I realize it's early, but how should Democrats approach 2020?

Surely they have to build on Bernie - the base is there (under 30s, all social groups), the energy is there, it’s only going to build through this cycle as the malcontents grow.

Too many skeletons, plus I’m yet to be convinced The Bern has wide enough appeal. Sanders supporters remind me of Ron Paul supporters - a minority of extremely energized people who make a lot more noise than their actual numbers would suggest.

I think Franken could do it if he plays the “serious opposition” card right for the next two years.

I am well aware of this. However foolish it may seem, I’m willing to lose a few election cycles over it. As histrionic as I’ve become over Trump, I’ll accept that we’re in political exile and that the inmates currently run the asylum when the result could have been the opposite had the Democrats focused on the popularity of their talking points rather than the principle of their platform. The American left wouldn’t have defected for the GOP if the dems simply stopped talking about sensible gun laws, or transgender rights, or any other sensitive issue. It would have been the easiest thing in the world to do and would immediately pick up five, ten points of support across the board, but it’s a slippery slope, and I’m willing to lose a few more times not to go over that edge.

The problem is that if you have both parties playing to win in this manner and not sending up well-vetted and even-keeled candidates, then you’d end up with nothing but Steve Kings and Alan Graysons in office. No matter how noble the intent, the idea “we must first win, and then we may moderate” doesn’t exactly work when your actual party composition starts being dominated by the colorful puppets - note how wildly the Freedom Caucus has swung the Republican congressional presence to the right.

The Republican party is broken because of this, unlike most of their voters whom I’ve met who have reasonable policy preferences. I’m quite left-leaning, but even I will admit that I think we’re better off when we have a legitimate discourse between competing ideologies, the push-and-pull of progressivism and conservatism. If I could rewind time to before the Contract with America, when IMHO the GOP jumped the reality-tracks and started reducing everything to facile little sound bites and stories of a great culture war, and persuade them not to follow Newt into Talk Radio’s version of reality, I would - even at the cost of our progressive wing not having come as far in the last twenty years (seriously, look at what young people believe. It’s encouraging.) The last thing I want is to see the Democrats join the opposition in fantasyland.

I do not believe that we as a country can afford to have both parties in full pandering mode. Someone has to be the adult. And I will not concede that it’s impossible to win an election or govern this country with both feet firmly planted in reality. We don’t need to find our own Berlusconi, or Netenyahu, or Trump - nor do we need to find the blandest, most average and inoffensive white guy. We should stay the course, because the day both parties agree that the point is simply to win elections and not, you know, govern the country, we’re in much bigger trouble than we are even now.

I do agree with Gyrate that Franken would be an excellent choice, but he has the same problem Hillary did - a history of demonization from the right. He’d be a canny VP pick, though. Recent picks (Biden excluded, IMHO,) from both sides have ranged from uninspiring to horrifying.

Paul Ryan is now saying “this is the last chance to repeal Obamacare”–admitting that the Republican interval of holding both Houses and Presidency the will be brief.

The two are not mutually exclusive; you can have a good story AND a substantial platform (as indeed Obama did).

The problem is that 1) it needs to be a really good story, and 2) it needs to take hold at all levels, not merely the presidency. The Dems don’t have the media game that the GOP do, nor, despite the insistence that the MSM is in the bag for the Democrats, influential outlets willing to pound home the talking points like the GOP do. And they’re not very good at presenting a unified vision for the country, which is harder to do when your vision is based on a complex platform of material improvements rather than “Immigrants are taking yer jobs and transsexual perverts want to molest your children!”.

We’re in agreement, then. I didn’t say that I intend for the dems to lose the next few election cycles - in fact I think they’re poised to do quite well - only that if I were to choose between losing and mixing delicious, Freedom Flavored Kool-Aid to serve to the masses, I’d take the L.

My ultimate point is still in response to Adaher’s original question: how should the democrats approach 2020? We should tell a powerful story - one constructed from truths. This requires an ideologue, someone who is a skilled communicator, an upstanding person who is both constant in their beliefs and relatable in their demeanor, and with a serious streak of wonkishness: someone who sees the real-life implications for the working class and the marginalized in the daily policy minutia that passes through the house, and the state department, and the courts, and can translate that to the electorate. Someone, as you pointed out, very much like Obama.

Adaher, for instance, suggested Cory Booker. I like Booker quite a bit, but for all his strengths I don’t think he broadcasts that type of untampable earnestness that Biden or Bernie exude. Maybe he’ll settle into that role with a bit more seniority. Ckalli1998 recommended Warren as the current face of the Democratic party, but I feel she has a considerable relatability problem (and, similar to my concerns with Franken, has been cast as the second nasty woman from the left in the GOP’s Punch and Judy show.) I feel she’d be a better VP pick than headliner.

