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The Future of the Democratic Party

The Future of the Democratic Party

[MUSIC PLAYING] Good afternoon, everybody. My name is Ed Steinfeld. I’m the director of the Watson
Institute for International and Public Affairs. Welcome to the culmination. We’ve reached the
end, in some respects, of what’s been an extraordinary
seminar over the course of an extraordinary academic
year on the political front for sure. So this is a seminar
series that began pre-election with our election
2016 behind the scenes discussions that included former
Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele, and
then a subsequent discussion with The Washington
Post’s Glenn Kessler about facts and the media. And then the seminar
continued after the election with a discussion just a few
weeks ago about the future of the Republican Party. And we’re culminating
this seminar with today’s discussion of the
future of the Democratic Party. Let me just briefly say my
own feeling is we’re really living in revolutionary times. We’re living in the midst
of a revolution probably technologically, a
revolution demographically, a revolution socially. But the thing is
you don’t really ever sense you’re in the
middle of a revolution until striking things
start happening, often on the political front. We’ve had insurgent candidates
on the left, insurgent not part of the establishment, insurgent
candidates on the right. We’ve had an insurgent
candidate win the presidency in the United States. We’ve had the Brexit vote. There are many indicators that
all kinds of changes are afoot. And we start to see it. But really what this seminar so
ably led by David Corn has done is that it helps us make sense,
really, of what we’re seeing. It gives a bunch of
clarity and helps us to ask the right questions
about what we’re sensing. David has been a great guide. As you all know, he’s the
Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones. He’s a regular commentator. Just turn on your television
on Fox, and MSNBC, NPR radio. David’s the winner of
the 2012 George Polk award in journalism for his
coverage of the Mitt Romney campaign in 2012. David’s a graduate of
Brown, class of 1982, and has just become a
Brown parent as well. [LAUGHTER] I’m going to turn– [APPLAUSE] Congrats. I’m going to turn the panel
over to David in a second. But you know, I began a moment
ago by saying this is the end, this is the culmination. Well, it’s not the end. It’s not the end
of the revolution. We’re in the middle of it. It’s not the end of the
kind of political changes we’re talking about. And it’s also not the
end, I sincerely hope, of David’s leading
us in these seminars. We plan to and are
plotting out a strategy for continuing these
kinds of interactions into the next
academic year as well. So stay tuned. And with that, let me turn
it over to you, David. Thanks. [APPLAUSE] Thank you, Ed. Thank you for the warm welcome
back to my home for three years here at Brown in Providence. And gosh, if I’ve been able
bring any amount of sense to what’s happened
in the last year, I’d feel quite proud,
because I’m still quite perplexed by many
of the things we’ve witnessed in the past year. And this is from someone who
began covering politics here in Providence with Buddy Cianci. So once upon a time, I
thought I had seen it all, and I wasn’t even close. And one of my best
tributes I ever got for any of the
journalism I ever did was that Buddy Cianci
became so annoyed with me for the way I covered him
and his administration in the late ’70s
that he actually offered me a job at city hall. [LAUGHTER] You know you’ve done well then. And at the time, Providence
was basically bankrupt and going through a
tremendous fiscal crisis. And I said to Buddy, what about
the hiring freeze at city hall? And he put his arm around me,
pulled me in really close, and said, you know what? There’s always
room for one more. [LAUGHTER] And swear to God, he
took care of the business card I wrote the name Vinnie
on it, and a phone number. Said, you call Vinnie,
and he’ll set you up. I often think how
my life might have turned out had I called Vinnie. Instead, that summer,
I worked for the IRS in New York City in
the training division. But talking about
roads not taken. Anyway, I’m delighted to be here
with some very smart people who know politics as well as
anybody from Washington, DC to talk about the future of the
Democratic Party as we try– it’s very hard– but
try to move ahead and look forward rather
than looking backwards, although we will start with
a little backward looking. But before I do that, let
me just introduce the three. And we’ll have a conversation
for until about 6 o’clock, then half an hour for questions. I will– telling you now– I will be biased in calling on
students if there are students here. It’s a beautiful day outside. I’m not sure I went to many
of these when I was a student. But if they’re in the audience
and want to ask questions, they’ll get some
preferential treatment. Sue me. So let me start with
introductions here now. To my right is
Stephanie Schriock. She is the head of EMILY’s List. She’s been the head
of that since 2010. Do you all know what
EMILY stands for? Let me hear you say it. [INTERPOSING VOICES] Early money– There we go. That was awesome. Early money is like yeast. Thank you. It was started by
Ellen Malcolm in 1985 as a political action
committee to help women running for office. It’s not partisan, but
one of the categories was you had to be pro-choice. So right away, that
limits a large part of the partisan universe. And since 1985, it’s raised
half a billion dollars, a lot of it under
Stephanie’s leadership. And part of her job
is recruiting women to run for office. You may have heard of a
woman named Liz Warren. Stephanie helped convince
her to run for the Senate after she had once
told me publicly that when she thought about
staying in Washington, she said she might rather
stab herself in the eye. [LAUGHTER] So against that
resistance, Stephanie used her powers of persuasion
and got her to run. She’s also managed Senate
campaigns, Al Franken of Minnesota, and Jon Tester. And one day, I want you to tell
me some Al Franken stories, because he’s done such a hard– he’s really worked hard not to
be funny in his political life, and I can’t believe that he’s
like that in his private life. And in 2015, Elle Magazine
named her one of the 10 most powerful women in Washington. And to my left here
is Maria Teresa Kumar. She’s president and CEO. Do you get paid twice for that? It’s a nonprofit. [LAUGHTER] Of Voto Latino. And their mission
is very simple, to engage, educate,
and empower Latinos, primarily in politics,
but not exclusively. The group was co-founded by
the well-known actor Rosario Dawson. And under her leadership,
it has registered a quarter of a million voters. Like I am, she is a
contributor at MSNBC. But she’s also a media
powerhouse in every platform, and in other networks as well. She too was named by Elle
Magazine as one of the 10 most influential women in Washington,
but that was in 2013. And then over there
as Bill Samuel. He is the– I’m not one of the
most important. That’s my punchline at the end. Stop it. [LAUGHTER] I’m still waiting. It’s not too late. Bill is the government
affairs director of the AFL-CIO, the
largest federation of unions in the country. He’s had this job since 2001. And in this position, he chairs
the legislative committee, which includes representatives
of all the 54 unions that are affiliated with the
AFL-CIO, so a lot of focus on working with Congress. Good luck with that. [LAUGHTER] Years before he
joined the AFL-CIO, he was a senior
adviser to Al Gore when Al Gore was Vice President. And before that, he was
Associate Deputy Secretary of Labor in 1995 to 2000. One of his great
accomplishments, though, was as a chief
lobbyist prior to that for the United Mine Workers. He helped pass legislation that
gave lifetime health benefits to 2,000 members and dependents
of the Mine Workers Union– 200,000. 200,000, excuse me. And I have to say I don’t
think I’ve ever done anything in my life that has directly
helped 200,000 people, so I’m really grateful and
appreciative of people who do that sort of work,
so thank you for that. And as he noted,
stealing my punchline, he has never been
listed by ELLE Magazine as one of the most influential
women in Washington. But if they ever
decide to do men, you might have a shot at it. So I said I wanted to
start by looking backwards before we look forward. And that is to go around the
horn and ask each one of you, because you all kind of
represent core constituencies of the Democratic Party,
sort of what happened with your constituency
on election day, 2016, and why you’re responsible
for Donald Trump becoming president. [LAUGHTER] But, not to– So let’s start
with union workers, because there’s been a lot of
talk about how Trump managed to win what are now called
WWCs, white working class, mainly guys. And of people who
once upon a time might have had union
jobs or certainly someone in their
family had a union job, and seemed to be kind
of bread and butter for the Democratic Party. How did the Democrats
lose them, if they did? I know there’s a lot
of debate over numbers and what really happened. And what happened
to your efforts to try to convince these
folks not to vote for Trump? Because I know there was some
key activity in key states. OK. Well, thank you for
having me, David. David’s also a
neighbor of mine, so I had to come when he asked me. He’s four doors down for me
in Tacoma Park, Maryland. Well I noted in
the introductions that both of my co-panelists
are from organizations that have been growing
steadily over the years and raising more money. I can’t say that for the
AFL-CIO, unfortunately. In fact, in most
audiences under 40, they probably know what EMIILY’s
List stands for and maybe not what the AFL-CIO stands for. So that’s one of the historical
trends which I regret. But I will put in a shameless
plug for the AFL-CIO and for the labor movement. Because actually, labor union
members and members of unions voted for Hillary Clinton
by pretty big margins. Now that’s not the same as
all working class voters. As I said, the sad
thing is the AFL-CIO, and our brother
and sister unions and those outside the AFL-CIO
only represent about 6% of the private
sector now, about 10% altogether if you add in
public sector workers. And that’s down from
almost 40% in the 1950s. So as I said, Hillary
Clinton actually did rather well, but not
as good as Barack Obama. And that’s really
the story, I think. Obama beat Romney
among union voters– these are union members– 65 to 33, almost two to one. Hillary Clinton beat Donald
Trump by 20 points, 56 to 37. So she lost 10%
of the votes that had been won by Barack Obama. Donald Trump, on
the other hand, who has made a big show of appealing
to working class voters actually only got 4% more union
members than Mitt Romney did. So he didn’t really attract all
that many more union voters. The problem was Hillary Clinton
lost a lot of union voters. And we can talk about why that
is, and we have our theories. But again, just to plug the role
of organized labor in politics, I won’t give you a
blizzard of numbers, but I’ll give you a few. Among white voters, if they
were union members, they voted– again, white voters
who were union members voted for Donald Trump by
only one percentage point more than Hillary Clinton. In the general public, white
voters voted for Donald Trump by 20 points higher
than Hillary Clinton. White men, union members
who are white men, voted for Donald
Trump about 16 points above what Clinton achieved. But in the general public,
