Democratic candidates should act like your cool government teacher

Scout Hutchinson, Columnist

Election night 2016, I found myself confused and bewildered while my dog slept soundly beside me (oblivious to what was going on… Oh to be a dog!), hoping for the delegate numbers to magically change. Like many, I thought “what the fuck is happening”. In the days following the election of Donald J. Trump, many pundits tried, and are still trying, to figure out what went wrong and what the Democratic Party did, or did not do, to aid in this massive debacle. 

Four years later, it seems as though we have learned nothing. The Democratic Party is still appealing to its voters with uninspiring candidates and cheap sales techniques that say little about the actual platforms that concern their voters.

All this is justified by the idea that most voters are not interested in politics. This argument is condescending, misleading and leads to an extremely elitist reputation for the Democratic party. This creates two outcomes: 1. An intense policy platform that no one understands 2. One-sentence mission statements that excite and inform no one. These campaigns create a never-ending cycle where both techniques feed into the other, which has created a large voter base that is indifferent to the things going on around them. As much as we would love to blame failed elections on individual voters, we have to address the key role that the Democratic Party has played in motivating people to vote. 

 The Democratic Party has never given its voters a chance to think for themselves, let alone fully understand the policies that they are supporting. The party assumes that the voter does not have the time nor the interest in the policies they have created, instead of trying to truly appeal to voters by talking to them as equals. One way of doing this is gaining their respect through true sit-down style dialogues.

Large scale elections should be personal because the candidate’s policies affect people personally. We do not need debates or entertainment politics, we need our representatives to answer directly to us, the citizens. We do not need to watch a CNN town hall where the candidate tells Tammy in the audience that they too grew up in a small town working-class family, instead of answering the questions asked. 

Politics should feel like your cool high school government class. The feeling of engagement, understanding and community allows for mutual education and participation. Policies and information should be accessible in a format for learning that made students excited to participate. Democratic candidates should focus on informing their voter base on what their policy plans are and how those policies will directly influence their lives. Most voters don’t know about the number of specific policy plans that will affect them and their communities around them. 

Being told that Joe’s plan is better than Donnie’s plan does not cut it anymore; our cool high school government teacher set expectations too high for that.