Tuesday, November 15, 2016

How to Win with Progressive Values after 2016

Many people from both parties have voiced concerns over how the country can move forward after such a toxic and divisive campaign. This toxic attitude will only dissipate with effort and action applied over an extended period of time over many election cycles across generations. 

We can't just come into people's lives every 2 or 4 years and expect them to start listening to what we have to say. 

We have to have to have a visible, active, and tangible presence in communities everywhere.

It's more than a 50-state strategy, it's a community by community strategy that gives us the opportunity to put a face and actions behind a message of togetherness and progressive values that all Americans actually share. 
+Wonderful World

It's so easy for far right conservatives to demonize liberals and progressive values when those groups don't stand up and speak out for those values when challenged in hostile territory. The same is true for liberals and progressives demonizing conservative and libertarian values and principles in cities.

The absence of rational voices for decades has left a vacuum and allowed one side to ram an intimidation and bully message in both rural and urban areas. Workers and the middle class have suffered as a direct result. 

+Wonderful World 
Most people's views are capable of being moved, but they're not going to be convinced in one conversation, in a series of conversations, or even in a decade of conversations. People are convinced by actions, by results, and by how they feel.

It takes a concerted effort to engage with Americans where they are, discovering why they feel the way they do, and adjust your own policy approaches and messages accordingly.

The most common liberal and progressive approach I've seen over countless election cycles is that being "right" should win the day. That's simply not how anyone convinces people about a belief or an opinion. 
+Wonderful World

We have to truly listen to others, not just tell them what to do and expect them to do it. 

If we can't translate a progressive policy agenda to these people in a way that they can understand and embrace, then we've failed them as well as our positive agenda for the country. 

We should be doing better. We can do better. And, we must do better. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Who Supported Trump and Why; Where do We Go From Here?

I’ve been talking to a lot of people, before and after the election, as to their support for Trump. 

For some background, I happen to live in Illinois, which went for Hillary, but I live in an area that is so deeply red and went about 60/34 for Trump. And that’s a good result for this area for Hillary, especially considering the heavy turnout in rural precincts.

I worked in a grassroots effort for other Democratic candidates on the ground, and we had one of the largest turnouts in decades here. It was a patchwork quilt of turnout. In some precincts and counties across the area, turnout was way down. But, in many others, the turnout was shockingly high. 

In my opinion, many regular Republican voters didn’t vote, or did so unenthusiastically. From all the poll watchers and election judges I've talked to across the area, people showed up to the polls that hadn’t voted in decades. It was as shocking to them as it was to us on the ground.
+Amazing World

So, to the question as to why people voted or supported Trump. There were a lot of different reasons I’ve discovered. 

One of the top reasons would be Obamacare. People in the rural areas were hit harder by the fines for not having coverage and also weren’t offered health insurance by their employers. Employers were hit hard for the same reasons. This group was seething mad about this issue. If you had children in a divorce, you may have been hit doubly hard, especially if you had to pay for their healthcare out of your own pocket or paycheck that hadn’t grown much in decades.

They ended up not blaming their employers for not raising their wages and not offering healthcare coverage. They didn’t trust or weren’t willing to listen to anyone connected to President Obama that said they would fix the problems with the law. They were over it.
+Amazing World

Other groups of people I talked to were seething mad about Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. They just hated her for some conspiracy-laden reasons that weren’t backed up by the facts. If it wasn’t Benghazi it was emails. If it wasn’t Bill Clinton, it was the pack of lies they say she had made over the years. Try and tell them something different about all of those things, they just wouldn’t listen. Try and tell them Trump was far worse, they didn’t care.

I do believe this second group of people were never going to vote for a woman, were never going to vote for a Democrat this year, and just had a pack of excuses to scapegoat their choice. If Bernie had been the nominee, the outcome would have been far worse, IMO. I could be wrong, and I’m sure about every Bernie supporter would strongly disagree with that assertion. If Bernie had been the nominee, those other Republican voters who stayed home would have came out in force for any Republican, including Trump. 
+Amazing World

And, there absolutely were a number of people that were driven to support Trump by his divisive, conspiracy-ridden, misogynistic, bigoted, and xenophobic rhetoric. These people range in ages, which would be a surprise to many. 

Yes, there are many young people growing up with an array of troubling and troubled views of others that aren’t like them. There are many of these types of children and adolescents being raised to be this way throughout rural America. If the Democratic Party really think this problem will die off, they’re dead wrong. (That’s why I strongly urge Democrats to get busy and engaged in rural areas. Stop relying on urban and suburban areas to carry general elections. It’s not a winning strategy.)
+Amazing World

However, the support of Trump because of these extreme views is not what won him the Electoral College, and thus, the Presidency. These are definitely some of the loudest voices on social media that were part of the Trump base, that includes gays and women that supported Trump. However, I just don’t buy into the narratives that these won him the White House. 

People want to group everyone together into these monolithic, homogenous groups that just aren’t based in reality. The violence at peaceful protests don’t have anything to do with one another. The vast majority of these protesters are just exercising their right to peaceably assemble to right to free speech. 

The same can be said of all those who voted for Trump in this election. They don’t condone all of his hateful, divisive rhetoric, nor do they support the real violence that continues to take place against minorities, women, and the LGBT community across the country. Of course President-elect Trump doesn’t want violence done against others in his name.
+Amazing World

If you believe he would condone such violence, then you would also allow others to believe similarly about those who are committing violence on Trump supporters being condoned by President Obama, right? 