white men voted for Donald Trump by 31 points. So again, being a
union member does seem to sway voters in the
direction of Democrats. Among white women who
are union members, they voted for Hillary
Clinton by 27%. So she did rather well
with the union white women. Among the general
population, white women voted for Donald Trump by
nine percentage points, kind of surprising. And maybe others on the
panel can explain that. Among African-American voters,
if there were union members, they voted for Hillary by 85. She got 85% of the vote. In the general population
of African-American, Hillary Clinton got 81%,
so even more they did. Hillary did even better
among union members. And then finally,
among Hispanic voters, if they were union members,
they voted for Hillary by 53 points above Trump. And in general
population, only 38%. So anyway again,
that’s my explanation for if you’re in
a union, you tend to vote a little more
progressive track than if you’re not. And we believe that’s
because of the efforts we make to educate voters. We spend a lot of money,
and time, and energy talking to our members about it. They have a sense of community. And they tend to vote more
like progressive voters in the general population. So why did Hillary
lose, and why did she lose 10% of those votes? And I’ll just say quickly
and then stop, turn it over to my co-panelists. The biggest losses
among downscale voters, those earning $50,000 or less. She lost those voters by
pretty substantial margins. Her drop-off from the Obama
election in 2012 to 2016, she lost 16 percentage points of
voters who earn under $30,000. For those who earn
under $50,000, her total was 6% lower
than Barack Obama’s. Those earning over $50,000
stayed about the same. So it was the downscale
voters who left Hillary. And we think, I think you can
make a pretty good argument that the message, if she
have an economic message, it wasn’t getting through. I would say it was not as
strong as his economic message. Whether or not you believe
he has an actual agenda, it sounded like he had one. He was about jobs, and lower
taxes, and less regulation. He said that equaled jobs. Hillary was talking about
a lot of other things, so I think that’s one of the
reasons she lost those voters. So let’s talk about
the Latino community. There’s been some debate about
some of the exit poll numbers. And the Trump side has
pointed to them saying, we did a little bit
better than Romney. It wasn’t the wipeout
that we expected. I know you and others
have challenged that. But from my point of view,
if Trump got more than 5%, that was an issue. So, no. So I think that first of all,
so we’re right now waiting for voters matches. It’s not the fun part,
and the least sexy part, but basically we’re looking at
what the turnout is actually against voter rolls. And we’ll have a better idea
of how Latinos participated probably mid-June, early July. That said, what I
always share with folks is to give them pause is
that Cubans historically are the ones that
are very Republican. They’re the ones
that 90% of time will vote on the
Republican ticket. In Florida, 31% of
them voted for Trump. It’s the very first time
that we saw such a margin shift from the Cubans. So if we extrapolate
from that, it’s hard to actually say
that the rest of Latinos voted in the same numbers. The polls– not to
worry, but the polls basically the way
they were conducted for the very first
time, you had 54% of Latino voters voting early. We had never seen that before. The polls were conducted on
the day of actual polling. And they were not
statistically significant, meaning that they were
going into neighborhoods where the majority of the
population was not Latino. So you can extrapolate,
for example, in let’s say you go into
Connecticut and Westchester, where you might find four or
five surnames that are Latino. They’re like, we’ll
go ahead and pull you. But Westchester and
Connecticut does not reflect the majority of
the Latino population. So that’s one of the reasons
why the jury is still out. That said, if you
were to ask me– we keep hearing about the Obama
voter that went for Trump. We keep hearing that not
enough Latinos came out. Latinos were the
only population that grew their electoral base
this year, the only ones. From the work that we were
doing for the very first time, we saw Georgia’s participation
rate among Latinos will only represent 4%
of the electoral base in Georgia, by early
voting had jumped 144% from the last election. What that tells me
in the work that I do is that it was a big SOS flag. That political participation
was their only way to get out of the quagmire
that they were living in in rural Georgia. In Texas, Texas is
abysmal for participation. It is the best possibility
for the Democratic Party progressive movement, but
it’s absolutely abysmal. I always joke that
Texans are super nice. They will absolutely
sign a form, because they don’t
want to say no to you. But they have no
intention of going out. We were registering
voters there at $3.31. There was a hunger and
appetite for participation. Obama lost Texas by 16 points. Hillary lost it by 9. If you were to ask me what
was one of the strategies that was wrong with the
Democratic candidate was that they were not
nimble to understand the tide of the ground. The reason that the Latino
population was coming out was that a border was
a very physical life alteration for them. This was personal. They were living in
California Pete Wilson moment when California
decided that they were going to identify who was
American and not based on race. And so Texas was ripe
to be turned blue. And instead, it was not part
of the battle state strategy. These were conversations I had. Stephanie’s familiar with them. It was frustrating. At the same time, we keep saying
that the white working class went overwhelmingly for
Trump outside of the unions. But when you start
looking at it, I think that what we
are finding ourselves– and that we’re falling
into the trap of the race divide in this country. And I honestly believe that
when you start peeling back the layers, we are
actually finding more of a generational
shift within this country. If millennials
had come and voted at parity along
with Generation Z, they would have turned
the country blue. If you basically remove all
of the baby boomer voters, only five states
would have turned red in this past election. But there was just not parity. There’s a lot of
reasons for that, including apathy, not
enough actual investment in young people,
because they say that they don’t participate,
and because they are also not attuned to the left of the
left the progressive movement. Bernie Sanders turn
on a lot of people. For the very first
time, young white men did not vote for the
Republican candidate. They voted 10
percentage points more progressive than the
Democratic candidate in Wisconsin and Michigan. And I do think that what you
were saying earlier, that we are living a revolution,
it’s a revolution that we lived 100 years ago. We’re at the exact
same crossroads. 100 years ago, we had
massive immigration. We had identified a
massive agrarian society to a technological society. We’re in the middle of a war. We’re recovering from
a Great Depression. And we decided as Americans
to double down ourselves. We rebuilt our country. We decided that we were going
to invest in the middle class. We decide that we’re going
to invest in research. We decided that we
were going to actually have economic freeways
for upward mobility. And our challenge
right now is, are we going to do the exact same
thing with a demographic that is increasingly different than
the greatest generation that lived? And that is where
there’s opportunity within the political parties
to win those hearts and minds. If you talk to the majority
of millennials, they are, for the first time–
even Trump voters– a lot of them are actually
not pleased with the way he’s actually taking
the country forward. Before I turn to
Stephanie, we’ll l ask a quick follow-up,
because comparing now to the beginning of
the 20th century, when there was
massive immigration, and there was tremendous
cultural shifting, then it was still
mainly all white people, but it was keeping
out the Italians, keeping out the Germans,
keeping out the Jews, and the Irish need not apply. And there was a lot of
struggle and elbow-rubbing. Yet somehow, America– maybe it
was World War I that helped do this in a way– managed to become cohesive
to a certain degree. There was still
racism, and women not allowed to vote initially. And so there was
still a lot of issues. But it sort of took that
moment of cultural ferment and became an economic
powerhouse, a world leader. And the economy started rising,
and then crashed, and then started rising again. But we didn’t turn
on each other. Now though, there
was Jim Crow, and I don’t want to dismiss that. But some of the
tensions were overcome. How did that come to be,
and how does that compare to what we look like now? Because one of my pet theories
that I have absolutely no evidence for, which
is why I like it, is that a lot of
the Trump voters were not voting on
economic reasons. They were cultural reasons. And I simplify
this by saying they didn’t like pushing one for
English and two for Spanish. I don’t disagree with you. And I think that there are
massive demographic shifts, and we can’t underestimate that. So for example, John
Edwards, he would always go around talking about coal
mining town that he grew up in. That coal mining town
today is 51% Hispanic. It literally looks different. And what I share that
with folks is that– and this is what I
think the challenge right now with the Trump
administration is the Trump administration is trying to
bring America back to a place that we never were. We are solidly a
country of immigrants. Our aspirations, the reasons
we come and we thrive is this idea of
being entrepreneurs, and the idea that
we can be better. And David, I always
share with folks, I don’t care if you are
an immigrant at MIT trying to figure out the genetic
genome or the young person that just swam the Rio Grande. You’re both entrepreneurs. You’re both immigrants. You both believe that you
can make it better here. And that is actually our fabric. And I think that what Trump
has tried to capitalize on is this fear of
different, this fear race. And instead of actual have
leadership of how do you move the country forward? And we do it with
energizing ourselves with immigrant blood,
and new ideas, and youth. I always say that the immigrant
that comes here is not lazy. They’re not sick. They’re individuals that
are starting their careers at the peak of their
heights, and they actually want to contribute, and they
believe in this country. And our job as
leaders and leadership is recognizing that we
have been here before. But this is what
happens when we take the time to get to
know our neighbors, when we recognize that
we have a shared future. The majority of Latinos
right now are 27 years old. 60% of Latinos are
33 years or younger. The majority of whites are 56. It’s stunning how
different it is. But if we don’t figure out
a way to actually realize that we have a
shared agenda, it’s not a world that’s
going to collapse. It’s us. On that happy note– [LAUGHTER] No. But it is a positive note. But it’s also not
happy or not happy. It’s reality. Yeah, that’s right. It’s what it is. So, OK. Women, Trump. I mean, on October
7th, a tape came out which everyone thought
including in the Trump campaign that he would now lose
women by 50 points and couldn’t be elected when
he already had a problem. So what happened? Well, we never felt
that every woman was going to vote for Hillary
