An Open Memo to Democratic and GOP Strategists

I don’t intend to write about the election all too often in the coming days. Everything has been dumb and will continue to be dumb. Hillary Clinton will be the next President of the United States…unless she fucks it up. Early signs suggest she and her PR team will do everything in their power to do so. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. 2+2 = 4. Democrats find ways to lose elections they should win on paper.

They’re a hard bunch to like, liberals. They’ve chosen to be smug rather than help people out. They’ve never been to fly-over-country but you bet your ass they know what’s best for its inhabitants. They sell rage-inducing merchandise.

How could anyone actually wear an “America is Already Great” hat. Like, you really just don’t get it, do you? The people cry out, “You shipped my jobs away!” and your retort is, “Pipe down Chet the unemployment rate has been steadily on the decline. Didn’t you read the last jobs report?

Dems might just be stupid enough to run a campaign in which they patronize their base—and they could lose to a far less endearing personification of Heat Miser. At least the Heat Man understood that when temperatures increase the world is in fact getting hotter. He simply wanted the world to be hot. At this point, it’d be nice if the GOP adopted a similar stance: y’know the world is getting hotter, but shit what’s wrong with a hotter world? Polar Bears are lazy. When’s the last time you saw a Polar Bear holding down a job?  

It’s an important election. Everyone will remind you of that, constantly. They’re not wrong. Mostly because the Court matters.

You can debate policy if you want. You can also spend your days searching for Atlantis.

Hillary’s a wonk but what’s the point of being a wonk if you’re just gonna be a hawk every damn time? What’s the point of being a wonk if you’re gonna defend NAFTA? Say you’d consult Kissinger? You can know the shit and then just repeatedly get the call wrong.

Whodoya prefer? Someone who knows what they’re talking about and gets it wrong or someone who doesn’t know what the fuck they’re talking about but seems sympathetic to protecting the American worker and getting the puck out of Afghanistan.

Until some snarky socialist in Europe comprises a mean tweet about him, anyway. Then we might be on to World War III. Because the isolationist won’t refuse to rule out nuking Europe. Go figure.

Think about it too hard and your head explodes. If you’re living in the shadows, either vote for more of the same or take a shot on the Orange Buffoon. Maybe he does push for legislation that brings jobs back to ghostly factories. Who knows what he does? A wise man once said, When you ain’t got nothing, you got nothing to lose. That hasn’t changed. That never will change.

So prospects aren’t particularly great. But you can read about that anywhere.

I would like to give some consideration to the prospect of party realignment. Democratic and Republican strategists, if you somehow stumble across this, hear me out for a second.

The Trump-Sanders connection has received considerable attention, some of it nuanced and a lot of it not so nuanced, but the fact of the matter is they share similar sentiments on trade and foreign policy. Sanders’ record backs it up, with Trump it’s just rhetoric at this stage, but regardless of whether he actually gets a crack at the Oval Office the takeaway is that the message works.

It’s the economy, stupid! Bring the jobs back and people vote for you. Or at least try. Or even pretend to try! Republicans give tax cuts to the rich. As do Dems—never forgetting to add, however, that at least they’re not as bad as the big bad Republicans. Maybe they nick that argument. Like how maybe Cool Whip edges Reddi-Wip. At a certain point, rather than asking yourself which whipped cream is better the far more salient question to ask, for your own safety, is how did I end up in a situation where I am weighing the merits of whipped cream and what can I do to get out of this most inauspicious layer of Hell?

The working class wants a home. Trump’s offered them one. As has Sanders. Trump got a plurality of Republican votes. Sanders came closer than nearly anyone thought he could. So if you’re the Democratic or Republican Party, at the expense of spelling it out, embrace them and you have a coalition that should last decades.

The numbers seem to add up, too. Trump’s received roughly 40% of the popular vote in a crowded GOP field. When it dwindled to three, he was hitting 60%. Conservatively, he should be able to consolidate 70% of the Republican base’s vote in the general. Could hit 90. Worst case, something like 10% will defect to Clinton (who, mind you, is actually Satan to Republicans), 10% will go to the Libertarian Johnson, and 10% will stay home on principle.

The exact numbers don’t matter here. Rather, the point is that the majority of Republicans are fine with Trump, and a plurality chose him as their top choice. If he chilled on the racism a bit, that number rises.

On the Democratic side, Sanders will likely end up in the low-to-mid 40s of the popular vote when all is said and done. Against a wildly popular candidate amongst Democrats. It’s a different story with the national electorate for Clinton, and her unfavorable numbers at large are the sexier story, but what should not be lost is that Democrats like her. If they didn’t, Sanders could’ve shocked the world.

Crunch these numbers if you wish, my stats knowledge is hazy, but if a party existed under the “Trump-Sanders” platform, that party contains the majority of Americans. That party wins the White House. Give it time, and that party wins down-ballot, consistently, emphatically.

That party doesn’t need to take positions on social issues. Hell, they could be cryptic about them. Adopt whatever’s the majority position in the country at the time. Go moderate on guns, go moderate on abortion, move left at the pace old conservatives die off.

The golden ticket is policy that serves the everyman without insulting him. Give a family its patch of land and its three square meals a day on the table and, by and large, they’ll swallow their pride on social issues. Trump confirms this, the GOP misread its sheep, they didn’t fucking care about tort reform. They just wanted to be treated with dignity.

Either party could capitalize on seizing the working class. They don’t feel at home in either party, but they have proclaimed loud and clear that they do feel at home with a couple anti-establishment candidates. They’re practically begging for someone to treat them well, and they’ll pledge allegiance to whoever does for the rest of their days.

The GOP could be poised to make the pivot sooner rather than later—especially if November is catastrophic for the party. It seems pretty simple: tone down on social issues, embrace Trump’s sentiments on trade, and finally part with the neocon bullshit. It would require them to swallow their pride, yes, admit they misread everything, and they could lose their wealthy backers if they fully follow through with populist policy.

Democrats could do it too—though a Hillary victory and likely gains in the House and Senate will probably keep them happy and reluctant to do anything too drastic. Such is the nature of victory—however folly. Again, they already enjoy a slight edge on the social side of things and young people will continue to lean left, but if they also closed the door on neoconservatism for good and reeled in neoliberalism they could build an insurmountable advantage over the GOP.

Ultimately, much of this assumes that party officials listen to the voices of voters. Everything that has happened thus far this election cycle suggests this isn’t the case. They laughed at Trump and Sanders. One may laugh his way all the way to the White House, and the other is beloved by most everyone under-40. An opportunist could take the lessons learned during this cycle and change the game for a generation.

Don’t count on it.

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