I still find Joe Scarborough to be insufferably smug more often than not, and his tolerance meter for Trump outrage was several years behind the times, but I’ll give him credit where credit is due.
Blaming Hillary Clinton for the party’s demise is too easy. More than 18 months after that inexcusable loss, Clinton’s party still lacks a winning national message and has yet to find a candidate younger than 77 to replace Republican Speaker Paul D. Ryan.
But many Democrats campaigning across the United States understand that now is no time to panic. Instead of being distracted by those electric flashes of light created by Trump’s perpetual motion machine, they are knocking on doors, reaching out to neighbors, making Facebook friends and organizing teams to drive their supporters to polling places. For those still distracted by the latest cable news calamity, remember the words of a union activist wrongly executed in 1915. Before his death, Joe Hill sent a friend instructions: “Don’t waste any time mourning. Organize!”
If my inbox linked to this blog is any indication, the Democrats are doing just that, at least here in Florida. I get ten to twenty missives from local campaigns and national organizations a day. The difference between now and two and four years ago is that they’re not all begging for money. They’re telling me about rallies, campaign appearances, and other such events where like-minded people are getting together. (Yes, of course they all come with an appeal for a donation. They’d be derelict in their duty if they didn’t beg.)
What I’m also seeing, though is an emerging message. Like a star forms when various quantities of gas and dust begin to coalesce, it may not seem all that coherent until you realize that each individual mote and molecule has a message of its own, mainly geared to local issues and providing a positive outlook for the place they’re in. And it might just be working.
The national Democrats are at the natural disadvantage in that they don’t have a national candidate like an incumbent president to rally around. And it’s hard to sell a Dump Trump message without something to sell on your own. But if the local campaigns keep concentrating on the local issues — forget about pussy-grabbing but fix the schools — the mix of a thousand different voices in a thousand local races can win over the places where they need to be won.