The only thing we have to fear is no excitement
by Tom Sullivan
"Avengers: Endgame" photo: Marvel Studios.
Democrats don't need to run for president on better policy, though they have that. Their candidate needs to generate excitement among traditional nonvoters. More than whip fear of what another Donald Trump term could mean for the fate of this democracy, to win a decisive victory from the top of the ticket to the bottom, they need to give nonvoters something to vote for.
Tim Wise's viral Twitter thread last weekend argued that if Democrats lose the election it will be because they treat this contest as just another policy debate. He told MSNBC's "Hardball" Monday night (emphasis mine):
When you are dealing with a movement that focuses on [white racial resentment], in a sense, a white identity cult, to act like they are just another candidate, to say, well, yeah you, know he's sort of racist and that was really racist what he did, but look at my policy to make college affordable, or look at my better healthcare plan that's going to be so much better than his, is to miss the point.
With [David] Duke what we learned is you have to make this a moral message that Dukeism — and I would say now Trumpism — pose an existential threat to the values that Americans hold dear. So in other words, when they say that The Squad hates America, no, no, no, your movement hates America as an idea, an idea of multiculturalism, of pluralism, and of democracy. That's the only way we're going to motivate the base. It's the only way we're going to get reasonable moderates and conservatives who probably are never going to agree on policy with the candidates Democrats have, but they can come together on the basis of a moral message and we can live to fight another day about the issues that we care about once the Democrat has defeated Donald Trump.
Bishop William Barber of the Poor People's Campaign argued on MSNBC's "All In" that the message Democrats need to emphasize is a moral one, that the Trump administration's policies are hurting not only people of color, but poor, white Americans. [timestamp 4:50] They must not ignore the racist behavior in favor of discussing health care policies, etc., but expose the moral truth about the effects of Republican policies.
"One of the things we learned dealing with (David) Duke ... but they appeal to white racial resentment as the yeast that makes their political bread rise."@timjacobwise on how he helped defeat David Duke in the 90s and how those lessons apply to Trump. #Hardball pic.twitter.com/TeuqBSjF7L— Hardball (@hardball) July 22, 2019
Trump cultists follow the acting president because, as empty an ill-fitting suit as he is, he presents as bold and in-your-face. To them that looks like leadership. No wonder the right is apoplectic about The Squad. The GOP has trained a generation of Democrats and reporters to cower. They don't know how to handle Democrats who refuse to play their assigned roles as punching bags. With their social media savvy, youth and attitude, The Squad could be ambassadors to under-40 nonvoters.
Among the many nuggets in the just-dropped CPS data on the 2018 election:— Barry Burden (@bcburden) April 25, 2019
Turnout among women was 6 pts *higher* than men in the youngest cohort but 6 pts *lower* than men in the oldest cohort.
The future (of voting) is apparently female. pic.twitter.com/tU3OOK0vSb
Obama easily won the youth vote nationally, 67 percent to 30 percent, with young voters proving the decisive difference in Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio, according to an analysis by the Center for Research and Information on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University. Obama won at least 61 percent of the youth vote in four of those states, and if Romney had achieved a 50-50 split, he could have flipped those states to his column, the study said.They didn't register and turn out in 2008 and 2012 because of Obama's policies. They did it out of passion for someone who seemed to embody a better, more hopeful future. Fear of Trump may drive older voters to the polls, but fear alone won't do that for citizens who are eligible to vote but see no reason to. Yet, we plunk down billions to see superheroes save the planet and/or the galaxy. Who among the Democratic presidential candidates might generate enough excitement to inspire them to save the republic?
About half of all eligible people ages 18-29 voted in Tuesday’s election, roughly the same level as 2008, according to Peter Levine, the center’s director. The youth vote’s share of the electorate actually increased slightly from 18 percent to 19 percent. In total, 22 million-23 million young people voted, according to the analysis.