Clinton because of that tape. So I just want to lay that out. I just want to sort of do some
table setting about that, about the election. First off, women don’t vote for
women because she’s a woman. If that were the
case, there would be a lot of women in office. Because the last time I checked
our population, sisters, we’re like 51%, almost 52%
of the entire population. And we talk about
the electorate, now we’re talking 53%. We actually vote better
than our male counterparts. But that’s not how this works. It’s still very partisan,
and we align with parties. And so in this election,
a couple of things happen, but let’s
start with this. If any one thing didn’t
happen at the end, the Russian wiretapping,
the Comey letter, like if any one
thing– that was it. Any one thing, I do believe she
would have won that election. I mean, this thing was close. This was close. This is 77,000 votes
over three states. We just nominated
the first woman in the history of this nation
as a presidential candidate. She won the popular
vote by 3 million votes. And so this was a close race. Now we would all say,
it should have never been that close, because look
at who we were running against. And that’s how we feel,
and I agree with that. And it was definitely
going into an election that was a change election. Why was it a change election? Because we just had eight years
of Democratic administration. And after eight years of a one
party in power administration, this country loves
to switch parties. That is our standard flow
for really, our history. So we knew we were
up against it. It’s a change election. Despite that, Democrats picked
up seats in the United States Senate. Two of our women, by the
way, at EMILY’s List. We picked up seats
in the US House. We broke even on
the legislative. So this was not a
Republican wave. It was something really
unique about this dynamic. So let me talk about
the women here. Women voted for Hillary
Clinton in the largest number that we’ve ever seen. She got a higher percentage
of women than Barack Obama. She is the first
democratic candidate to win white college-educated
women since her husband, Bill Clinton. And before that, it was 1972
before a Democrat had won white college-educated women. Here’s the problem. We were really hoping
she’d win by more. I mean, truthfully,
we’re really hoping like one more percentage point
would have gotten us there. And we were really hoping one
or two more percentage points. But she did that– How much did she win
that category by? Do you know? Let’s see if I got my
numbers right off the top. It’s OK. It was close. It was close. 51 to 45. I knew I had them on my list. So he won white
college-educated women 51 to 45. We lost overall white
women by 10 points. So as Bill was just talking
about those numbers. Now Barack Obama lost
white women by 14 points. So there’s sort of
a narrative here that women turned
on Hillary Clinton. Women voted like they tend to
vote, white women, Republican. And I do believe those
last 10 days of news really drew people back to
vote their partisan way. They voted the way
that they tend to vote, and we could not hold
onto enough of them, particularly after
the Comey letter. So I say that it’s like
we have some work to do. But those white
college-educated women, that’s why we’ve got a race
going on in Georgia tonight. The reason that there’s some
shifting in what’s in alignment here are that
we’re moving better with white college-educated. Doesn’t mean we don’t
need to be talking to our white
non-college-educated. But this is a growing piece. The backbone of this party,
though, are women of color. And this is really
important as we move forward and as we start to rebuild
our coalition, our winning coalition as Democrats. Hillary Clinton won
African-American women 94 to six. 94 to six, and they continue to
be a very, very strong voting demographic. And that’s actually with
a 3% margin of error. So maybe she won 99 to one. That’s right. It’s possible. That’s exactly right. That’s exactly right. And as Maria Teresa
just mentioned, we’re all waiting
for the voter file. So from the states
coming in May and June, we’re going to get
these big piles of data where we’ll actually
know who voted. Right now, we’re dealing with
polling and exit polling. But soon, we’re going to
all know if you voted, each one of you, actually, in
this room, we’re going to know. And so we’ll have a
better sense of the who. But Latino decisions
exit polling that we feel were
a lot more balanced at the end of the day had
Latinas voting 86 to 12 for Hillary Clinton. This is really the backbone of
the party, and one that I think is very important as we
move forward and think about how we can build
this winning coalition, because that’s precisely
what we need to do here. Now one of the
common complaints– and they’re very easy to
make after the election, particularly a close
election in which any one of a dozen different
things might have flipped this, and we’d be talking about
the end of the Republican Party instead of the
Democratic Party right now. But one of the
common complaints was that Hillary’s campaign and
the Democratic party at large was focusing too much
on either identity politics, constituent
politics, whatever you call it, putting together a coalition on
the basis of different groups, trying to match what Obama
did with young people, young professionals, women,
Latinos, African-Americans, Asians, and just sort of knit
together a coalition that way. And by appealing to each
and every one of them kind of in the way
that you would. And that gets in the
way or doesn’t end up with a larger overarching
integrated message that resonates with those groups,
and also people maybe beyond, if that’s necessary. I mean, Obama’s numbers
were pretty compelling. If you did that again, you win. But it didn’t work out that way. And each one of you
worked with a component of the Democratic coalition. I want to ask you to address
that issue, and to the degree to which does the Democratic
Party, as we know look ahead, need to find
something that is more unifying in its approach or
its themes in order to thrive? And one point I’ll
throw out too now is that we play with
a lot of numbers about the presidential race. But at the state
level, the Democrats are at a low since 1920. 15 governors of 98 legislative
bodies of the local state House and Senate– some
states only have one. But the Democrats
only hold a majority in 31, less than a third. So they’re kind of decimated
at the state level. So looking ahead, how does
the party move forward in a wide encompassing way? And is there any merit
in this perspective? Well, I just want to start,
we weren’t decimated, though, in 2016. I think that’s important. We’re all sort of hyper-focused
on that 2016 election. That was not the year that
decimated the Democratic Party in the states. Like I said, we gained seats
in the US House, the US Senate. We held our chambers. We actually picked up a
couple here and there. We lost one. But we actually had a fairly– considering a Republican won
the presidency, where we were decimated was in 2010 and 2014. And when we got
decimated in 2010, why? Because of this amazing
crazy awful Tea Party energy that came roaring out
of the Republican base. And they were screaming because
of the economic stimulus package. And then they were
still screaming because of the Affordable Care Act. And they had all this momentum. And our folks– and I count in
particular our Democratic women voters– just weren’t energized. They just weren’t there. They just didn’t feel like
there was any reason to. Part of it is their
guy was president, and that was pretty
cool and happy. And part of it was
breaking through on messaging that was working. And so we lost a
massive amount of seats in ’10 because of
those two things. And then just to make it
worse, then the Republicans drew the districts after ’10. And then we really got handed to
us in ’14 with a much worse map to be dealing with. So as I think about
moving forward here, what we need to do? Well frankly, one of
the things we need to do is really get better at
communicating clearly the agenda of the Democratic
Party in those midterm elections. Now some of this is
just history flow. And you’re talking
about history earlier. On average, the party in
power in a midterm election loses 28 House seats. It doesn’t matter
which party it is. On average, historically
speaking, the party in power loses 28 House seats. By the way, we only need
24 to pick up the majority in the House in ’18. So just to say this,
put it out there. And what causes that? Well, the party out of
power has massive energy. And the party that’s
in power, the voters are a little bit laid back. We’re all talking about
Georgia’s House race right now. And we just saw it in
Kansas, a six-point race that had no business
being a six-point race. In this Georgia race,
we’re talking about it because the enthusiasm
on the ground by our Democratic activists
of all stripes and backgrounds and of all races, they are
angry, and they are motivated, and they want to take
this country back, and they want to run for office,
and they want to get involved. The question then is, what
does the other side look like, and are they depressed? Are they happy with how this
Republican Party is doing? They can’t even
repeal the ACA, which is one of the things
they promised him to do. So you put all that
environmental pieces that the shift has
already happened. Now a year from now, we’ll
see what this looks like. But we had millions of women
marching in the streets. EMILY’s List had
11,000 women contact us about running for office
in the last four months. By the way, we had
920 last cycle, and we thought that was good. So I share this to say,
wow, something really big’s happening. It is our job now as leaders
to tie this all together. And as I’m sure Bill’s
going to address here, we need a tying strong
economic message that relates to good strong jobs
not just for the former mine workers in Butte,
Montana, but also the African-American
woman who’s looking for a job in Washington,
DC, and the Latina who needs a good strong
job in New Mexico. That’s the working class. That is the working class. And we need to have a
really strong agenda on how we’re going to ensure
all of our working class– all of them– have strong jobs. And just to jump on, I
think one of the things that Stephanie, I think you
hit the nail on the head is this idea of redistricting. When they counted folks,
they redistricted so that we couldn’t get the full vote. And if you were to ask me,
what is the next thing that we should be sure of is not
only are we counting people, but are we also
participating those? You’ve mentioned
the statehouses. We are one statehouse away from
having the Republican Party be able to actually introduce
constitutional amendments, one statehouse away. So Virginia is something
that everybody’s paying really close attention
to, and there’s opportunity. There’s over 200-plus seats that
have a Latino electoral base of 4% or more, 84% of that,
84 seats alone in the South. So there’s opportunity. But I do want to
make sure that when we start talking about
what did Hillary do wrong? Did she play into this
idea of identity politics? That is a slippery slope. Because when we are talking
about Black Lives Matter, when we’re talking about choice,
when we’re talking about even bathrooms, when we’re
talking about equity, we’re talking
about civil rights. Yes. And what the
Republicans want to say is saying that civil rights
and identity politics are two different things. We’re talking about equity. If you cannot control your
choice of when you have a family, then you can’t
actually decide when you’re going to be most fruitful
