Anson Kaye is a credentialed Democratic operative. He had a senior role in Hillary Clinton’s paid media operation and in the past worked in Wisconsin for familiar names — Jim Doyle, Shirley Abrahamson and Mary Burke.And I thought “Great. The people do need to understand civics and checks and balances and the way our system runs.” Any read of one of the many articles written over the last 3 months about rural Western Wisconsin flipping to Trump has as a common theme “We were just hoping he’d make things better for us, and that things would change” without any idea about how the economic policies of Trump or the GOP would reach that goal (hint- it doesn’t).
Yet his recent column for U.S. News & World Report began with a comparatively nonpartisan suggestion: that voters, current and future, need to better grasp the limitations of their government.
Voters, he wrote, are the only participants in November’s outcomes who have mostly escaped the spotlight. “This is about something bigger” than campaign tactics, he wrote. It is about “how poorly we prepare people to participate in the political process, and how those chickens are coming home to roost in a bigly way.”
I figured the article might go into ways that Dems should educate voters about the way people can use the system the same way lobbyists do, to understand which levels of government are responsible for the things that are upsetting these angry voters (hint- it’s likely to be at the state and local level), and lead the average individual to be empowered into taking action against the unacceptable crap that today’s GOP is imposing on the rest of us. This is a big reason why I write this blog, so people can find economic and political information and use that info to gain a better of understanding of issues and recognize the facts (or lack thereof) being trotted out, and identify the games politicians are playing.
But then you read later on in Fanlund’s column, and you realize that Kaye is actually saying “Nope, people shouldn’t expect politicians and government to get them what they want.”
Kaye’s notions may be unsatisfying for many, as when he describes what voting for a Democrat actually means, and what it does not: “It does not mean that if your factory closes tomorrow you will be able to walk across the street the next day and get a job building a wind turbine. But it does mean that we are more likely to shape an economic system in our country where people who may not have the same resources as those at the top are accounted for.Boy, that’ll get them fired up, won’t it? “Just be happy if you get a few crumbs and accept that it’s just the way it goes!” That’ll make em pull the D lever, eh?
“Voting for a Democrat won’t mean that rich people magically pay more taxes and you get to pay less. But it will mean there are people fighting to shape a more equitable economic system, and to make sure that values other than simply enriching the rich are represented in our free markets.
I’m sorry, but when you’re running a campaign and trying to win hearts and minds, you need to be showing people how things will get better, and how they will be able to get what they want under your party’s policies (or conversely, why bad things will be stopped with your party in office). Sure, the GOP offers bullshit with their regressive, failed policies, but the average day-to-dayer in rural Wisconsin wants their taxes lowered and wants to be able to shoot guns, and some of them feel they’re getting nothing out of their hard work, so they want someone to beat up on.
No matter how unrealistic, racist or flat-out lying GOPs are, at least these individuals think they are getting an answer from them, whereas Dems are shrugging and saying “You know, if you retrain yourself, you might get a slightly better-paying job if some other newer technology comes in to your town.” Or even stating a fact like “hey, this Obamacare is great and more people are getting covered” when Joe Ruralguy was already covered, and now his insurance company is using the excuse of “Obamacare” to continue to jack up his rates or deductibles. That’s not what people want to hear, that’s not relating to their particular situation, and that’s not what they should expect to get as a reply from their elected officials.
You need to reach into people’s lives, and give them hope that there will be a reward to their hard work. They can see that corporate slimeballs and rich donors take more and more while the blue-collars work as hard as ever and fall further behind, so why don’t Dems STEP UP AND SAY “THIS SITUATION IS WRONG AND UNACCEPTABLE”?
Also, why aren’t Dems telling rural Wisconsin that the reward to investing taxes into public schools is because it makes for a better community that their kids would want to stick around in and raise their new families in. Instead, Republicans rob those schools of funding to funnel money into unaccountable voucher schools in big cities and suburbs, to subsidize schools that those parents are already sending their kids to. Maybe we should point out that being a decent person who pays their bills and believes in honest and clean government is an ethos that still has value in the 2010s, and that politicians should reward those values when they get into office.
Instead, the Anson Kayes and the rest of the suit-wearing consultant class say “Well, that’s not going to happen. big Big money is just the way the system is these days. Sorry about that, try this subpar option, since us urban educated types know the better way for you to succeed.” And you wonder why this party keeps losing when party hacks like that continue to pull fat paychecks from candidates as “experts”?
DEAR GOD Dems, clean house and throw these losers out!