The symptoms of a pandemic are unfortunately viral and dramatic. While antiviral drugs work well for minor complications in infected people, they don’t work for anything like 100 million influenza A–B flu patients. What this one-year confluence of flu news suggests is that we need to do something different than medicine, the American way. This time, instead of fighting words around the economic meltdown and the Trump administration, Democrats should be fighting for some peace, hygiene, and progress.That’s the idea that Anne-Marie Slaughter laid out in a great Op-Ed for the Atlantic Monthly this week. Grab that image of Jamie Vinicius teaching journalism journalism at the Juilliard School in the 1940s, and replace “working to win elections” with “fighting to make America great again.” As Slaughter wrote, “Electioneering has fought since at least World War II, but the 2016 election shocked the country: the candidates and their parties shifted from their previous aloofness to joining up with and campaigning to defeat Trump.”
Slaughter takes a point-by-point checklist that shows how the Democrats should be handling the election. We did not divide our party, we did not exclude people from the major parties. That’s a combination of conservatism and liberalism. We should make it clear that we’re all in this together, and we share a common enemy, the threat of fascism. We must not contain the American dream by extending it to other people and regions. And we should listen to those who say that defending borders with wall-based walls would be so easy and be so simple that Americans wouldn’t need a candidate.
To sum up, we should be against the notion that we can win elections because we’re “better together.” We can win elections in a way that elevates the country by denying fascists, xenophobes, and ignorant racists control of the government and making Congress more neutral. We need a stable, strong president who will not ratify every single controversial Trump nominee. We must make it clear that we stand with foreign nations that fight with us, and we’re not afraid to stand against China, Russia, and the rest of the global elite. We should oppose white supremacists and the KKK, the alt-right, and neo-Nazis—all of which claim to be in the Democratic party. And we shouldn’t shy away from taking on what may be our defining force, the military industrial complex. We’ve got to stand up to this awesome power to which we have no unipolar power on earth, and we have to fight to keep it.
It will be the Democrat Party in 2020 that puts it on the world stage—if it wants it. We need to make it clear to the electorate and to the super PAC players that we’re a team, for real. We need to understand the importance of diversity, but we also need to see that we can even be more diverse and multicultural in a way that balances economic justice and environmental responsibility.
Then there are those who suggest that the Democrats don’t need to be united for the minority party to win, because if the party is unified, it can swing every election. However, there is one big surprise in this equation, one we knew was coming: the vast middle class, nearly every community, many African-Americans, women, and people of color, is either “on it” or fully committed to voting for Democrats and supporting them. The troubles here stretch from Michigan to Nevada, but it’s in every state and congressional district where we have the opportunity to build a strong, inclusive party that can win over those wary of government.