Dems must look inward after defeat, determine why message lost
© Greg Nash

Many of us who expected the Democrats to carry the election — myself included — are surprised by its outcome. I am honored by the many of you who have asked for my thoughts (and the many more who didn't, but now have them anyway).

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I profoundly disagree with much the Republican campaign platform — on environmental protection, on national security, on trade and economic growth, on access to healthcare and criminal justice, and certainly on the best way to promote race, cultural, and gender diversity and participation in our society.

So today is the first day of a new reality, a reality few of us expected and many of us fear.

I am the second-generation progeny of immigrants who, 78 years ago this month, narrowly escaped a country that became violently intolerant of their religious affiliation, and whose friends and family were demonized, isolated, persecuted, beaten and murdered only for that reason.

I know the faces of survivors (and perpetrators) of that nightmare.

So we who are old enough to remember, and young enough to act, suddenly have a special responsibility today.

We must ensure, with our words and our deeds, that the United States does not descend into the destructive, dangerous and darkest instance of who we might become.

We must also accept — yes, even welcome — the democratic choice of our people.

As a lifelong centrist Democrat, I am accustomed to sailing the ocean of public policy with the favorable wind of popular support, and the clear sky of scientific fact and reason, against a chilly undercurrent of similarly principled, but mostly mistaken, opposition.

Now the sky is darker, and the wind is blowing in the wrong direction.

We have our work cut out for us.

In 2016, Democrats failed to persuade most voters that that our facts are right, our ideas are better and that our plans for defense, growth, stability and stewardship are more aligned with their interests than any conceivable alternative.

This morning, we are the opposition. The current has moved us to an uncharted place.

Our first moves will matter.

Adopting the tactics and blind obstruction of our political opponents will not help us listen to them, nor reach the many millions we today believe voted against their future.

We now have to carefully consider why our core message did not carry.

We now have to determine how to connect our values, and our much-vaunted data, to a language that more people can understand.

I believe that we should resist the human temptations of external blame and sanctimony, and focus, at least today, on introspection and grace.

And we must continue to promote, each in our own way, the universal principles of environmental stewardship, equal rights and equal opportunity, diversity, tolerance and inclusion, technological advancement, and our collective duty to care for and about the disadvantaged, our beloved country and our precious planet.

Levin is the founder and CEO of Amida Technology Solutions, an information technology firm. From 2009 to 2013, he served as senior adviser to the secretary and chief technology officer of the Department of Veterans Affairs. His articles have appeared in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The Huffington Post, Politico and Techonomy.


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