and productive when it comes to work. So we can’t leave one
thing aside for the other. But I do think that this
idea of the economic message is what was largely missed. If I were to share with you
the idea of food deserts, the lack of connectivity,
the lack of education, the lack of jobs, an increased
drug problem opiate epidemic, I could very easily
be talking to you about the rural poor
or the urban poor. It is the same conversation. But instead, what
we decided to do is actually start
splitting folks, and not recognizing the
needs and the aspirations. When you talk about a
strong middle class, if you are working poor,
that’s where you want to be. If you’re in the middle
class, you want to stay there or aspire for your
children to do better. We have failed that. And the fact that people
can’t differentiate at times the difference between a
progressive Democratic agenda and a Republican agenda, that’s
not the Republicans’ fault. That is very much
wholly on the party. It’s not paying
attention to the needs. And people say, well, why
didn’t white working women vote for a Republican? I think part of it may
be party affiliation. But it’s also not
recognizing where that 56-year-old woman was. Her husband may
have lost his job. They never recovered
from a failed economy that lost their life savings. And their 22-year-old millennial
kid is living in the house. That doesn’t seem like progress
in the last eight years to them. So it’s having a real
conversation and meeting people where they are. I think Hillary was probably
handicapped somewhat by the recovery. She obviously didn’t want
to be critical of the fact that Barack Obama had
inherited this awful economy and had kind of dug,
or he had helped dig the country out of it. But the fact is we
still are living in an era of wage stagnation. Almost three decades
now when most people haven’t gotten a raise. All the income gains
have gone to the top. We’ve all heard about the 1%. It’s not made-up. Actually, most of
the income gains have gone to the top
1%, maybe the top 2%. So that’s how people’s
lives are being experienced. So I think the
fact that Hillary, I think, felt reluctant
to speak to that issue, to that anxiety for fear
of implicitly criticizing the record of President Obama,
I think that drove people into the arms of
Donald Trump, who was talking about it every day,
again, as if he had an agenda to deal with it. Now I’ll argue with anybody that
I think he was a total con man, and he doesn’t
actually have any idea how to fix the economy,
at least in a way that would help ordinary workers. But for most people, including
college-educated people and college grads, times
are still very tough. So that’s our argument. How did the Democrats recover? I think they have to have a
really strong economic message which is about jobs, health
care, retirement security. People are losing their
pensions, if they had them, their 401(k)s are worth less. And I think those– You know, James Carville said in
1992, it’s the economy, stupid. I’m not sure why we don’t
say that every two years, why Democrats don’t say that
every two years to themselves. Final thing I’ll say is
we did lose some states we should have one– Pennsylvania,
Michigan, Wisconsin. And what was the
big issue there? It was trade. And among the voters
that we polled, union voters for whom trade
was the most important issue, they voted for Donald Trump. And that’s a message
that we tried to talk to Democrats about. President Obama, I think,
knew that this was a problem, and yet he continued to
campaign for the Trans-Pacific Partnership right up
until election day. And the fact that Hillary
Clinton I don’t think ever was able to convince people
that she actually wasn’t for it, I think, it was a
very serious problem. We only lost those states by
a small margin, 77,000 votes. And the final thing
I’ll say, again, back to my union
hobbyhorse here is if we had the same union
density now that we had in 1992, we would have won
those three states. We would have had 2
million more votes using the same percentages
that we have now. So the fact that
union density is down, we think the future of
the Democratic Party is inextricably tied to the
health of the labor movement, not 100%, but in
a significant way. And so we hope that Democrats
will think about that as they form their agenda, which
all the rage in Washington now. What’s the agenda for
Democrats in 2020? The final thing I’ll say
is on a more upbeat note, Democrats are doing
much better in they’re outperforming Republicans– they have outperformed
Republicans in almost every election
since November 8. And all the statehouse races,
as Stephanie mentioned, the Kansas race where Trump
won by 20, a Republican won. And Trump won that
seat by 27 points. And the Republican
just managed to get by with slightly under 7%
in the special election. We’ll see what
happens in Georgia. Democrats are now,
I think, benefiting from the much more enthusiasm
than Republicans are. And polls that we just did in
purple states, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin,
with a named Democrat who’s running for either the
Senate or governor, they’re outperforming
Republicans by 13 points as of last week. So things are looking
a little bit better. So then let me ask
each one of you what you’re going to be doing
within your own communities, your own strategies
in the coming year or two that might be any
bit different than what you did in 2016. In other words, what
did you learn from 2016? What do you think? And feel free to give
advice to others as well. But what does the
party have to do to– again, it was an election that
could have gone either way– but to be in a
stronger position, to be in a stronger
position at the state level so we don’t have a
Constitutional Convention that may make voting harder
for many Americans? So what has to be
different moving ahead? Well if I may, the
focus of the party and the progressive outside
organizations, which we represent those,
in the states, at the legislative
level, down ballot is really, really critical. We as a party have been
outmaneuvered for a long time at the state and local level. Now part of that is just by
pure virtue of resources. Like we only have so many. And the Koch brothers have
more than the entire– the Koch brothers alone, and
their group have more than all of us together plus
the Democratic Party. They have spent the last 20
years focusing on state races. Building infrastructure. That’s right. State education boards,
and judges, and all that. That’s exactly right. And they’re coming up, right? They’re coming up the pipeline. And we are going to have to
find the additional resources, energy, and will, almost the
will to go in these states. And so for EMILY’s
List, we’ve been engaged in training
and supporting women for legislatures
really for almost– not quite, but almost
20 years already. And we were already
getting ready to expand our program going
into 2018, because we knew that the states was
going to be where it was at. You have 2/3 of your
governorships are open or are up for election. Your governor here, who is a
dear friend of EMILY’s List, Gina Raimondo is
up for re-election. I just want to note, remind
everybody, 2018’s coming up. But we see these governors races
and these legislative races as really important. So we were getting
ready to expand, but then the Women’s
March happened. And I would like to say,
oh, I saw this coming. I did not see this coming. It was an extraordinary
moment of energy that I think any anybody who
was at any of the marches, whether it was in Washington,
DC, or here, or in Boston, you saw folks that you just
couldn’t imagine seeing. And and I share that
because what that means is that there is this commitment
and this energy by women to step up and run. And I’d mentioned we’ve had
11,000 since election day– over 11,000, in fact– contact EMILY’s List and say,
I want to run for office. They represent all 50
states, all 50 states. And they are thinking about city
council and county commission. And it is on us to help guide
that energy and further empower those women to file for office,
and strengthen their campaigns, and get them the resources
they need to run. And I really do believe
that this is a moment that– EMILY’s List has
been around 32 years. Nothing like this has
ever happened before. I mean, nothing like this
has ever happened before. And so it is on us
to really ensure that we keep this energy going. And I’m not concerned. I’m not concerned that this
energy is going to die down. There was some polling
done of all of the calls that have been going into
the congressional offices. Democrats have been shutting
down the switchboard at the United States
Senate a number of times on nominee fights. And they found that 86% of the
folks calling in are women. Women are leading the
way on the ground. And the Democratic
Party, I believe, is going to be the
beneficiary of this energy. But we got to get
these folks placed. We’ve got to get them supported. And I do believe
that this is what’s going to raise all these
votes up in ’18 and ’20. Do you think there is
sufficient infrastructure within the Democratic
progressive community to actually have an impact
on these state races in terms of organizations,
in terms of donors who have to understand the importance? Because let’s face it. To a national donor who
gives $50,000, $100,000, giving to state races,
not the same thing as giving it to Hillary Clinton
or even a governor or Senator. And that’s a lesson that
Republicans and conservatives have gotten through
to their funding base and their top donors, that
this is how we preserve power. And you referred to this. We didn’t quite say
directly, 2018 races will decide what happens with
the redistricting in 2020, which happens again. So the 2010 redistricting
was terrible for Democrats. If they don’t win
some statehouses of state legislatures back. And there’s not a lot of
time to do this, right? That’s right. That’s right. Which is why thank goodness we
have this energy, because that will help. Some states have
better infrastructure than other states. That’s the honest to God truth. I think in the
conversations that I have been having with
funding partners and donors, there’s a real recognition
that the investments need to be made, and they
need to be made now. The proof will come
when the money starts moving in the right direction. But it sounds a lot better
today than it has ever sounded in conversations
over the last five years. And we’ve had
these conversations over the last five years. We’re building some of
this infrastructure in some of these states as we go. The places like
Colorado and Minnesota have very, very
good infrastructure. Well, they also have
Democratic governors. It matters to have this
infrastructure in the states, particularly in the
Midwest and the West. But to your point,
these governors races for redistricting, these
legislatures for redistricting, this could be the whole
ball of wax this go-around. Upwards to 35 governors
in this country have an actual say in the map
that’s drawn in their state. Yeah, because– Think about that. And then we only have 16
Democratic governors today in the entire country. We said for years we’ve heard
that the demographic tide is on the Democratic side. Rudy Teixeira, a friend of ours
has been saying this literally for 30 years. And to a degree, he’s right. And you mentioned
millennial voters and so on. That the rising demographic
groups are trending Democratic. But the Republicans have
been able with gerrymandering in 2010 to stay that
off to the extent that if you nationalize the
House of Representative race, the Democrats would have
to win 54% of the vote to win a majority in the House. And it’s not just
