Let’s Not Do that 2016 Thing Again…

**NOTA BENE** I am a Democrat and this is from a Democratic perspective. These opinions are my own.

It’s been a while since my last post. But now is as good a time as any to say what needs to be said ahead of the contentious 2020 U.S. General Election: unity is key.

Remember back in 2016 when the field of presidential candidates began to take shape on both sides of the aisle? On the Republican side, a swath of potential nominees — ranging from governors, senators and business executives — were all vying for the GOP’s blessing to leave their competition in the primaries and head into the general election to face off against the Democratic nominee. Despite the years of public service experience that many of the candidates could boast, the GOP decided to take its chance with the real estate tycoon from New York. He spoke to a large collective of demographics such as rural and suburban whites, Midwest blue collar workers, Evangelicals, far-right ideologues and others who held such deep, vitriolic feelings towards what they considered “establishment politics.” He tapped into their innermost anger, capitalized on it, and got the attention of a nation in the most unorthodox way.

Divided Democratic Party
Image courtesy of Ben Wiseman for TIME Magazine

On the other side of the partisan aisle, it all boiled down to a former First Lady-turned Senator-turned Secretary of State against a sitting Independent senator from Vermont. Both candidates brought vigor and excitement to their bases and introduced policy proposals that were far more thought-provoking and critical than what was being introduced from the other side. However, for the former, it seemed as though there was an all-out coronation taking place. She immediately won over the votes from a sea of Democrats who believed in the strength of her name recognition and the Democratically moderate stance she took on a host issues. The Democratic primaries seemed to be a formality, despite the significant power that certain candidates projected through their supporters. The latter, in particular, drew crowds of several thousands and preached the gospel of democratic socialism, a highly stigmatized political ideology that has seemed to consistently resonate with younger constituents. Promoting this ideology was his approach to battling the “business-as-usual establishment politics” that the other side of the aisle was so firmly against. Eventually, the former Secretary of State was victorious and the senator from Vermont conceded defeat. 

However, something strange happened in the Democratic Party that revealed the cracks and weaknesses that contributed to their defeat in the general election. I am a big fan of the belief that because the Democratic Party is the party of diversity, it is also the party that can be easily divisible. Even after the Vermont senator conceded defeat to the former Secretary of State and asked that his supporters rally behind her, many of them just could not let it go. Though I am aware of the revealed attempts to give the former Secretary of State an advantage in the primaries by some key leaders of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), I still cannot bring myself to advocate on behalf of those who took the avenue of either writing in the defeated candidate, voting for an opposing candidate, or simply not voting at all.

America needs new leadership. Because of our disunity, we essentially gave the current President the election on a silver platter. We cannot allow our prized gospel of diversity to be our Achilles’ heel and cause division in the party. In 2020, if we all agree that the nominee is capable, competent and has a passion to serve the public, we must support them. It’s better to choose and support someone whom you agree with 95% of the time than to allow someone whom you disagree with 95% of the time to continue governing.  We must help our nation restore the dignity and global respect that we have lost during this presidency. Participate in voter registration drives, encourage people to conduct their own research on the candidates to make informed decisions, and then transport them to the polls! Civic participation and party unity is essential if we are to beat the incumbent and win back the White House. Put aside any trivial differences you may have with the nominee and propel them to victory.

Whatever it takes…just get the Orange One out of there.


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