Democratic party must first rebuild, then resist

So much for claims of the inevitable collapse of the Republican party. Take the Democrats out of democracy, and you have an image of the current state of American politics — not to mention the increasing power of conservative parties in countries like the United Kingdom, France, Holland and Israel. Instead of appealing only to fringe groups, conservative Republican politics is thriving in America. Instead of disarray, the Republican party has consolidated power at levels unseen since the 1920s. In the wake of Republican success in the national election, the Democratic party must reevaluate its message to Americans and change its approach to appealing to the American people.

A good place to start would be with some humility. Liberal candidates are failing to connect to the majority demographic in America — white, working-class Americans. It is simplistic, lazy and discriminatory to label supporters of President Donald Trump as bigots and xenophobes. Such claims are not constructive and do not seriously address those people’s concerns. Not only does it deepen conflicting partisanship, but, more importantly, it is wrong. In this past election, counties across Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa and Pennsylvania that twice elected a black man voted Trump into office.

Furthermore, disgust with nationalistic, conservative politics cannot serve as grounds to dismiss its success. While one may vehemently disagree with the content and rhetoric of the Trump campaign and others similar, like the National Front in France, it is irresponsible to overlook how those campaigns are resonating with large swaths of people.

The protectionist, fear-mongering campaign run by Trump is appalling in many ways, but it worked. It gained traction, generating passion and activism among its supporters. The campaign’s clear identification of problems — like how globalism is taking away factory jobs and how immigrants are threatening working opportunities and culture — coupled with its unrestrained and deliberately politically incorrect solutions provided the campaign with an aura of authenticity.

This should be a wake-up call for Democrats trying to maintain power in this changing political landscape. In today’s America, the practiced, tired responses amount to distrust. Senator Marco Rubio’s campaign is a perfect example. In today’s America, globalism is a threat — if the Democratic party fully embraces it, without sincerely accounting for its drawbacks, then it could say goodbye to the votes of factory workers across the country. In today’s America, fears about immigration need to be addressed confidently and clearly. The Democratic party must continue to insist on accepting vulnerable refugees, but, in order to assuage the reservations of voters, security must be emphasized. Finally, in today’s America, personality counts — bigly.

If a politician is not compelling enough to be retweeted and shared, then the politician is not popular enough to win an election.

Since Trump’s election, several Tulane students have confessed in a whisper, for fear that anyone overhearing them would assume that they are racist or sexist, that they are Republicans. Given the hostility on college campuses toward the rise of Trump and Republicans, their apprehension to openly display their political identity is understandable.

At Tulane, we must fight the cheap labels assigned to right-wing politics. The diversity we cherish — that we protest for — must be extended to intellectual diversity.

Blind resistance is easy, but in order for liberals to reverse the collapse of the left, understanding is necessary.

This is an opinion article and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo. Daniel is a junior at Newcomb-Tulane College. He can be reached at [email protected].

Leave a Comment