the gerrymandering, but then it’s the voting
IDs, and the suppression. Right. So I think that,
yeah– and I think just to take a step
back to appreciate how quickly our demographics,
our last census, 51% of the population of
women in United States was responsible because
of Hispanics, 51%. That was 2010. It’s 2010. [INAUDIBLE] Sorry. Yeah, yeah. I guess my mic might
not be working. So in the 2010 census,
51% of the population boom in the United States
was originated because of the Latino population. And it wasn’t immigration. It was births, so
American-born children here. And when you start looking
at the gutting of the Voting Rights Act, Shelby County versus
Eric Holder, basically that eliminated the
protection of voters. Shelby County had 120% growth
of Latino population in 2010. Every single state that
followed had 100% or more. So it’s not by accident that
they’re preventing the future. And one of our jobs at Voto
Latino is voter modernization, is actually talked
about this idea of how do you do
automatic litter registration like they’re doing
in Oregon and in California? How do you do mail-in ballots? How do you make sure
that people are not only counting, but also being
part of redistricting? And so one of the
things that we’ve departed from
historically last in 2016 was for the very first time,
we created college chapters on the ground. And the college chapter, 90% of
the work that we do is online. The majority of our voter
registration was online. This year, because we felt there
was a different temperature at the ground level, we started
opening up college chapters. And the idea is that
how do we make sure that we’re giving people
the information they need and the resources? We created an app
called Voter Pal. And the idea is that everybody
in this room can download it, and you can start registering
your neighborhood rather easily. We capture your
information, remind you. In Oklahoma, we had a
young woman download that app and register
over 100 people. So our job now is
how do we build it? How do we make sure that we’re
getting the right information out? But if you were to ask me what
the Democratic Party keeps talking about
demographics is destiny, it’s not destiny if you don’t
build the infrastructure. It’s not destiny. I have one amendment
to that, because I think money and infrastructure
are obviously key. But they’re not
enough to overcome a bad candidate or a
candidate without a message. And I think you would know
the answer to this, Stephanie. Hillary, she had as much money
or more than Donald Trump. I can’t remember. She had more. More. Significantly more. Significantly more. And the history is
full of examples where candidates have
raised much more money, spent it, and still lost. So to our mind, when you
ask what we’re doing, obviously we’re always trying
to improve our communications and our infrastructure. As I said, we can
only legally talk to the 6% of the
workforce or union members with union dues money. We can raise other
funds and talk to working class voters
outside the unions. And we’re doing that,
and we’re experimenting with different ways to do that. But I would say we’re going
to spend a lot of time trying to push the Democrats to have
a real economic message that appeals to working-class voters. And I think that’s the decisive
factor in this election. [INTERPOSING VOICES] If I may, as long as
the message that we’re pushing for working-class
voters is actually all working-class voters. Absolutely. And I appreciate this. But jobs and the
economy are so key. But as Maria Teresa
mentioned, not being able to choose when
you’re having a family and when you aren’t is
an economic decision. And how we define economy
is really, really important in our party. Those are economic
issues, no question. But I think also the
progressive immigration– Immigration’s an economic issue. Yes. Choice is an economic– Yeah. But actually in
immigration, I think that the progressive
movement has completely lost on the conversation. Because I don’t
think there’s anyone in this room that
would not agree that what we should be focusing
on is wage enforcement. The reason that
right now we have a– wage enforcement. The reason right now that people
feel uneasy about immigration is because they
feel that someone could come in and take their job
at lower than acceptable wages. And you better believe that that
undocumented worker does not want to be exploited either. So if we could actually have an
agenda around wage enforcement where the onus all
of a sudden goes on the employer, an employer
who violates a wage enforcement, would does not pay properly,
they get a $1,000 fine. That’s not a deterrent. That doesn’t make us safer. That doesn’t make us make sure
that we’re integrating properly in the workforce. But I also think that
the Democratic Party has to look like the
population they serve. I cannot tell you how many times
I have gone and shown focus groups where the focus group
is still the same elderly white man talking to young
African-American girls and young women. Do you really think that he’s
getting the nuance of that? How can you actually
have a Democratic Party where the leadership is
not actually the community they serve? Where all of a sudden
they miss Texas because they are
culturally incompetent what was happening
on the ground. And so– I mentioned the fall-off
in downscale voters. But there was also a
fall-off pretty significant among young African-Americans. We can’t lose them either. So I totally agree our
message has to be broader than just white working-class. But the economy
affects everybody. And that’s, I think, the issue
that we should be focusing on. Now one point is Bill, you
were talking about the decline of union membership. Let us not go without
saying there’s a reason for that decline. And it has been a manipulation
by the Republican Party through legislatures and
through the government to lessen the ability
of organizing. And this doesn’t just
happen because folks chose not to be part of the union. This has been a very
tactical purposeful attack on our union membership, as
it has been so many of the– defunding Planned Parenthood. Like this is [INAUDIBLE] not
just because of the issue. But they recognize that this is
a piece of the Democratic Party coalition, and they are going
after each one in a very, very– well, in this case, they’re
doing very successfully. And we’ve got to stand up
for our organizations who are fighting for our workers,
and fighting for women, and making sure that
folks have what they need to succeed in their lives. And that’s on all
of us as Democrats. And what’s the AFL-CIO
strategy now for fighting back against the Trump
administration’s effort to further diminish your impact? This is one of the
policies they do have. And the people who they’ve
been putting in the government, although they’ve
only put in about 10% of the government’s
[INAUDIBLE]– The Supreme Court
was pretty important. But that’s strategy too, right? That’s a strategy. Yeah, the supreme court. No, they wanted to
delegitimize government. They wanted to
delegitimize unions. But with a Congress
controlled by Republicans, and you’ve lost a
fair– their used to be pro-union Republicans. There are now maybe three left,
maybe, on the national scene. So what’s your strategy? Beyond praying for Donald
Trump’s incompetence, which I think turns out to be
a pretty good bet so far, and the Republican
Party’s incompetence– I mean, they haven’t passed
any meaningful legislation, and they’re almost 100 days in. You sign some executive
orders, and he can obviously continue to do that. And around the margins, that
can do great damage to things we care about. I think we have to keep
voters motivated and educated. My president is a big believer
in getting information out to the rank and file
union members weekly when the administration
is doing things that affects their wages, and their
benefits, their retirement security. So we need to do more of that. It’s a little bit
ironic that I’m here talking about the future
of the Democratic Party, because we go to
great lengths to say, we are not captive
to either party. The labor movement is not– on the other hand,
I’m a Democrat. And if you look at
the history here, it’s only one party has stood
for working-class families, and to strengthen the rights
of workers, and civil rights, and social security,
and immigrant rights, and that’s the Democrat Party. So that’s we’re going to end up. Well, and the challenge
for the work that we do is that we are a
nonpartisan organization, but we are now living in a
completely different atmosphere where the Latino
community is getting scapegoated for all the ills. And that is a difficult
space to maneuver. OK, let’s go to some questions. We have two mics. As I said earlier, if I see some
students, I may call on them. And people want
to have to leave, now is a good time to do so. [LAUGHTER] I’m just going to
guess some of the– I’m going to be ageist about it. Someone wearing a brown
sweatshirt or T-shirt will get some preferences. So let’s just start over here. I’m not a student. OK, but go ahead. And I’m going to ask people to– I do this all the time. Try to give questions,
not speeches. And if you want to
buttonhole people afterwards, you can try that. So let’s just try to keep so
we get more participation. So thank you all for
your perspectives. I really appreciate it. The mind boggles trying to
find all the reasons why we are where we are. And I know there isn’t
one simple reason. But I wonder in terms of
folks who did not vote, it seemed to me this was
an extraordinary year. And I’m a historian. I appreciate the
historical trends and how there’s a pendulum. But as a historian, I know that
sometimes extraordinary things happen. And I think Donald
Trump’s election was extraordinary
considering who he is, and his character, his demeanor,
his education, all of it. It’s not a normal time. So what will you do with
your various constituencies to reach people who didn’t even
come out, and not just react to the information
you get about why people voted the way they did? Why don’t you take that? I think for us, we have a lot
of folks that were basically saying that they were going to
do a protest vote, not vote. Thank you. But they’re now in
a different space. They’re now paying attention. And so our job is to educate
them on how you transfer that to political power. And if anything– and
this is going to sound counter-intuitive– because people are
paying attention, they’re looking
for the real news. They’re looking for
real information, and they’re looking for
real avenues of engagement. Part of the challenge that
we have within the Latino community when people say
that people don’t vote is because there really is
a lack of infrastructure. Only eight states
require civic education in order to graduate from
high school, eight states. 51% of kids in classrooms
today are young kids of color. The majority of them were
children of immigrants. Where are they going
to learn about America? So our job is we are
now living and breathing a civic education moment
that we are trying so hard to capitalize on. Can I add just one
really quick thing? Let me ask you a
question, though. You can answer as well. Do you have any sense of why
women nonvoters were nonvoters? Does it change from
election to election? Is this anything that
you’re able to measure? Well one of the
biggest drop-offs between presidential cycles
and non-presidential cycles are women voters. Really, my sisters
that do not go to the polls in the
midterms, like they need to, and we’re working on that. And it’s sort of understanding
that that election is as important. More women than men vote,
