Two weeks into Trump’s carnage, Democrats face two questions.
First, can we channel the raging torrent of marches, protests and demonstrations into election victories?
Second, can we come up with a coherent and convincing message?
First, elections. You win with basics: Candidate recruitment, fundraising, voter registration and voter turnout.
It’s great to march, protest and demonstrate. It’s great to spread the good word on social media. But it means nothing if you don’t help good candidates get elected.
You can spend a day, an hour or a few minutes marching and posting. But winning elections takes hours, days, weeks, months and years of hard, sustained, focused, organized effort.
Now let’s talk message. Specifically, about two things that don’t work and one that does.
Doesn’t work: Ranting and raving about what a terrible human being Donald Trump is.
That’s a given. People know it. They took it into account when they elected him. But they elected him anyway. Why? They saw him as an anti-politician, and they hoped he would create jobs and fight terrorists.
Also doesn’t work: Ranting and raving about what terrible human beings his voters are. In politics, going negative on an opponent often works. But going negative on the voters never works. It hardens their hearts and minds. It makes them hate you. And never vote for you.
The focus needs to be what Trump does. How it affects people. And what Democrats would do differently.
The operative word is “do.”
Not “is” or “are.” We tried that. Hillary Clinton ran an “is/are” campaign. “(We Are) Stronger Together.” “Donald Trump is unfit for office.”
She forgot to say what she would DO. She ran on the premise that she’s a better person than Trump (which she is) and that you’d be a better person if you voted for her. She didn’t say clearly how you – and you and you over there and him and her and all of them – would be better off because of what she would DO as President.
Use action verbs. Is and Are aren’t action verbs.
A lot of anti-Trump energy is surging across the land today. A lot of voters will get tired of him and the Republicans fast. They’ll want a change in 2018.
This isn’t complicated. But it isn’t easy. Stop just being mad. Start doing good and working hard.