Grieving is over — Why it's actually a great time to be a Democrat

For a few weeks now I have joined my fellow partisan Democrats, drinking when I was not crying.

The awful memories of those stunned TV commentators snatching defeat from the jaws of a great early exit poll victory. The hard-earned accomplishments of the past 8 years now at risk due to and an unfit, unwelcome new president. Looking ahead to the damage inevitably inflicted by a unified Republican government on the environment, the social safety net and global leadership.

Yet as a new year begins, I find myself past the 5th stage of grief and on to an unexpected new state of mind: optimism.

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Because looking beyond the ashes of 2016 and the inevitable initial defeats of 2017, I see immense opportunities for my party and our capacity to lead our country.

 

It’s a great time to be a Democrat. There are several reasons why.

First and most important, Democrats remain the party of the future. We are the young, the diverse, the tolerant and the educated. Trump’s negative appeals to fear, intolerance and hatred sow the seeds of future Republican defeats and marginalization.

Just as California Governor Pete Wilson’s Proposition 187 consigned the California GOP to permanent minority status, so too will Trump embrace of white nationalism and the alt-right doom the national GOP in a diversifying nation.

Second, Democrats can return to the offensive. President Obama accomplished a great deal, but as with the last years of both Presidents Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonWill the ‘law and order’ president pardon Roger Stone? Five ways America would take a hard left under Joe Biden The sad spectacle of Trump’s enablers MORE and George W. Bush’s tenure, it gets harder and harder to imagine and demand reform when you’re busy defending your existing initiatives.

Likewise, Secretary Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House accuses Biden of pushing ‘conspiracy theories’ with Trump election claim Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton qualifies to run for county commissioner in Florida MORE is a phenomenal person, and was immensely qualified to be president, but candidates from the past bring baggage from the past. Now is the time to fight for the future.

In that regard, I am very excited by the rising generation of Democratic leaders.

Representing every state and fresh ideas, leaders such as New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, incoming California Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Park Police chief insists tear gas wasn’t used despite reports| Energy headquarters to reopen next week OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump official violated ethics rules in seeking EPA job for relative, watchdog finds| Trump administration aims to buy uranium for reserve ‘as soon as possible,’ official says| 18 states fight conservative think tank effort to freeze fue 18 states fight conservative think tank effort to freeze fuel efficiency standards MORE, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Louisiana Congressman Cedric Richmond, and Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth fill out a fantastic bench of creative, capable, inspiring national figures.

Leaders like these are ready to define the future of the Democratic Party, and I’m excited to help them do it.

Though many pundits see challenges for Democrats in 2018, I am optimistic there as well.

It is true we are defending 25 Senate seats around the nation and 10 in states won by Donald Trump, but presidents tend to struggle in midterm elections, especially when they are struggling to make good on their promises.

One does not need to be a partisan warrior to see how challenged President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE will be to deliver on his outlandish promises.

He promised that Mexico would pay for a border wall, that his secret plan to defeat ISIS would bring peace to the Middle East, that he would release his taxes, avoid conflicts of interest and end drug abuse and violent crime. Trump literally promised Americans would be “tired of winning” which seems regrettably unlikely.

Notwithstanding the partisan gerrymander, we will take back the House in 2018.

Democrats only need to pick up 23 seats to gain control.

Recall President Clinton lost 54 seats in his first midterm, while President Obama lost 63 in 2010. President Bush lost 31 in 2006 as Americans revolted against Congressional corruption and Executive incompetence. I’m expecting to hear “You’re doing a heck of a job, Secretary Perry” any day now. The Democrats will win in 2018 … and win bigly.

Five of the past 6 elections have been change elections.

The pendulum has swung back and forth between the parties because Americans desperately want change but have not been satisfied with the change they got. With new leaders and fresh ideas, Democrats stand ready to finally deliver the change Americans so badly want. But this will not happen by itself.

To the Democrats out there, 2016 is finally over. Time to stand up and dust yourselves off.

It may be just nearly January, but it will 2018 before you know it. Let’s not miss that future. It’s a great time to be a Democrat.

The opportunity is here. Let’s get to work.

David Thomas is a Democratic lobbyist and partner at Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas, based in Washington, D.C. During his tenure in government, he served as Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs for Vice President Al GoreAlbert (Al) Arnold GoreCNN coronavirus town hall to feature science author David Quammen, ‘Empire’ actress Taraji Henson Top Democratic pollster advised Biden campaign to pick Warren as VP Melania Trump to appear on CNN coronavirus town hall Thursday night MORE; the top lobbyist at the Federal Trade Commission; and most recently Chief of Staff for Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.).


The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.

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