What Are We Looking for In a New Democratic Leader?

TRUTH WATCH-This is one of the most important questions of our time. As we continue to be horrified at the daily onslaught of conservative Republican and Trump blatant disregard of both law and the people, we need to establish a firm concept of who and what we want to represent our forward-thinking views. 

Everyone may have a “wish list” of issues, agenda and intent, but before I go into that, I want to be very clear about the behavior of those that want to limit candidates to those that pass their “purity test.” I am referring to those on the extreme left, who continue to scream, yell and demand that they have their own way and everyone else is to be thrown out. They have no loyalty to anyone but their own self-interests and are so bad that they act out in anger in the same way as the Trump supporters. 

There is nothing in life, love, biz or politics where you get everything that you want and if you aren’t willing to come to the table to talk, work together and understand that we all need to meet halfway, then you are not invited. This type of behavior is both childish and unacceptable. 

As a party, we are addressing many of the mistakes of the past and embracing a larger area of change than has happened in many years. Change is difficult and doesn’t happen quickly, but it is happening. 

Top Tier  --  For ‘We the People’

Almost all liberals agree on many of the topics and beyond just the image above, we have added a few additional/enhancements that have come front and center. The most critical include: removal/destruction of “Citizens United,” reduced healthcare costs to move to healthcare for all, new laws and guidelines to prevent the government loopholes that have allowed Trump and the GOP to obstruct justice as well as profit, a new tax bill that offers more equitable solutions for all Americans (not just the 1%), hands-off laws for both Medicare and Social Security so that the government cannot touch or reduce benefits that we have paid for our entire lives and enhancing both of these programs for improved benefits, moving the retirement age back to 65 years, escalation of renewable/sustainable energy sources so that the U.S. can be a leader in addressing climate change, equity for women and addressing women’s issues and the LGBTQ community, a more equitable approach to immigration with a path to citizenship as well as approval of DACA, creating laws regarding “gerrymandering”  --  which the GOP has devoted years in establishing so that they can cheat to win, commitment to joining the global community for the advancement of humanity and the planet. 

Probably one of the most important actions will be to spend the years required reversing all the damage that the Republicans and Trump have caused. This may take decades, as they have quickly pulled almost all the support factors that have been levels of protection so that they can glean profits and scam the average citizen. 

A leader of the Democratic Party will need to understand the plight of all Americans in many demographics. The individual will maintain the core values that have been the mainstay of the Party and add the enhanced and enlightened vision of those that we have added and changed. It will not be tolerated to throw any of these values under the bus to try to attract middle-of-the-road voters. 

No One Is Perfect 

Each and every person has actions in their past, especially their youth, that they feel were mistakes. There is no political candidate that is perfect. These candidates know that they will be placed under a microscope of scrutiny and that we hold our candidates to higher standards than the Republicans. Of course, given the Trump scenario, the bar has been set so low, that we are now required to return to standards of the past that we held true. 

Politics is a dirty game and for every individual that wants to step forward as a candidate, there will be conservatives that seek to dig up or even create false narratives about them. In our time where Russian and Macedonian purveyors of fake news have destroyed candidates, we need to focus on creating fact checking sanctuaries and debunking those who are trying to influence our thoughts and attitudes. Since so much information is shared on social media, use that as a tool to get the word out and cut these attacks off before they take on a life of their own. 

Expecting perfection is not realistic and voting for a Presidential candidate is not a high school popularity contest. We need to accept a candidate for all their human frailties and errors in life, but also ensure that the candidate has upheld the words that they have spoken with actions and deeds. The individual(s) that we are going to look to must also have a history that is supportive of our fellow liberals and not demonstrate that they will attack for personal gain or popularity. 

It has become quite apparent that the GOP has no interest in working in a bipartisan manner, but after this past year, people are leaving their party in droves. The fallout may be the destruction of their party and the jury is still out as to whether they will make decisive changes in their approach. 

The candidate that becomes our voice will need to be savvy as well as observant to see what areas are available to work together to achieve common goals. President Bill Clinton is an example of a President who had the ability to bring many from opposing sides together to talk and work things out. Whether we like them or not, conservatives make up part of the country and our side needs to recognize them, even if the other side doesn’t. 

We also want to begin looking at the younger talent that we have, both male and female. We have had a history of old men and this time is done. The individuals need to have the experience under their belts as well as a touch of wisdom but no more old white guys. 

We Need a Message 

It’s not enough to say that the other side is just down right crazy, because that achieves nothing. As a party and as individuals who want to rally around our candidates, we need a concise and definitive message that is both appealing and a call to action. We need to incorporate movement, action and the ability to address the people as a whole. 

We have already witnessed the lowest dredges of our society that were attracted to racism, bigotry, sexism and hate. This is not who we are and not what our country is about; it only opened the doors for the muck that has been hiding under the rocks to seep out. 

We need a message that taps into the hope of what Americans want to achieve, the ability for people of even the most desperate conditions to know that we not only stand with them but are willing to work to assist in a better future for them and their children. The candidates of our choice will revel in the ability to see that power can bring change and that we need this moment in our time to accomplish the dreams of many. 

The message needs to be realistic and by that I mean that “pie-in-the-sky promises” will not be accepted. Making statements that they can completely change the ideologies of a democracy are simply lies and you need only dig a little bit under the surface to see that they usually have no details and no idea of how to accomplish them. There is a vast difference between visionary and fantasy. 

The message also needs to convey that everyone is welcome to be part of the journey. We invite peaceful debate and intelligent conversation. We are a country built on diversity and this is one of the areas that the world looks to us in respect. We will not accommodate any who want to exclude those based on race, creed, religion, color, or gender.

Work Within the Current System to Make Change for the Future 

One of the greatest challenges that we have is in understanding that the conservatives have incredible investors with deep pockets. They are willing to spend billions to get their candidates elected. Our current Citizens United condition allows and even encourages SuperPacs and we need to fight fire with fire to compete. To make the kinds of changes that we want for the future requires that we accept the investment of SuperPacs on our side now. Some may view this as dancing with the devil, but there are often steps that must be taken that are distasteful to achieve our ultimate goals. 

A candidate or candidates that we choose will understand that one of the baseline priorities shared by a majority of liberals is in the removal of this type of financial backing in politics. The destruction of Citizens United and any legislation that allows corporations to invest always leads to the belief that there is a “quid pro quo,” even when there isn’t. 

Working within the system is a common action and is exemplified in business when a company brings in a new CEO to make drastic alterations to a corporation. To achieve a new mission statement, there is a requirement to work with the tools of success that you have and then move the temperature and vision forward. 

There is a swath of liberals that have taken a stand refusing to support any candidate who accepts money from corporations. While it might appear honorable, it is instead destructive. One cannot come to a battle with a kitchen spoon when the opposition has a sword. If we want to truly “win” we need to play on an even keel and this means financial backing from both the people and those companies that can help us get there. 

The information contained here may be just a partial list of our goals, hopes and aspirations. As we move closer to the time of choosing, we will be seeing many new faces and voices. We need to work together for ourselves, our country, our children and grandchildren and our planet. Getting everyone out to vote is critical. Volunteer in small and great ways. 

This is our opportunity and we want to succeed.


(S. Novi is a writer who was a journalist working in the media when it DID have integrity. A liberal and one that is suspicious of cults and empty promises. Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.