November 9th served as an alarming wake-up call for the Democratic Party as they had lost control of the executive, meaning they will hold no branch of government for the next two years. Now while there is not a single factor in the party’s loss it is clear that the Democrats lack a national message that resonates. With two years of complete unaccountability for the first time since 2007, the Democrats have unique opportunity to re-invent themselves.
The Democrats now twenty-four months to solidify a message, as they are unbounded to the criticisms of any gridlock. With the Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair up for grabs it is now the responsibility of whoever claims to outline a clear definition of what the party stands for. Further, with Senator Harry Reid outgoing they now have the opportunity for fresh leadership in the Senate and the potential ability to provide a new and improved opposition against the Republican agenda.
Sticking up for Obamacare will be key if the Democrats wish to recover their electoral prowess. If the Republicans do decide to pursue a full scale repeal and offer little by way of a solution to the issue of healthcare in the country, then they will leave almost 20 million without any health insurance. It will be the Democrats responsibility to respond to this in an effective manner with a renewed plan, something that could be key to reclaiming control of congress in 2018.
With record numbers of American now believing in climate change (around 70%) and more Americans ‘worried a great deal’ by climate change (around 64%), now would appear to be the time to make leaps and bounds in responding to the issue. President-elect Donald Trump has made it clear that he is going to neglect the issue over his tenure, seen through his appointment of Scott Pruitt to head up the EPA. As Oklahoma attorney general, Pruitt has filed countless lawsuits against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in an effort to limit its ability to create regulation, aimed at slowing the rate of climate change. So while this is clearly an issue for majority of Americans it is one that will almost certainly be neglected by every aspect of the Republican government. It will be the job of the Democrats to once again highlight this issue to the public and take advantage of it during the mid-terms.
Trump’s isolationist tendencies, should they be carried out with tariffs against the likes of China, will have the effect of rising prices for the average consumer on their daily shop. In theory buying American products sounds great but if it’s twice the price for the same commodity (with one being made abroad) the consumer will almost always choose the cheaper option. Ultimately American importers will struggle with the Trump presidency and so will be forced to rally around the Democrats, but the party must highlight the consumer problems in order to win over vast swathes of middle class voters in the midterms.
As an opposition party it will be considerably easier for the Democrats to call foul every time the Republicans passes a politically popular piece of legislation. Much like the Tea Party springing out of President Obama’s healthcare plans, the left should respond by building a resistance against Trump in a similar manner. A fresh grassroots organisation that can excite Democratic voters once again and drive turnout during the midterms. Fundamentally, the Democratic Party needs a message beyond ‘just not Trump’; they need to solidify exactly what that means and what damage he could do to the average American. As put by Margaret Thatcher: ‘First you win the argument, then you win the vote.’ And that is exactly what the Democrats need to do over the next two years: not only state their argument but win them with a clear message that can excite people once again.
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