He Won, We Lost; Time to Get Busy

— David Horsey / Los Angeles Times

For the Bully President and his henchmen it’s all about winning, and they’re 4-0 in this year’s special election season. He won’t soon let any of us who seek sanity and dignity in our government forget that he won and we lost.

Clearly the mood in the country hasn’t changed since November. The Russian hacking — and possible collusion by the Trump campaign — investigations with our long-running adversary has had no impact on the general electorate. Republicans continue to support the current Oval Office occupant. Democrats continue to rage against his administration.

The anti-progressive message incorporated into GOP campaigns — opposition to any advances the Obama administration hammered out during the past eight years — play well on Main Street USA. The alternate reality world the Bully President builds each day with his lies and misdirections apparently provides comfort to Republican voters.

Forget the morale-building assessments from last night’s election results. No matter how well the Democratic candidates performed, they still failed to take away any congressional seats from the GOP. The problem remains that the opposition party finds it impossible to create and effectively sell a message that resonates beyond rank-and-file Democrats.

Running anti-Trump ads, hammering away on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s rumored investigation of the Bully President, highlighting the anti-everything-Obama positions of Republican opponents does not excite Independents nor moderate Republicans. For that matter, it apparently doesn’t generate enough excitement among Democrats to get the party faithful out to vote on election days.

Winning back Congress or the White House in the next few election cycles is not going to be easy for Democrats or third-party dreamers. Hard work at the grassroots level — beyond organizing get-out-the-vote efforts — needs to start now. But not by sending out surveys asking what voters want from their elected officials. Take a page from CNN contributor Van Jones and get into the living rooms, the back yards, the diners and drive-ins across the country. Talk to people. Listen carefully to what they say.

Don’t talk at these folks; talk with them. Engage in meaningful dialogue about how we put our country back on track to becoming a respected, powerful leader of democracy around the world. If they tell you to focus on matters at home, don’t promise them results you can’t deliver.

If they are unemployed and have been for some time, don’t promise them a job if your candidate is elected unless you know for a fact that jobs in that area of the country are being created, or will be shortly. Don’t promise them a free college education unless you have institutions of higher learning lined up and willing to participate in a program that will result in degrees or certificates that will open doors to greater workplace opportunities.

Building a believable message and selling it to the voting public is only part of the answer to returning America to a country that not only respects all of its citizens, but people from all walks of life around the world.

Recruiting candidates who believe in the messages and can deliver them in an inspiring manner — and with a little bit of an edge to thwart GOP negative attack dog office seekers — is crucial. Voters need to get caught up in a movement led by a person they can believe represents American values past, present and future.

An example: U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III of Massachusetts. He has strongly spoken out against Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. He has substance and style. He speaks for the people he represents and, most importantly, he has a vision — like his Kennedy family ancestors — for our country that could produce future election day victories for candidates who put country before party.

Yes, Mr. Bully President, it’s 5-0 for the moment. But this is only 2017. We have a few months before the congressional mid-term elections begin and there are enough of us concerned about the direction  you’re taking our country to challenge your anti-Obama, anti-American, GOP-only thinkers next year, and more than even the won-loss record when the vote counts are completed.

The work for Democratic leaders and Independent-minded voters has to start now. It has to start on the streets and in the neighborhoods across the country. A plan, a mission to put our country back on track must be produced, one that will excite the voters of all political stripes across this country.

Morale-boosting results, not wins, will not cut it next year.

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