Democrats offer wide ranging solutions

If you’ve been reading the local paper lately, you have likely heard the argument that Democrats don’t know how to communicate to rural people, working class Whites, Latinos, etc. People express this opinion so often that it seems to have taken on a life of its own. This debate over the effectiveness of our communications is complex and goes beyond the range of this short article.

However, you deserve an explanation, so I will do my best to address it.

First, speaking from experience, I can tell you that communication is hard. Moreover, no matter what we say, certain voters will always disagree. In other words, no communications strategy will sway everyone.

Second, Democrats are a diverse coalition with various unique constituencies. Therefore, our messaging must appeal across a wide spectrum of voters from those who align with Bernie Sanders to those who line up with Joe Manchin.

So, compared with the GOP, Democrats face a much greater challenge.

For example, the GOP is more uniform in its general makeup. Furthermore, its messaging draws on shared cultural themes like Make America Great or Don’t Say Gay. These basic ideas rely on the existential fear their voters share about our nation’s evolving cultural complexity and their deep-seated belief that their values and place in society are under attack. The irony is that the GOP offers them no real plan for bettering society other than tax cuts for the rich and ever-increasing fossil fuel production. Furthermore, their efforts in Washington focus predominantly on undermining our public institutions, weakening minority rights, and rolling back widely accepted federal laws like the right to abortion.

Democrats, on the other hand, offer wide ranging solutions that offer relief to the vast majority of ordinary Americans. Unfortunately, these comprehensive policies often require years to implement, and their initial effects can be hard to measure. Yet over time the impact of these comprehensive solutions can be revolutionary.

Take the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This legislation was enacted in 2010 despite open and hostile opposition from Republicans. At the time, roughly 129 million Americans were vulnerable to discrimination by insurance companies because of a pre-existing condition like heart disease, diabetes, or cancer. Moreover, coming down with a serious illness could result in an unaffordable increase in their coverage or being dropped entirely.

With the passage of the ACA, insurance plans must cover essential health benefits, limit out-of-pocket expenses, and expand Medicaid eligibility, ensuring access to comprehensive care without excessive financial burdens.

It took years of continuous communication to convey the benefits of the ACA to the public. Yet now this policy has resulted in a historic advancement of health equity in the United States by reducing the number of uninsured people to historically low levels and helping more people access health care services.

This is an example of how Democratic messaging relies on conveying hope and optimism about real solutions to common kitchen table issues. Our party works to convey how government supports a growing and healthy economy, a clean environment, equal and effective public education, universal human rights, and more.

Due to its complexity and reach, this messaging is harder to convey to a populace that isn’t focused on the intricate details. Furthermore, appealing to people’s higher values is nuanced. It requires critical thinking, and it takes time to sink in. Consequently, it depends on readers paying attention to more than headlines and sound bites. That can be difficult in an era when people choose their own news sources and seek out those that reinforce their existing views.

All this is not to say that we have no hope of breaking through when the message resonates with voters.

Local Organizing Pays Off

For example, I have been telling you about the recall effort in West Bonner School District for weeks now. Well, just last night a whopping majority of voters recalled Keith Rutledge and Susan Brown. These are the two extremist GOP school board trustees who were behind the recent appointment of an unqualified school superintendent in West Bonner School District. Through the efforts of liberal and moderate voters, these individuals were voted out.

If Bonner County can do it, so can we. Imagine how good it would feel to recall or replace the GOP lackeys at North Idaho College or the extremists who are now in charge of our Community Library Network.

Those are goals to keep in mind for the coming year.

I hope to see you at the Labor Day Picnic or the SPAN Walk.

Have a great week everyone.

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