What would you change about the Democratic Party?

On May 17,2018 members of Democrats Abroad Lyon Chapter met to discuss the topic “What would you like to change about the Democratic Party?” The session grew out of hearing frequent objections from liberals and progressives to the behavior of our party before, during and after the 2016 Presidential election.

Our intended agenda was to look at the Democratic Party Platform and evaluate whether it addressed and prioritized issues correctly, and then to look at the Unity Commission Report to see if it went far enough to right the wrongs identified since the election.

It quickly became apparent that our members were not interested in evaluating policy. Instead, they had enormous pent up disappointment and doubt that needed to be expressed. We were lucky to have a diverse group representing both the East and West coasts of the U.S., as well as a few folks from the heartland. We were also fortunate to have a millennial with us who was very eloquent about the disenchantment of his generation with the party’s process.

The discussion was emotional. There were two main themes: expressions of angst over broken problems and suggestions for reforms and solutions. Here are extracts from the evening’s conversation.

Broken Promises and other problems

“We need a candidate who embodies both parts of the party, mainstream and progressive.”

“The Democratic party needs to learn how to address the political, geographic and rural center of the country if it is to win a national election.”

“The most energetic voters are the far right and the far left.”

“The Democratic Party has become just another party of white men.”

“The Party underestimates how much disappointment exists over the performance of the Obama administration.”

“The Party spit in the face of young voters. They need to do something to restore opportunity if they want to keep young voters.”

“There has been a loss of faith that the party will do what they say they will do.”

“The Party uses black voters for their purpose (to get elected) and then ignores them when governing.”

“During the campaign, the Republicans had a wider field of candidates and therefore their process looked more transparent. It appeared that, on the Democratic side, the DNC put their fingers on the scales.”

Reforms and Solutions

“Voters don’t care about platform. Politics is an emotional game. We need to build a brand and create brand loyalty, revisiting the concept of Yellow Dog Democrats who would vote for a yellow dog rather than a Republican.”

“Build and strengthen our ties with universities, creating international connectivity among universities and a global movement.”

“Fix the electoral college system. Control the message by speaking of Trump as ‘the president elected by the electoral college, not by the people’.”

“Work towards a constitutional amendment on congressional term limits.”

“Radicalize the middle because the progressive agenda is best for them too.”

“Hold election day on a weekend to improve voter turnout.”