If Democrats want to take back the White House start now
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While America is only one month into the presidency of Donald Trump, the level of political unrest and subsequent activism has reached levels largely unseen in the past generation.

Beginning with the Women’s March on Washington and proliferating into demonstrations as response to the countless issues under threat from a Trump White House, many Americans are desperate to change the status quo.

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Meanwhile, Democrats are attempting to make their brand of politics resonate with the rural voters who rejected their presidential candidate last November largely due to her lack of a concise jobs narrative.

 

However, through their soul-searching it doesn’t seem as if they have found a way to harness the malaise of activists and translate it into political momentum that can bring back congressional seats or the presidency.  

At their recent retreat, it seemed as if there was still a lack of consensus amongst Democrats as to which path forward they would adopt. Freshman Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) who represents the Silicon Valley, expressed his support for the likes of Robert Reich or Paul Krugman to add to party discourse.

While a more telling quote came from Rep. Marcia FudgeMarcia Louise FudgeThe nearly 60 Dems who voted for impeachment House rejects Democrat's resolution to impeach Trump Dem plans to force House floor vote on impeaching Trump MORE (D-Ohio) when she lamented that “one of the things we have to do is stop listening to the consultants who continue to lose, I think at some point we have to listen to the people who win.”

President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for ‘serious case of amnesia’ after testimony Skier Lindsey Vonn: I don’t want to represent Trump at Olympics Poll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with Russia MORE’s big win didn’t come as result of much brilliance, rather the simple ploy of selling a story to Americans that he could return the sort of economic security and blue-collar jobs that many of them desire. Make america great again merely conjured nostalgia amongst voters instead of offering them a tangible and evidence-based policy plan.

One man cannot outmaneuver globalization and automation to restore jobs that once existed and it’s high time that Democrats capitalized on President Trump’s mendacity by telling voters a different story — one of true job opportunity through the renewable energy revolution.

The next chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) should work with top Democratic donors to create grassroots operations in a multitude of red states and relay to their people that 1 in 50 new American jobs in 2016 was created by the solar industry.

That these jobs also grew 12 times faster than overall job creation meaning that there are more jobs in the solar industry than in oil and gas. Then add that according the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the fastest growing job in the country is a wind turbine service technician with a growth rate of 108 percent since 2015. 

Close with the message that President Obama invested roughly $66 million for job retraining programs in coal country through the Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) initiative (which could be scrapped by Trump) and the case is made stronger that one party is committed to actual job creation not just keeping current industries artificially afloat through protectionist measures.

Democrats should also relay to concerned Americans that while protests in D.C. gain the nation’s attention they often fail to persuade members of Congress to change their voting patterns. That’s why in addition to encouraging Americans to call their representatives it’s important to emphasize the importance of localized action.

For instance, Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees House Republican: 'I worry about both sides' of the aisle on DACA Overnight Health Care: 3.6M signed up for ObamaCare in first month | Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' next year | Dems push for more money to fight opioids MORE (R-Wis.), while easily winning his last election comes from a district that has swung for democrats before. There would be no quicker way to make him begin to change his stances on everything from social welfare to climate change than creating an opposition movement in his district.

Holding sizable and constant rallies in his district, canvassing, and bombarding his hometown paper with op-eds highlighting his obstruction of the aforementioned issues would force his office to respond.

We’ve seen a bit of this type of action with recent ObamaCare protests at the town halls of Reps. Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzDem demands documents from TSA after scathing security report Chaffetz replacement sworn in as House member Democrats expand House map after election victories MORE (R-Utah) and Diane BlackDiane Lynn BlackRyan picks his negotiating team for tax cut bill Overnight Finance: House approves motion to go to tax conference — with drama | GOP leaders to consider Dec. 30 spending bill | Justices skeptical of ban on sports betting | Mulvaney won't fire official who sued him Lawmakers take to Twitter to spread the Thanksgiving cheer MORE (R-Tenn.) yet, do your job should be the chant heard at every Republican town hall around the country.

Though these tactics can prove to be powerful in grassroots organizing, there is also an important distinction for the DNC to help make: there is a difference between issues that voters care about and issues that actually shape their votes.

A Gallup poll put out last March revealed that 65 percent of Americans acknowledge anthropogenic climate change which at first glance seems like a heartening statistic to activists. However, the better statistic here would be the percentage of Americans who would be unwilling to vote for a candidate that didn’t acknowledge this science or wasn’t willing to support legislation abating its effects.  

This may sound simple but as we saw through the data of last November’s election, the most vital issues for Americans are jobs and the economy and they are the primary drivers of votes cast.

If Americans want Democrats to win back Congress and the White House (and if Democrats are serious about that themselves) then they must start quickly, and by organized means, spreading the message that the best chance blue-collar Americans have of securing reliable employment is through the renewable energy industry and that Democrats have been its primary champion and will remain as such.

Rural American voters made their voices very clear that they are one-issue voters and there’s a good chance they can be sympathetic to other social issues once provided the job security they yearn. It’s time that those opposing President Trump begin to apply strategy to making their tent the biggest one of all.  

Miroslava Korenha is a Sustainability Consultant who has worked for numerous NGO’s and the American Chemistry Council (ACC) on sustainability issues. 


The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.