and by a pretty good clip. And that’s getting
bigger, actually, as the elections go on. But we need more. And there’s a lot of
nonvoters in this country. There are millions and millions
and millions of nonvoters. I want to say one thing though
about this particular election. We had two very, very
unpopular candidates, I mean, unlikable candidates. Despite the fact that I really
loved one of them, personally. But we also, to put a little bit
on poor David and his industry, the media told everybody
that she was going to win. Everybody thought
she was going to win. So if you weren’t that
excited about her, and you were told
she was going to win, maybe you decided to
go to a movie that day, or you worked, or you
worked your two jobs, and you had your kids, and you
can’t get to the polls always, I think that unfortunately did
not help in this environment. And just to underscore that. There were focus groups that
were done that were saying, who are you going to vote
for, Hillary or Trump? And people would say Hillary. And the follow-up question
was, do you like her? They would say, no. You should lead with that. Because are you going
to expect someone that has two jobs,
a working mother to stand in line for four
or five hours for something that you don’t like? That, you start there. And I will say I never
predicted Hillary would win. Thank you. You didn’t. That’s true. And I always said people
thought I was crazy that it was possible that Trump would win. I just want to congratulate
you on your great work on EMILY’s List. Just fantastic. And I wondered of the
11,000 women that called in, do you have any idea about
their party affiliation or demographics in the sense
of background and demographics? We’re in the process of
doing that right now. We can take the list,
sort of match it up against our voter file and get
some demographics out of it. The good news is they’re
all across the country. I do have that information. And they are younger than our
usual suspects, which is good, but we’re going to find
that out pretty quickly. I will say the day after
the DC march in Washington, we did a training for
potential candidates. Now they marched all
day the day before, and the training started on
a Sunday morning at 8:00 AM. 500 women came. We had a waiting
list of another 500. Combination of those 1,000,
nearly 60% were women of color, and 50% were under 40. So I can give you
a little snapshot that there’s some
good hope here. Just please tell me they’re
not all Republicans. They’re all Democrats. I should know EMILY’s List– we do only support
Democratic candidates. So I might be actually
the most partisan up here because we
only support Democrats. Hi, I’m Dave Andrews. MA 2012, I’m a student,
too, by the way, but at University
of Rhode Island. That’s good. All right. I’m a social studies teacher
in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, so I was hoping to ask you
a couple of questions after. [APPLAUSE] Awesome, yes. I think I and a
lot of other people are having difficulty separating
the two parties because of their corporate nature. I’ve curtailed my speech too,
so I’ll just get into it. [LAUGHTER] The Democratic Party
has long touted itself as a party of the
little guy, yet they seem to be part of a corporate
two-party system, wherein paramount importance is
placed on one’s ability to raise the most money
from the biggest donors. Bernie Sanders proved that’s
not always so, however. I would add to that
the DNC, I felt, kind of shut out some
worthy candidates like Sam Ronan, Jehmu Greene
for DNC chair, and I think that kind of eroded
people’s trust in the party, and for some, it
just failed outright. Going forward–
and you’ve answered some of this to a
degree, but what will the Democratic Party do
to restore and maintain trust? And how are they
going to address what I think is the
biggest concern, which is at the root of it
is income inequality? How do they address
these things? How do they maintain them? The labor movement– Well, I could have
made that speech, yes. That’s why I say the
labor movement has long had a very complicated
relationship with the Democratic Party,
depending on candidates, but back and forth. So you obviously
have your values and what you’re driving at. So how do you work
with the party? How do you address this? I mean, I would say there
is some hope on the horizon. Just yesterday, I think,
Bernie Sanders and Tom Perez started a joint tour
of state parties to try to build enthusiasm
and improve the infrastructure of Democratic Party. I think the power structure
of the Democratic Party heard loud and clear
they’ve got a problem. Of course, that’s
the first thing to deal with a problem is to
recognizing that you have it. And I think the
fact that they’re keeping Bernie Sanders
close, and Elizabeth Warren, obviously, and others, Sherrod
Brown, other party leaders like that are really rising in
the Democratic Party I think is a good sign. But I totally agree. I talked about the downscale
voter who was frustrated, didn’t see either candidate
speaking for them. They either didn’t vote
or they voted for the one who was promised change. I mean, that was the
whole Trump thing, right? These are people
who wanted change. They weren’t sure how
was going to turn out, but they knew that the status
quo wasn’t working for them. And I think Donald Trump’s
more effective criticisms of Hillary Clinton was her
connection to Wall Street. I mean, how ironic is that? His entire cabinet is made up
of Wall Street billionaires. How many Goldman
Sachs, six officials are in his cabinet
in the White House? I mean, really. I said he was a con man. That’s the nicest
way I can put it. But I think Democrats get that. Now I don’t know whether
two years from now, or three years from now, when
the primary season starts, we’re going to see candidates
like Bernie Sanders from the more populist– Well let me just
ask you a second, if you go back to the mic. Do you believe– no, you asked
the question, the teacher. But go to the mic in a second. Do you believe that
there’s little, no difference between the
Republican, Democratic Party? Is the Democratic Party
corrupt beyond repair? That was a critique that some
Bernie Sanders progressives made during the campaign, and
it’s also been a long critique that progressive
elements in the party have made against the Clintons
and against the party. So how different does
the Democratic Party have to be to be seen as
different by that element? I think a lot of the so-called
issues, for instance, you could pick any Second
Amendment, gay rights, or gay marriage, abortion. I think a lot of
these issues are being used to kind of obfuscate
from other things like income inequality, for instance. They’re important issues. However, I think our attention
is being drawn away from what we all need to focus on. And that’s kind of what’s
keeping us separated. Do I think it’s
ruined beyond repair? I hope not. I think Bernie
Sanders, he certainly gave me quite a bit of hope. And a lot of people that
I’ve met and spoken to are, I think, shifting– I don’t want to say left, but
more progressively, maybe even more progressively than
Bernie in some instances. So I see that it’s hopeful. In a sick disgusting
kind of way, I think it’s good that Trump
got elected, because he woke a lot of people up. And I hope that that is not
only a progressive movement that can be– yeah, exactly, harnessed,
but also maintained. That’s my concern
about maintaining this. To address that, I think
that one of the biggest challenges that the Democratic
Party right now has– and this is not as a Democrat,
but like observing the outside is never giving
credence to this idea that what Bernie Sanders
was saying that it was quote unquote “rigged.” And then all of the e-mails came
out, and there was no apology. I think that was one
of the biggest things that people were waiting for was
an apology or acknowledgement of, you know what? We are human, and we
may have done XYZ. Not saying they were culpable,
but recognizing that something happened. I think a lot of
people saw Hillary as rewarding Debbie
Wasserman Schultz after that whole affair. They’re waiting. Right, exactly. But if you were
to, I mean, reading the tea leaves, for the very
first time, young white men outvoted like 10%– and this is to give you an idea. 4% voted for an independent
ticket in 2008 against Romney. This time it was 10%. If you were to ask
me what the challenge to the Democratic Party
has right now is coalescing the left of the left, and not
just among young white men, but I would I would
actually propose among a lot of
young Latinos that actually find that attractive. And because they are
talking specifically what you’re talking about,
this idea of equity, this idea of being able to
move up the economic ladder, and feeling right
now that there’s no one listening to them. So the biggest
blind spot right now is saying that we’re
going to appoint X person, and that we’re done. No, you actually
are going to have to do more than just messaging. You actually have to come
up with an actual policy proposal that’s going
to say, you get me. And that is a challenge. OK, let’s go over there. Gosh. I almost don’t know what to say. The previous questioner
said it so well. OK, great. So we’re done. [LAUGHTER] No, no. So I’ll kind of
change my question. Sorry. We’re almost over, anyway. So just to pick up
on that, I guess, how can your– your
organizations do great work, and thank you. The Democratic Party
deserves a lot of criticism, picking up on what you said. It’s really– well, I
just won’t go on about it. How can your organizations
effectively– pressure would be a nice word– the Democratic Party to do
what you were just saying? I mean, economic issues are– I think that’s a good question. OK. So Latino issues,
or economic issues, or Latino issues, or women’s
issues, or et cetera. You can pressure the party. But first off, pressuring the
party starts at the grassroots. And what’s happening
in communities all over this country
are rallies, and marches, and folks going into
congressional offices, and making their [INAUDIBLE]. Town halls are making it known. And I think for
organizations like ours, we have to be sort
of that constant– I know AFL-CIO has
done this forever, since the beginning
of the AFL-CIO. And just to give you an example
of when EMILY’s List started, they would support
Democratic women running for office because they
didn’t think women could win. So in 1985, the reason
there is an EMILY’s List was because the party, our
party, the party I love, said, women can’t win, so
why would we support you? And that was the deal. And EMILY’s List had
to start to prove that women can raise a little
bit of money to get going. And then all of a
sudden, they were viable. And then the party
was like, oh, OK. So fine. We’ll support. Fine, fine. Now today, we actually
recruit candidates jointly in a very positive way. Sometimes we get
on the wrong sides, and that happens, and
we’ll do that again. But I say that, like that’s
a shift that took 30 years. Now this one can’t
take that long. Right. But we absolutely have
to listen to what’s going on on the ground, and
the economic inequality, and the importance of holding
down to the core of who we are, which is a party that
believes in civil rights, and equal rights, and human
rights across the board. As long as our
foundation is that. And when we deal with it
economic inequality and that is tied together, that
is the winning coalition. That is what this country is. And so we have to go help
build the Democratic Party. That means in our local
communities right here. We have to go help. It’s not just the DNC. Forget the DNC. You tell me how the Democratic
