How many Democratic voters lament their party’s weakness in public or online? I’m a life-long member of the Democratic Party. By that, I mean I was raised by progressive parents and once I turned 18 I was so excited to register as a Democratic voter and vote for progressive Democratic candidates.
I didn’t get really engaged in politics online until about 2015. Once I did, there was a shocking amount of criticism about the Democratic party. It wouldn’t have been shocking if it was from the Republican party and conservative voters, but it was seemingly from members of their own party.
Here’s the thing. Just because a candidate or elected official is registered with the party you are registered with, doesn’t mean you owe them allegiance. You have the right to criticize their actions, voting, and rhetoric. Of course you do. That’s democracy. You have a right to support challengers to incumbents within your own party. That’s how we get a Rep like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, which is what we need. We need people who care about the community they represent, and you know actually go to that community and listen to the constituents.
There is a difference though, between speaking your mind to a specific representative’s work to represent the people, and attacking the entire party. Painting them with a brush that says “the establishment is horrible and wrong and poopy”. It’s a lazy cop-out and it neglects to account for what the attacker is doing to help.
People love to throw rocks from the outside, but how much are they working to make the party stronger? Most of them will respond with saying “I’m making them stronger by telling them how to get there.” Really?
Here is my challenge to Democratic voters, who wish their party was stronger. Ask yourself what you have done to roll up your sleeves and work to make your party as strong as it needs to be, to beat the bad faith actors in the GOP. There are a number of ways to help:
- Pick a candidate and volunteer in their campaign
- Make phone calls
- Canvass to gather petitions to put them on the ballot
- Host a phone bank
- Host a rally or watch party
- Make small contributions to support their campaign, so they can run their campaign without owing lobbyists and wealthy execs
- Become a delegate for them at the convention
- Register people to vote
- Talk to other voters about why they are the best candidate – remember how you respect people is a reflection on the candidate you support. You are representing them
- Do the hard work of putting together your top issues, and then go review the plans of each primary candidate on those issues, and grade them. Your grade. Who is the best? Not perfect, but which candidate gets the highest grade? If none of them do, are you being realistic? Because the alternative is Trump, so grade him too.
My point is, if you have a beef with the Democratic party, each out to them directly, instead of trashing them online. If you really want them to be stronger, reach out to the local committee (county level), the state party, or the DNC. Become more active in the party, so that it can reflect more of what you want to see.
Expecting your party to work exactly as you want, with you doing nothing else than shouting at them, is like a toddler throwing a tantrum in the store, because their parent won’t buy them the toy. Well, the child hasn’t cleaned their room, doesn’t eat their vegetables, and the parents are on a fixed budget.
So this is my challenge to you. Get involved. Start to look at each candidate and elected official individually. Don’t write them off because of one thing they said, or one vote. Take a real look at their record and give them a reasonable grade, knowing that the job of representing people is not as easy as it may seem. If you still aren’t satisfied, then run for office and be the representative who will deliver on what you want.
We need Democratic voters off the sidelines in 2020 and going forward. We certainly need them to stop attacking their own party, as if that will help anyone but Trump and the Republican party. We get out what we put in to your party and to your democracy. It’s time we make some lasting investments.