When Democrats make appearances on television or radio shows with a “hostile host,” it’s rare that they get a full 30 seconds uninterrupted to answer a question asked, or to refute a statement made by the host. I think it’s time that they stop trying to explain things that can’t be compressed into a sound byte by going back-and-forth with the host. In the process, they are always talked over or stopped after the host hears the first sentence. Along those lines, I’ve come up with a few things that I think will be the key to the Democrats winning in November and 2008. These points were by no means created in a vacuum, and I’ve cribbed the first two from Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post. Well, sort of. She was making the point the other night on C-SPAN or some other channel after the Lieberman loss that Democrats have finally realized that people will not be swayed to vote Democratic by the party’s sincere attention to domestic issues, and that in order to win they’re going to have to convince the American people that they’ll be safer under a Democratic administration.
So here are my “four key points to winning in November and 2008.” I’m sure I’ll think of more, but these are the ones I have at the moment.
Keys to winning this November for the Democrats:
- Democrats need to clearly define how they would handle the Iraq situation.
- Democrats need to clearly define how they will protect the US from terrorist attacks and keep us safe in general.
- Democrats need to consistently deliver a MESSAGE OF HOPE in every speech, and particularly need to address the concerns of those who are affected every day on a local level by current Bush Administration policies. These concerns include but are not limited to:
- Cutbacks in local services due to lack of federal funding after massive tax cuts
- Higher interest rates on Stafford Loans and other policies that impact the capacity for some to finance their own education
- New bankruptcy laws that favor credit card companies and even punish those who have gone into debt due to an inability to pay healthcare costs
- The inability of the Federal Government to protect its citizens against natural disasters
The message should be that these people have not been forgotten, that the tide is turning and it will lift all boats.
- This may be the most important one, and it’s the one that got me started — REFUSE any attempt by Republican talking heads to condense Democrats’ detailed plans to simple, sound-byte clips or ideas so they can turn them into jokes or negative stereotypes (cut and run, flip-flopper, etc.). How do we do this? Two sub-steps, part of which is detailed above…
- CLEARLY define the Democratic strategies on the War on Terror, the Iraq Occupation, and domestic issues and make them available online and through a simple address that anyone can write to and request the “Democratic Plan for a New Day in America” — a brochure or packet which defines these strategies. These strategies should be clearly stated so that anyone can read them. It should probably not be as long as the 191-page Gore/Lieberman opus entitled Prosperity for America’s Families. It’s fine to have details, but the overall plans should be covered in brief. We’re not talking sound-byte brief (this is the reason we’re doing this, remember), but it should be easy enough to read in 15-20 minutes.
- Any chance Democrats get to be on television and some talking head or commentator is pressuring them to “finish your statement” or is trying to interrupt them when they’re trying to ANSWER THE QUESTION, they should state quite clearly something like the following (as time allows): The Democratic plan is not something that can be compressed into 15 seconds for your benefit. I’m not dodging your question, but if you’re going to interrupt me and not let me speak, I can’t give you a complete answer and I think the viewers and listeners deserve complete answers to these questions. These issues that we’re dealing with today are complex, they took a LONG TIME to get into and they will not be solved or fixed with a 15-second sound byte. They should then note, if they can, that there the details are available, and the answers to all these questions are available. Just go online to www.democraticnewday.com or send a letter or postcard with your address to “Democratic New Day, PO Box 10000, Washington, DC, 20001” (or some other VERY EASY TO REMEMBER address) and you’ll receive the plan if you don’t have a computer or can’t get online. Again, state that “I will highlight the details if you give me time, but I won’t be pushed into a sound byte…”
I just registered www.democraticnewday.com, and will gladly donate it to the Democratc Party if they wish to use it for these or similar purposes.