Party is here in Rhode Island. How is the Democratic
Party here in Providence? That’s where we’ve got to start
working the Democratic Party. The revolution never
started within the walls of an institution, right? So I think it’s recognizing
it has to be at the ground. OK. Hi, there. My name is Jeff Salvador. I’m a senior here at Brown. And I want to ask
about something that’s been touched on
but is definitely an issue near and dear
to my heart, which is millennial engagement. How do each of
your organizations plan to keep millennials
engaged in 2018 and beyond, and voting Democratic? Well, that’s all that we do. [LAUGHTER] And we focus– so
that’s all that we do. Actually, we work
specifically on millennials. And I keep reminding millennials
that they’re not young anymore. They’re now 35, so
they can buy homes. So we are now focusing
into generation– to generation Z voted for the
very first time this election. And there’s baby boomers. People talk about baby
boomers and millennials. Millennials are bigger
the baby boomers. Generation Z is bigger
than the millennials. So the idea of participation,
the idea of engagement is ripe. Right now for us
it’s making sure that we create the
pipelines to do so. So we’ll do
everything from we do fun things like go
to South by Southwest and register voters
on the ground. We do college campuses. But then we also
started teaching people that it does make a
difference when you call your member of Congress. We were basically going against
the Supreme Court nominee. And we were able to get
not just Voto Latino, but with our whole group
of allied partners, over at million calls
against Jeff Sessions. But that happens in
partnership and coalitions. And the only way that
we do that, though, is making sure that we’re
meeting voters where they are. And we’re very nontraditional. We don’t do television ads. We started with 2004 we did. But now we do solely online. David mentioned that
we registered 250,000. We registered 250,000 in 2014. Just these past two
years, we basically were able to cross
half a million people that we registered. But 99% of them are online. And so when I hear a lot
of the Democrats saying, we have to stop doing
TV ads, yes, but that was like 10 years ago. And I always welcome
getting suggestions of what we could be tweaking better. But that is our DNA. That’s where we started. And just in case any
major Democratic donors are watching this
webcast, we have to put more money into
our millennial outreach across the board. EMILY’s List did a $10 million
persuasion digital advertising campaign in key states in
the presidential, 10 million. We found out after the
election that was the largest and possibly only
significant– $10 million– significant persuasion digital
campaign toward millennials. We can’t ever do that again. That is not OK. We’ve got to change that. And it’s all digital, right? We’ve got to do it [INAUDIBLE]. And just to underscore, $10
million out of a $5 billion campaign. Oh, yes. Sorry. Thank you. So it was not even like a 0.01%. We’re getting ready to
finish up in a few minutes, so I want you to ask a question,
and ask you to ask a question, see if we can combine it. So really, question. No introduction, just question. Endless discussion about the
need for well-paying jobs. My question is where are
they going to come from? Because all the evidence I read
is that they’re going away, not being developed. And your question? Related to gerrymandering, I was
curious to hear if any of you have an early impression
of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee,
and what strategy they’ve established, if any. Bill, you want to
talk about jobs? I say on wages, great
jobs are great jobs because they pay a decent
wage, and they and they provide benefits. Working in an auto plant in
the 1920s was a lousy job but became a good job when the
workers were able to organize. Same with coal mining,
same with hospital workers. Those are all heavily
unionized industries that pay a decent wage,
and you can support a family in the middle class. There are jobs being
created in this country– computer jobs, Uber drivers. There are a lot of
bad jobs out there that have where the
workers don’t have a voice, they have no bargaining power. But they can become
good jobs, and they could pay a decent wage. Just one note. I think I agree. I think that you’re talking
about the automation that is on the horizon, and we’re
not talking about automation. One of the biggest lifelines
of rural communities is the trucking industry,
and on the horizon is automated trucking industry. If you were to ask me what is
going– if we do not get ahead of this, and this is, I think,
a space for the Democratic Party is actually coming
up with a policy agenda that actually discusses
this in a way that is real. It has to talk about
actually creating transformational
education that is meeting the needs of the future,
doing immigration policy that is future thinking of what is
the actual type of immigrants that we need in this country? And we also have to have a
conversation of not everybody’s going to be able to adjust. That is a harder
conversation to have. That is the only
thing that I see on the horizon that will
exacerbate race relations if we don’t address it. And there is no policy
issue right now. And that is where
the Democratic Party should be filling that void. Do you have anything
about the gerrymandering? I can talk a little
bit about it. So to the [INAUDIBLE],
the National Democratic Redistricting Commission– Committee. Committee, yeah. Something like that. I’m hoping that they
shorten their name. [LAUGHTER] Hashtag. They are in the process
of putting together direct electoral strategies
in key legislative seats. They are definitely targeting
some governors’ races. So we’re awaiting a
larger plan that I think we will all
be seeing probably within the next month or a
little bit later than that. They are also doing some direct
work on the 501(c)(3 side with a lot of court cases, because
we’ve got to take a lot of these maps to court. We’re going to have to
battle some things out, and so there’s a lot of
work coming out of that. I think we still need to see
how it all comes together. But governor Terry
McAuliffe of Virginia and leader Nancy Pelosi,
those two in particular are very committed. You’ve heard that the
president– or President Obama, excuse me. I’m still, yeah– President Obama is also
going to be engaged with us. So it needs to be strong,
and it needs to happen. We’re just at the very
early phases still. OK, last two questions. Each say your
question and then– My question is about
educators, and it’s for Bill. Seems to me every public school
teacher is a member of a union, or just about everyone. And education is under threat. They were in Wisconsin
until Governor Walker made it illegal. OK. And the question is? American education, to
me, is under threat, given who’s in charge of
it at the federal level. And as a retired teacher,
it’s my experience that all the improvements
and the excellence comes from the local level, and
at least from the state level. And then all of the
destruction and the degradation comes from federal policies and
changeovers of administrations. But the unions are huge. I had to belong. There was no choice. So there’s this huge
union population. Can the AFL-CIO help
those teachers’ unions? And can we use them? Can we– Hold that thought one second. And your question? Yeah. So my question goes
back a little bit to what we were talking about
before with the Bernie Sanders wing of the party. So would it be maybe a
good electoral strategy, but would it be a good thing
for the country, do you think, if we had two parties, a
right-wing populist party, a left-wing populist
party, then just increasing the political polarization,
you forget about the center? Do we want the Democratic
Party to become that? OK. So you want to
address education? Yeah. I mean, I can’t get deeply
into education policy, because I’m not an expert. You’re right. Most teachers belong
to either AFT or NEA. The problem is in many stated– I mentioned Wisconsin–
they’ve lost the right to bargain collectively, so
they’re pretty powerless. But I do think they’re on the
forefront of education reform, and they are certainly
pushing folks in Washington in that direction. And of course, they’ve
suffered a huge defeat with Betsy DeVos becoming the
Secretary of Education who doesn’t believe in
public education. So we live in a
hyper-partisan era. And there are people who
wanted the Democratic Party to move further to the
left, while the Republican Party we’ve seen certainly since
the advent of the Tea Party has moved far to the right. And then you have
the establishment of the Republican Party
being highly responsive to the right, which is a little
bit different than the dynamic on the Democratic side, where
they’ve often tried to straddle the line between the
progressive grassroots, or the more populist side,
and the more corporate side of the Democratic Party. So should the Democratic
Party stop doing that and just go full left? I’m going to ask you
two guys, and then we’re going to be done. I think we need to look at
what is a winning coalition. And we need to find what
ties us all together. And as I said earlier,
I believe what ties us together, whether
you’re a socialist Senator from Vermont or– I grew up in Butte, Montana,
which is a mining union town. What does tie us all together
is people who care about this country and care about
the Democratic Party– and I would say that’s
definitely Senator Sanders– is that we made a choice. And we made the
right moral choice, which was to stand for civil
rights, and human rights, and equal rights and
a very, very big way. And thank goodness we did
that as the Democratic Party. And then together, we
know that we’ve got to deal with income inequality. We may disagree. Like, I think that’s
our foundation. We may disagree
how to get there, but I do not think
we disagree on what we want to accomplish here. I really don’t. And so we just have to
have the battles on policy, which I think is good for us. I think it’s good
for us as a party. I have to agree. I think that this idea– there’s always a lot
of romanticization around a third party. The one that would
disproportionately be impacted is being able to swallow that
tough pill that a third party would basically
siphon off voters from the progressive movement,
and Democrats would never hold power. That is as blanket as
they come, part of it because of the
infrastructure of the way we’ve done a two-party system. So if folks are comfortable with
that pill, that’s different. I’m very pragmatic. I like to win. And I like to make sure
that we are able to– and what’s happening
right now in Washington, I think we could all
agree, is that what is happening right now in
Washington in the White House is not even a Republican. He’s playing it in a
completely different sandbox than the rest of the Republican
and Democratic Party, because the Republican
and Democratic Party believe in institutions. They believe in governance. The spectrum of where that
is is completely different. And so what our challenge
is is how do we make sure that we get people back into
the sandbox of believing in what I believe is literally
the greatest country. I do believe that we have an
aspiring document that we have not fulfilled, but it is
the most beautiful piece of aspiration of what we can
do as Americans by fulfilling that document. And that is the hard work to do. I’m going to end at that note. I can’t think of a better note. But I want to thank
Stephanie, Maria Teresa, and Bill, and the Watson
Institute, and most of all, for you for coming. Thanks so much.

