for African American voters to have a competent black candidate as an option, but that simply is not the case in every election.
“We have to be more vigilant in voting whether it’s a black person on the ticket or not,” said Angela P. Dodson, author of “Remember the Ladies: Celebrating Those Who Fought for Freedom at the Ballot Box” from (Center Street Books). “Disproportionately, were able to overcome whatever flaws she might have had to one: vote for a woman, and one: vote for somebody that was more progressive, more in line with black needs.”
Historically, partnerships and collaborations have had an important place in America’s political progress and that can again be a beneficial tool in today’s efforts to make advances. Dodson’s book tells how the inclusion of women and men of different races helped to spearhead the initial women’s suffrage movement.
“It is “intrinsically” intertwined with other movements that were taking place at the same time,” said Dodson of the suffrage movement, noting that the influential 1848 Seneca Falls Convention, first women’s rights convention, included activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, black abolitionist Frederick Douglass and others pushing for women get the right to vote.
Women voters and women candidates are a part of the solution. There are other intentional obstacles making electoral efforts for candidates and constituents a lot more challenging.
Jean-Pierre – noting the lingering systematic barriers such as restrictive Voter ID laws – adds that there should be assurances that elections be fair, participatory and made more accessible to people of color.
“Voting ID law experts overwhelmingly agree that Voter ID laws are the modern day equivalent of Jim Crow— they are essentially a poll test,” she said, referring to the state and local laws and tactics that enforced racial segregation in parts of the U.S. from the Civil War’s end until the mid-1960s.
Anita M. Samuels is an author and journalist living in Brooklyn, NY. Rants & Retorts: How Bigots Got a Monopoly on Commenting About News Online, which targets hate speech against African Americans on mainstream online media websites, is her first book. The book is available at amazon.com