The Democratic Party is at a crossroads between two very distinct choices. They can continue pushing left and forward to become the party of America’s future, or they can try to court the white working class voters they lost in the ‘60s.
At the end of the day there are plenty of reasons the Democrats lost this election, but instead of harping on them, the best course of action is for the par to unite under new leadership. This is our only chance to regain control of the Senate, the House and eventually the presidency.
However, a state of apathy plagues the party. This apathy needs to stop immediately, and that starts with changing the party leadership. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair will not only be responsible for organizing and rebuilding a party that refuses to admit that it is broken, but also decide what Democrats will be known for 10 years from now.
As of today, we have three very qualified candidates actively seeking the role of the chair whom all represent a very different path the party could take.
Gov. Martin O’Malley, Gov. Howard Dean and Rep. Keith Ellison have all discussed the possibility of running for the position,. At their core they are doing what they believe is best for their party, but now is the time for the party to decide who genuinely would lead Democrats successfully in the years to come. It is time to embrace the millennials, the progressives and the minorities that have put their faith in a party that still has yet to prove its loyalty to its constituents.
Local elections, grassroots movements and reaching out to the community is how we rebuild our party. We can’t rest on California and New York, but that doesn’t mean we must pull a complete 180 in policy and our ideals.
Donald Trump won because he preyed on fear and pretended to exist outside of the bounds of a system he has been playing since the 1980s. The protests and anger cannot disappear just because our president-elect changes his tune on a few issues.
We need to continue to push our government to acknowledge our concerns, not just bend to the broader appeal.
As a party, we need to listen to and discuss issues with the opposite side, but that does not mean that we should give up on our own values. We need to move forward and finally become the party that our members have been promised: the party of equality.
Jesse Saunders is the President of the Hofstra Democrats
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