As I said, I’m keeping my eyes on Jeff Merkley. I also really like Patty Murray (my PNW background is showing here,) although I’m afraid she might be characterized as Hillary 2.0 by the right (and not just because she’s a woman, but also because of her institutional entrenchment in the democratic senate leadership.)

Boy, talk about counting one’s chickens before they’re hatched, or even laid in this case!

That’s what Democrats originally said about Trump’s campaign in 2016, which is why they wanted him to win the Republican nomination, which he did, so Hillary could easily beat him in 2016.

We all know how that turned out.

Honestly, if you Democrats want to do good, overconfidence isn’t what’s going to get you results.

Not trying to be snarky here, but that statement suggests a contrast. Do you really mean to suggest that Trump was the safe, quiet pick from the republican field?

Also, we do want to do good. Doing well in elections is only a consideration in service to that goal.

edit: okay, I am being a bit snarky but I don’t mean to be antagonistic. We obviously disagree on most things, but your recent posts have been quite reasoned and civil. I should have added a “;)”. Cheers!

As someone who predicted that Hillary would easily win, I will freely admit that I have egg on my face from the 2016 election outcome.

However - lightning striking someone is, on all accounts, a rare event. Even though Trump beat the odds in 2016, for him to pull it off again is still as unlikely or even more unlikely than the first time. I’m not betting on Leicester City repeating its championship run, or the Cavs repeating as NBA champions, or Appalachian State beating Michigan again.

Thanks. :slight_smile:

What I was saying was that people, either Republican or Democrat, should not be overconfident when looking at their election prospects and actually slack off on the work, as it won’t have good results, like how Clinton lost Wisconsin to Trump after not visiting it once after the DNC, a state last won by a Republican in the 1984 Reagan landslide.

We Republicans have sometimes suffered from arrogance too; Karl Rove was assuring everyone Republicans would hold on to both houses of Congress in 2006, but the corruption scandals of Abramoff, Delay, Cunningham and the moral failings of Mark Foley was too much voters to cast away, as was the incompetent prosecution of the Iraq War.

You’re totally right on this re 2016 and I agree with you concerning 2020, but I don’t think it’s premature to say that the democratic base is more fired up than we’ve ever seen them in recent memory, and that opposition to Trump as a figure is a powerful unifying force. I doubt that the Trump administration will go as well as he assures us it will, but *even if it does *democrats are going to be putting more legwork into the 2020 election than they did for 2008 to remove him from office. We really do see him as unacceptably compromised ethically, even if he could bring us five percent growth and an acceptable resolution to healthcare and other issues. I understand and accept that we disagree on the predicate here, but I hope you can see that our side isn’t being hypocritical either.

Taking that into account, I really do feel that now is the precise moment to put the traditional democratic timidity away and be bold - not necessarily to pander to the bomb-throwing fringes of the party, but to positively assert a party identity that stands for things beyond “we’re still here, we’re relatively acceptable, and we’re not Trump,” and rely on the hope that the electorate will be looking for change. I don’t think that it’s a step too far.

Perhaps I should have been clearer; not literally build on Bernie Sanders as he’ll be 80+, but on the substantial consensus that identified with his left of centre message.

It’s a very substantial and energised grouping that, with the right leader, can surely blow the rest away. You only need to look at Paul Ryan’s Powerpoint presentation today to see how bankrupt the Republican party is.

Democrats need to start now by establishing a dedicated task force committed to combating the half-truths, distortions, and outright lies that have so obviously become the Republican schtick that they barely bother disguising it anymore.

They already have such a task force. It’s called the mainstream media.

Actually I think that task force is currently called the AHCA.

I generally agree with this, but there’s also a trade off between coalition-building and the importance of an issue. For example if most gun control measures that are proposed by liberals will do little to actually reduce gun violence while it has a big negative impact on rural voters then it’s sensible to abandon or at least reduce the emphasis on that issue.

The transgender thing I understand, but I’m not sure how gun rights are a sensitive issue for liberals given that none of the proposals they have the courage to make are likely to make a dent in gun violence. And other principles they have(such as not wanting to throw people in jail for too long) work against stopping gun violence. What good are background checks if you don’t want to punish the people who violate the law harshly?

An incumbent President hasn’t lost an election since 1992, and in 2020 Trump will have removed his biggest weakness as a Presidential candidate: his empty political resume.

Trump can lose in 2020, but the Democrats better be prepared to earn it. Resting on your laurels after a victory is foolish; doing so after you were defeated is insane.

I’m not responding to OP, just to the date “2020” in thread title.

Please! The present government may be doing damage which is almost irreparable, but two years of destruction is still better than four years. If the Democrats gain control of one or both Houses of Congress in the 2018 election, the self-immolation of the Trump will follow. OTOH, if, despite clear evidence of harm, the American electorate chooses to leave the GOP in full control with that election to wait for 2020, I can only mourn. (With his wealth hugely increased, and the stresses of his incompetence mounting, the aging Trump will not stand for election in 2020 in any event.)

It is imperative to focus on 2018, not 2020.