The Alhambra Source, though focused on local news events, welcomes opinion pieces on various civic issues. Here is an op-ed from the Alhambra Democratic Club's Melissa Michelson on how the Democrats can move forward from the national election.
It was a typical Wednesday evening in Alhambra. Fourteen Alhambra Democratic Club members conducted business as usual at their monthly meeting at the Denny’s on Main Street.
Among the agenda items was whether to leave Wells Fargo because of its unscrupulous business practices and move to a credit union.
But wait…in bold on the agenda, I read, “Recap the election.” My interest is piqued.
After a lengthy recap of the local measures, city council runs, state propositions, school bonds and tax extensions, there wasn’t much more to say—or was there?
The only comment about the general election was made in passing, by a fellow member, Craig: “Clinton won the popular vote–you can make what you want of that as you will.”
I had to mention the elephant in the room.
“So what can we take away from the fact that Trump won and Hillary Clinton lost? Is there anything we as a club can do differently?” I asked.
An animated discussion ensued, with people pointing out the following:
“We should have encouraged people to become citizens through more outreach,” said Pete.
“We should have done outreach in other states.” One member, Adele, had gone to Nevada and Arizona to turn get out the Latino vote, reminding people to stay in line and vote. “The Democratic Party left Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan behind, who haven’t recovered from manufacturing jobs going away. That’s what killed Clinton,” she proffered. Heads nodded.
Adriel, the vice president of the Democratic Club, piggy-backed on that. “People feel disconnected with the Democratic Party and feel as though they weren’t doing enough to help them with their situation, particularly in the Midwest,” he said. “They’ve been misinformed in regards to Trump and what he says he’s going to do. In the future, we can inform voters about our Democratic values, and how our values can help individuals help provide them opportunities.”
Janet offered this: “There are divisions in both parties, and if you want to win, you have to bring in more people.”
One member complained about Bernie Sanders voters: “They’re not even Democrats!”
Adele was quick to reply: “It’s time to open our doors and have a pow-wow together. We need your input. What are you seeing that we’re not seeing? Young people should come into the fold, not create another party for themselves.”
My thoughts on the whole thing? That soul-searching has to happen for us to move forward together as a party. Digging in our heels or holding onto power and “business as usual” is not going to cut it, and neither is fear-mongering about Trump. We’ve reached the end of the rope and the point of no return. The Democratic Party needs to differentiate itself from the Republican Party in bold ways. And that’s not going to happen unless we have these tough conversations.
“It’s getting late, do we have another proposition that we want to talk about?” asked the club president, Viola Rippen.
This ended the soul-searching — for now.
Melissa Michelson is a District 26 Elected Democratic Presidential Delegate for Bernie Sanders. You can follow her on Facebook. This weekend, she participated in a rally of Bernie Sanders Democrats at the California Democratic Party meeting in San Diego. Rally-goers called for an overhaul of the business-as-usual Democratic Party, and for more focus on the issues that speak to the people and for working together in constructive ways. The rally was covered by CBS 8 and NBC 7.