Basically, both parties have left rural America behind. Trump was the perfect vessel for their vengeance on Republicans and Democrats. Try running as a Democrat in rural America with or without support from the state or national parties. The groundwork and foundation simply isn’t there and there also hasn’t been a relevant, rational, public discourse about ideas in these areas for decades.

If both parties continue their strategy of disinterest and “couldn’t care less” philosophy, there will always be a place for a disruptive, caustic character such as Trump to take advantage. I wish I had some answers as to how to bridge the divides. I’m working to understand what just happened instead of just rage against those who disagreed with me. I think that’s a better place to begin a conversation.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Congrats, President-Elect . . . Looking Back on A Tough Race

I wanted to give a word of congratulations to Donald Trump, who had a surprising turnout across the Rust Belt today. Simply stunning.

I do hope that despite the lack of decency and the lack of understanding of the issues that he often displayed that he and others will somehow he cobbles together a successful administration that benefits everyone, not just those at the top. 

That might come as a surprise to many people. I believe that we have to strive to work together, whomever is elected. We can’t afford to use divisive, poisonous rhetoric. We can’t become histrionic and threaten throwing a fit, leaving the country, and not participating in this great democracy that is America. 

I do believe in the coming days the autopsy of this race will find a couple of key ingredients in Trump’s win. 
+Wonderful World

The 5 to 8 percent of the vote that went to Gary Johnson and Jill Stein in states like Wisconsin and Michigan were the difference between winning and losing. It was 2 to 3 percent of the vote and the difference in Pennsylvania, Florida, and North Carolina. 

And, that’s how you elect someone else by voting for someone who has no chance.

The Comey letter to Congress regarding Clinton’s email server and subsequent secondary letter that declared ‘nothing new here’ gave rise to a buoyed Trump campaign in the last two weeks.
+Wonderful World

And lastly, the women, millennials, and minorities simply did not show up in as big of numbers as they needed to in order to protect the legacy of President Obama and to promote their own agenda.

It will now all be in the hands of President-Elect Donald Trump and a GOP-controlled Congress. 

You sometimes get what you want. Other times, not so much. That’s what democracy is all about. And, I at least have a clean conscience for doing what I could during this election. 

Here in Coles County we were successful in at least passing a 1% sales tax for our community schools. That is at least something. And, I was thrilled to meet, work, and help support an amazing network of such motivated, inspired, and hardworking people in this community.

I do hope that we all do come together, that somehow the Congress, the President-elect, and the States can work together to actually raise wages, rebuild the middle class, promote opportunity, and protect those in need. 

They certainly cannot do it on their own. I do hope that they hold them to the same high standards as they have held others.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Today, I Proudly Voted for Hillary Clinton

I proudly voted for Hillary Clinton today. She’s the best candidate we could have ever hoped to have. That doesn’t mean I believe she’s perfect. She doesn’t even think she’s perfect. No one is.

If you drop the anger, drop the outrage, drop the talking points, she’s been amazing. She has comprehensive policies to move the nation forward, economically, with wages, to make health insurance and health care cheaper, to advance a forward-thinking foreign policy that relies on smart power. She’s about bringing people together, not tearing them down. 

A lot of people have been saying a lot about Hillary Clinton. However, most of these are designed to grab headlines and to make you angry and outraged. People don’t bother to care about the actual facts of the case, the context, nor the reality.
+Wonderful World

Hillary has fought long and hard for others. If you don’t believe that, you’ve bought into the lies of others that can’t handle that truth.

Have the Clintons profited from being in the public eye after leaving the White House? Of course they have. They’ve also paid their fair share of taxes and donated millions to charity. I call that pursuing good while making a living.

If you believe the Clinton Foundation hasn’t done amazing good acts for hundreds of millions of people around the world, you’ve bought into the lies of others that can’t handle that truth.

Did the Clinton Foundation take money from just about anyone? Yes. Did they do amazing good with that money? Absolutely. 

People, however, are making amazing claims about the Clinton Foundation that just aren’t founded in factual reality.

I could make a negative case against Donald Trump, who actually has used Trump Foundation funds to illegally fund political campaigns of attorneys general that were investigating fraud cases against Trump University who later dropped those fraud charges. He also used these charitable donations to pay off other legal fines and fees.

I could make the negative case against Donald Trump, who actually didn’t pay federal income taxes and hasn’t bothered to share his federal tax returns as the Clintons have done. Some will say he pays plenty of other taxes. Then, why not show us his tax returns?
+Wonderful World

He makes lots of claims about Hillary deleting emails, but he actually has deleted and destroyed documents and emails in multiple lawsuits against his companies. 

He actually has made terrible, heinous, and hateful statements about veterans, women, minorities, religions, and others. He actually has had numerous women who claim he followed through on some of the statements he was caught on tape saying about how he sexually assaults women.

And, for some reason, the Hillary haters continue to minute by minute spread their misinformation. It’s so sad if it wasn’t meant to purposefully distract and enrage voters. 

I’m proud to have voted for Hillary Clinton today. She’s going to be an amazing President if she happens to be elected next Tuesday. 

Go out and vote!