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Going Back to the Obama Era Should Not Be the Goal for Democrats

Too many Democrats think the objective in 2020 is to restore the status quo. Failure to address the issues that have lead to division in this country–inequality and economic anxiety & the rigged system that produced them–will ensure the conditions that created Trump remain.

At the same time, addressing the other critical issues the US faces going forward–preparing us to compete and lead in the 21st Century–are also critical. So too is maintaining the control needed to achieve those goals.

That is also why–hard as it may be for some people to hear this–it is vital to have a candidate who can serve two terms and gives us the advantages of incumbency and spares us a 2024 primary challenge. We also need one who can motivate voters in core communities to turn out.

Further, we need a ticket that will mobilize voters in key red or purple states, one that appeals to the country as a whole and one that does as much as possible to ensure Democrats retake the Senate.

Core to all this is the ability to run against the corruption in Washington–not just the corruption that Trump represents and has deepened, but the corrupt, money-driven, compromised system that has produced the conditions that have worsened inequality for the past 50 years.

Both the Dem and GOP establishments have played a role in that corrosive, divisive process. We must be able to say that this new administration is turning a page and will move on to a more just future. Running as an extension of a flawed Obama Administration is therefore a mistake.

So too, however, is running on an anarchic, let’s blow up the system platform. We need change agents who can actually govern, bring people together, move us forward and reflect and anticipate the needs of a rapidly changing America.

I have my own views as to who can achieve these goals. But they will evolve as campaigns do. What I am sure will not change is the conviction that winning is essential, remaining unified as a party is essential, communicating that Dems are the party of Main Street and represent a real alternative to the party of Wall Street is essential and that recognizing the realities enumerated above in this threat is essential. Just one person’s views. But they reflect the views of a broad cross section of Dems with whom I have spoken. (To help you calibrate, I would characterize myself as a Democratic Party centrist–who feels the critical first step is unifying and mobilizing the party and then doing so with an agenda that addresses inequality, econ. anxiety, the rigged system and aspirations in ways that appeal to all Americans of both parties to ensure a bigger turn out of “red state Democrats” in the general election. I no longer categorize myself, as I once did as a Clinton or Obama era centrist.

Because I realized what that really meant was seeking to win bi-partisan support by dancing to the tune of Wall Street, corporate interests and those of the rich. It was a sell-out. I am ashamed of being part of it. And, per the above, it led directly to Trump and Trumpism.)

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