The Democrats can be great again, here’s how
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Democrats in 2017. They’re like the kids who fail a class and blame the teacher except they’re all grown-up and have financial backers.

You lose the 2016 election, it’s the Constitution’s fault. All your corruption gets exposed, it’s Russia’s fault. Lose your seats in the house, it’s gerrymandering. Lose your seats in the Senate, it’s dark money.

The 2008 election that left the Democratic party feeling invincible, seems so long ago. President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaHolder: DOJ, FBI should reject Trump's requests The Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — Frenzy over Kennedy retirement rumors | Trump challenges DOJ Asian American and Pacific Islander community will be critical to ensuring successful 2018 elections for Democrats MORE inspired the masses amidst an unpopular war and a financial crisis.


Obama offered up optimism and hope and change, and led the Democrats to a sweeping victory. That’s when the Democratic party made a mistake. 

A mistake so huge that New Coke has to climb a ladder just to look up at it. A mistake of Napoleonic, it’s-winter-but-let’s-invade-Russia-anyway proportions. And we’ve been watching that mistake play out ever since.

It’s the mistake that cost them the House in 2010, the Senate in 2014, the presidency in 2016, and oodles of state legislatures and governorships along the way.

So, what was the mistake? They mistook Mr. Obama’s popularity for their own. Here’s a simple analysis: President Obama is popular, the Democratic party is not.

Americans like Obama. Americans do not like the Democratic party. 

President Obama is Jurassic Park, Taken, and The Matrix. The Democratic party is all the terrible sequels.

All those big plans President Obama and the Democratic party made for America in 2008 are like all those Oscars Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari dreamed of winning on the set of Bosom Buddies.

History suggests that Americans don’t like one party being in power for too long and that Democrats have a good chance of making gains in the 2018 midterms. 

Unfortunately, they seem determined to carry on with strategies that are proven losers. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help make the Democratic party great again.

Step One: Settle on a less apocalyptic message.

Americans are tired of Progressive end-of-the-world-ism. From Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Finance: Trump signs repeal of auto-loan policy | Justices uphold contracts that bar employee class-action suits | US, China trade war 'on hold' Free traders applaud Trump as China tariff threat recedes The Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — Frenzy over Kennedy retirement rumors | Trump challenges DOJ MORE crying over an executive order, to David Frum tweeting “It’s a coup” after Comey was fired, the Democrats and their media have become hyperbole machines. The mainstream media has become a quixotic world where windmills are giants and sniffles are the bubonic plague. 

Everything President TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN's Zucker: Trump 'secretly watching CNN' all day and night GOP candidate behind 'Deportation Bus' loses in gubernatorial bid Penn to Hewitt: Mueller probe born out of ‘hysteria’ MORE does is the end of Democracy. It’s great for fundraising. Every faux outrage comes with a Tom Perez email promising that the Democrats can stop Trump if I chip in three bucks. The problem is, basing the entire party on the idea that Mr. Trump is dangerous is a strategy that already failed miserably in the 2016 election. 

The Democrats pushed the “Trump is dangerous” narrative as hard as they could, and the media helped as much as they could. Pundits talked about how scared everyone should be and how it could be the end of Democracy, but Americans didn’t believe them.

Now that Americans have seen checks and balances severely limit what Trump can accomplish, the narrative is even weaker. A president who can’t get a bill through Congress — a bill the majority party has been promising for years — probably can’t orchestrate a hostile takeover.

Good plans for protecting and creating jobs can accomplish more than all the fear-mongering in the world. If Democrats learn nothing else from the 2016 election, they should learn that.

Step Two: Don't try to be Donald Trump

Tom Perez likes to use potty-mouth to excite his party’s base. Seems like every day there’s a new clip of him on the news that has to be bleeped out.

He said, “Republicans don’t give a s**t about people.” He called Trump’s budget, “sh**y.” You get the idea. 

Perez thinks he sounds like Donald Trump heroically tossing aside the PC way of politicians and using crass language as symbolism for his displeasure with the system, but he actually sounds like a disingenuous politician trying on Donald Trump’s personality to see how it fits.

Warning: that didn’t work out well for Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRepublicans think Trump is losing trade war The Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — Trump meets South Korean leader as questions linger about summit with North Senators demand answers on Trump’s ZTE deal MORE when he melted down and started hurling Trump-style insults. And it sure didn’t work out for Jeb Bush when he decided to break bad, add an exclamation point to his name, and utter the words, “anchor babies.”

Tom Perez and the Democrats shouldn’t try to be Donald Trump, they should just be themselves. 

Step Three: Be Obama.

Obama was optimistic and inspiring in 2008, remember? He was all about hope for America’s future in 2008, remember? The speech that made him famous in 2004 was an anti-partisan, let’s-work-together speech.

In 2017, the Democratic mantra has become depressingly pessimistic. It’s all about placing bully-style labels on everyone — homophobic, xenophobic, racist, deplorable. 

It’s about being “the resistance” and obstructing Mr. Trump in every way possible. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) has been calling for his impeachment for weeks now, impatient and unwilling to wait on any evidence of a high crime or misdemeanor.

Blame, anger, hyperbole, pessimism, and name-calling aren’t winning strategies. Swearing to impeach Trump without any evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors isn’t either. Neither is painting him as a fascist dictator.

Reaching out to working class people instead of condescending them, creating an optimistic vision of the future instead of predicting doom, and bringing back bipartisanship — those are the strategies that will make the Democratic party great again.


Eddie Zipperer is an assistant professor of political science at Georgia Military College. His work has appeared in The Baltimore Sun, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Fox Nation and RealClearPolitics. Follow him on Twitter @eddiezipperer.

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