It is time to redirect our anger
St. Louis American, Updated
It is now time to dissect the facts of the Trump presidency. It is time to redirect our anger, frustrations and other intense emotions into strategic shovels that will dig us out of the hole that we’ve dug for ourselves.
Let’s start with Hillary Clinton: wrong candidate, wrong campaign strategy.
Clinton was obsessed with being the first woman in the White House. This is not enough of a reason to run. Clinton was successful in convincing Democratic Party schmucks, along with the mainstream media, to prop her up at all costs. Her campaign raised about $1.3 billion for the propping. She had three times as many field offices as Donald Trump and spent almost twice as much as her Republican rival. These facts reek of inefficiency as well as a deaf ear to Democratic voter disillusionment.
If one looks at the way money and messaging was dealt with, one might conclude that some GOP operatives had infiltrated the campaign or that Clinton’s advisors were too arrogant to pay attention to the political landscape. Clinton can hardly claim to be women voters’ candidate with only 54 percent of women voting for her – and a majority of white women large enough to win the election for him (53 percent) voting for Trump. Black voters were never energized, although those who came out did cast their lot with Clinton, though less than for Obama. She did little to no campaigning in the Rust Belt, resulting in most of those states going down like dominoes for Trump.
These constituent groups make up the traditional base of the Democratic Party. Long taken for granted by the Party – and, in some cases, totally disrespected – many stayed at home.
Republicans now control all three branches of government in Washington, D.C. So much for checks and balances. In Missouri, it was not much better. The GOP already had a super-majority in both houses of the state legislature. On November 8, they swept all the state offices – U.S. Senator, governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer.
Most Show-Me State Democratic candidates and elected officials have consistently failed to distinguish themselves from their GOP counterparts. In most states, the Dems have proven to be impotent in their ability to capture the imagination of their base, to galvanize them around a platform that truly translates to political empowerment and that leads to measurable improvement in the declining quality of their lives.
Even for Constitutional Amendment 6 that will restrict the voting rights of mainly Democratic voters, the party mounted no meaningful statewide strategy to educate voters (especially out-state ones) of the amendment’s harmful impact. Nationally, the party has failed to aggressively fight back other voter restrictions that would be in its own self-interest to defeat. That fight seems to left up to voter rights groups to take on.
What role did the progressive social justice movement have in this presidential fiasco? We did not and do not hold the Democrats accountable. Dems have continually told us they are the only ones who love us and we keep believing them, even after they throw us under the bus.
The movement for black lives must build strong organizations and networks that have, as one of their core components, building political power. We need to start an intentional grooming process for candidates who share our values and vision and not wait until an election is upon us, then throw people in races. If our movement is to be taken seriously by either party, our strategy and tactics must reflect a sophistication warranted by the dangerous times we are in.
The Trump campaign was fueled by white extremists who think they got their country back. Their mission is to deport immigrants, to detain black and brown citizens as criminals, to strip women of their legal rights – well, maybe to just strip them. Trump voters who are part of the 99 percent have been hood-winked to think a CEO who treats workers badly will become a president who puts their self-interests at the top of his agenda.
Incredible opportunities are before us to organize supporters of Bernie Sanders who have been overlooked by all parties. There is massive discontent all around for many legitimate reasons. There are divergent views about the direction of this country. In the months and years to come, those who want to build a true democracy can change the tide. It is going to take a smart strategy and hard work by millions of us who believe in freedom.