Budowsky: Two big ideas for 2020 Democrats

Budowsky: Two big ideas for 2020 Democrats
© Stefani Reynolds

First, to unite the party and define it for voters who will choose our next president, the Democratic platform committee should begin early, be chaired by a widely respected figure such as Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownCritics pounce as Facebook crypto project stumbles Trump administration blocked consumer watchdog from public service loan forgiveness program: report Democrats fear Ohio slipping further away in 2020 MORE (D-Ohio) and present a platform to the Democratic National Convention that will paint a united, exciting and attractive portrait of what will be accomplished by the next Democratic president and Congress.

Second, to dramatically expand the electorate of Democratic voters, and to revitalize American democracy, there should be a massive telethon seeking to raise $100 million to register 10 million new voters for the largest voter mobilization plan in the history of Western democracy. This project would build on the recent advice of New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman and would have a powerful impact on elections throughout the nation.

Words cannot fully express the enormous consequences of the 2020 elections. Democracy is under attack throughout the world by foreign enemies President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Veterans group backs lawsuits to halt Trump's use of military funding for border wall Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails MORE often praises. His party pursues systematic suppression of minority voters. He seeks reelection through tactics that combine the bitterly divisive appeal to racism of George Wallace and white supremacists with the crude and indecent demagoguery of the universally discredited Joseph McCarthy— who also repeated big lies to attack deeply patriotic Americans.

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It is alarming to consider the possibility of four more years of a Republican president who revives the most seamy tactics of Wallace and McCarthy, backed by Republicans in Congress who act like political prisoners of a president who is hellbent on destroying the party of Lincoln and the core values of Washington, Jefferson and Adams — whose America is a great family and diverse community united behind common interests and shared values.

By contrast, it is exhilarating and inspiring to consider the American future if the nation rejects the politics of bigotry, hate and neo-McCarthyism and elects a Democratic president and Congress to serve all of the people and treat government as a public trust and not a swampland of corruption and greed.

The strategy of the historically unpopular Trump, backed by the Russian dictator whose attack against America he denies and in 2016 publicly encouraged, is to escalate his Wallace-like and McCarthy-like attacks against opponents designed to make them even less popular than he is.

While Democratic candidates for president will vigorously debate their differences in the coming months, they are brothers and sisters of shared vision and purpose compared to Trump and his sycophantic Republican allies in Congress. Democrats should quickly begin a second track strategy designed to defeat Trump’s demagogic attacks and to register and mobilize a massive wave of new voters.

The public hearings and deliberations of the platform committee would highlight the most credible and appealing voices in the party. They would develop and dramatize broad and deep areas of agreement among Democrats behind highly popular plans to vastly improve health care, increase wages, educate young people, protect the environment and defend our democracy and security.

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Brown would be an ideal chairman of the platform committee because he is a widely trusted and respected progressive with a record of winning elections in a tough state by uniting diverse voters behind common purpose.

A telethon to raise massive money to register huge numbers of new voters would receive powerful support from entertainment and sports stars, enlightened civic and community leaders and grass-roots Americans who yearn for ways to win the battle to take back America from the politics of hate, division, bigotry and corruption that would plague our national life if Trump is elected for four more years.

The telethon would give rocket booster financial support to groups and organizations working to register new black, Hispanic, female and young voters. It should be supported by every candidate for the Democratic nomination and would help every Democrat running for every office across America.

In the epic battle for America a massive wave of new voters and a united platform of bold ideas are essential and would be unstoppable.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the House of Representatives. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics.