Blaming others for Hillary Clinton’s loss feels good but is likely to lead us to repeat our mistakes. We must look at the result and learn.
I, along with virtually everyone I know has spent the past 48 hours banging their head against the wall trying to understand how we have ended up with President Trump.
“People are racist.”
“People are stupid.”
“Everyone hates women.”
“The FBI stole the election.”
“Hillary was a terrible candidate.”
While I am certain that we can find some element of truth in each of the above, I believe that these are all traps for any of us who wish to ultimately reverse what has just happened.
Donald Trump has succeeded in convincing (almost) half of the electorate that the past is a better option than the future. This is a complete break with all of American History. Remember Reagan’s City on the Hill? Now we have Drain the Swamp. I assume that’s where some of us will be living.
Trump is loved for exclaiming that “Clean” Coal is a superior option to renewable energy. That Flexible Spending Accounts, which Paul Ryan conceived in grade school, are superior to the Affordable Care Act, which insures 20 million Americans, at least some of who must have voted for Trump. That not giving woman a right to choose their reproductive fate is better than to allow that freedom. That restricting trade is better than free trade.
How did Donald pull this off? Remember not only did he win the presidency but he essentially pulled off a insider take over of the Republican Party AND relegated the Democratic Party to the hinterlands for what could be a long time. Simply put, there is no precedence in American political history for the Donald.
I have come to believe that love him or hate him our President-Elect is the greatest marketer of our time along with Steve Jobs. Jobs had the ability to anticipate a need that no one else saw and then filled that need with one beautiful product after another.
What Trump has done is to tap into a feeling shared by millions of Americans that everyone else had missed.
He did this by listening to those that others ignored. He did this by understanding that while data and strategy may matter for crafting and implementing solutions, it’s USELESS for making people feel loved and cared for. After food, clothing, and shelter, the most important element in life is the need to feel loved, cared about, and important to others.
Trump showed what all leaders know they need to show to be successful. He showed empathy to a large group of people who felt unloved and unnoticed. He not only articulated their pain, he convinced them that he felt it and was motivated to help. This is what engendered loyalty that proved to be unshakable in the face of things that the rest of us found to be disqualifying.
As a comparison, while we all believed Hillary to be the better candidate, most of us believed this on an intellectual rather than emotional basis.
What’s done is done.
If Democrats want to have any chance of leading again, they must understand and accept why they lost. While the above is not the only reason, it is a key and one that will not allow us to blame others for our setback. It is up to us to adjust to our new world.
We must do this now. Democrats cannot wait until 2018 to lay the groundwork.
What are Americans craving but not receiving from us (and the Republicans). Where can government help and where should it stay away? What is important to you?
I firmly believe that Democrats must find a candidate who oozes empathy and not just in the eyes of their traditional voters but to as large a constituency as possible. This empathy needs to be authentic because, it’s likely that the Donald will ultimately disappoint his constituents and trust will be in even shorter supply. This means no technocrats or strategy wonks need apply. Not that we don’t need those folks, I just don’t believe that they are electable at this point.
The Dem’s bench looks pretty thin. Any ideas?