28 comments on “The Future of the Democratic Party

  1. Fascinating discussion…yet still think they have missed the mark on many key points relevant to voter participation particularly in the Black community…on which there was no real focus. Going forward a bad idea.

  2. The Party just needs to publish a price list.
    How much to buy a member of the House?
    How much does a Senator cost?
    Until the Party ends the corruption, there's no difference between Reps and Dems.
    And the Reps really like the gravy.
    Cynical I know, but this is just garbage. Lip service.

  3. When's the discussion on single-payer or medicare for all showing up? Be good to the morlocks, or we'll eat you.

  4. I can't believe this group got the go ahead from the Waston Institute. This discussion is so sophomoric, so "sanitized for general consumption," it makes me realize there is no hope on either side anymore.

  5. An hour and a half of my life that I can never get back: Listening to old white people congratulate each other for being old white people, and reading opinion polls from the POTUS election that they all helped to lose to the GOP. They don't talk about the ISSUES because they're paid NOT to.

  6. 52:13
    Stop regarding campaign funding as an investment. Stop being cozy with wall Street. What wall Street wants in return on their investment are loopholes, lax regulations and more money. To hell with public concerns for health, safety and environment. This is why establishment Republicans and Democrats are both having all time low ratings. People simply want honest and sincere politicians who won't betray them.

  7. God bless the guy at 1:08:23. Question though; if "Bernie Sanders progressives" are only one element of the Democratic Party's base, as Corn says, who the hell are the other parts? Who else votes Democrat? All I can think of is the trade unions, and the Democrats helped annihilate them decades ago. Minorities, I guess? Do people of color really still believe that the establishment Democrats are looking out for them? Instead of being a party with good ideas, they've become the lesser-of-two-evils party. "Hey, we'll totally continue the War on Drugs, but at least we won't make Jeff Sessions the Attorney General! Go us!" This panel is a crock of disingenuous platitudinous identity politics horseshit.

  8. Hillary lost because of GOP voter suppression. Especially using Crosscheck in key states like MI (run by a GOPper) and WI (run by a GOPper). The GOP managed to get the tight margins of electoral college victory that way. They've been suppressing the vote for *years*. Democrats are just so incompetent and paid to lose by the donor class. The donor class pays for strong Republicans and pays for weak Democrats.

    Baby boomers vote because they know full well they get sh*t out of the government. The system bends over backwards to coddle the boomer generation. From Medicare, Medicare Part D and the 2008 bailout. The same isn't the case for other classes, so why participate in a system that doesn't do anything for you?

    I'm more shocked there isn't more voter apathy as I used to joke that the only smart voter was the non-voter.

  9. No. The Dems lost not because of the alleged "Russian wiretapping" nor the Comey letter. If you Dems (I used to be a Democrat.) don't learn this lesson well, you'll lose again in 2020.

  10. Im 41mins in. Not too much self searching, introspection or hard questioning going on here. You can easily imagine every contributor on this panel as a CNN talking head.

  11. It's about money…the lack thereof and thus the lack of upward mobility. Period. The Democratic Party doesn't want to address, and as a result, Dr. Jill Stein is going to look a lot more attractive as an option come 2020. In addition, some of us are going to start throwing our money and our votes behind 3rd party candidates at the local and state levels as well. The "lesser of two evils" paradigm has run its course.

  12. How to win.

    "Its the economy stupid", was, I think, initially just sound campaign advice, but it turned out to be the most memorable message from the First Clinton election, which was over twenty-four years ago.I forget what the official one was. A good slogan has legs. Hilary's unofficial slogan was "It's my turn."

    The incoherence of the panel as to who, what, why, where and when is striking. They are all very agreeable but agree on nothing. Reaching a cohesive joint position will take a long, long time, yet it is essential. Bernie knew who he was and what he wanted, and when he wanted it. Maria is closest to understanding what is needed.

    If Trump fails then in my view voters will not return to the Democratic Party, but instead they will reject politics entirely or take to the streets. Some will do one and others the other, probably. For the Democratic to build they need to build confidence in politics, Trump's failure does not achieve that. The very worst thing for the Democrats is the idea that the voters don't have a choice. Oh no?

  13. DNC. If you think, and you do, that it's about DELIVERING, the message you are on the path to another loss. It was the message and, of course, a terrible candidate that lost the election. Had you actually listened, Bernie would be seated today.

  14. We are not waiting for an apology, we are waiting for you to get rid of super-delegates in primaries and get rid of primaries where independent voters cannot vote.

  15. This should have been called "How do we co-opt youth and Progressives by making them believe we really intend to give them what they want?"

  16. Schriock still hasn't learned her lesson. She's talking about trends and praying they hold. She spent 30 seconds talking about on policy.

    Trump is a bad cold. Neo-Liberalism is the infection.

  17. Ah, the Merkel dream! Its working so well over there, why not repeat it? For sure, Hillary agrees with Maria Teresa up there on the screen who says that the guy who swims the Rio Grande is just like that MIT enrolled immigrant. "All immigrants are entrepreneurs." Just, very similar to Angela's song. And Hillary promised to multiply "Angelas' gift of diversity" by a factor of five –

    "Donald Trump was right when he said Hillary Clinton wants “a 500 percent increase in Syrians refugees” –

  18. The future of the Democratic Party is bright. As the United States becomes a low IQ, third world country due to our immigration policies.

  19. Interesting. The lady from Voto Latino said that the average age of Latinos is 27 and 60% of them are under 33, whereas the average age of whites is 56. Wow. OK, the America this 60 year old white man grew up is dead and buried.

  20. loss and destitution as a party goes and they have done it to themselves. it will take years for the party to recover from this if it ever does.

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