What Happened?

How do we respond to a historic and shocking loss?  There will be explanations and autopsies galore, and we should do our own deep and uncomfortable questioning.  Much of that learning will take time to gather, integrate, and understand, but some requires only that we acknowledge what really happened.

  • We lost this election >> President-elect Trump won votes from fewer than 20% of Americans; we won fewer votes in 2016 than 2012.
  • We lost this election 8 years ago >> Our party became a national movement focused on general elections, and we lost touch with non-urban, non-coastal communities.
  • We never delivered on the “change Washington” promise >> There is a straight line between our failure to address the culture and systemic failures of Washington and this election result.
  • People feel unrepresented by their leaders and uninspired by our party >> Hundreds of thousands of voters were willing to affirmatively vote for a man they believed unfit for the office out of disgust and desperation. That disgust and desperation is driven by being told they are unnecesaary, disposable in conversation after conversation about job losses and globalization where we fail to empathize and accurately account for the microeconomic consequences of macroeconomic progress.
  • The data was right; our analysis was wrong >> Our understanding of analytics, modeling, and statistics is too rudimentary.  We misinterpret models as facts and build strategies that assume 100% accuracy, 100% success by our campaigns, and assume the failures of our opponents.  We must build campaigns and leaders capable of accepting and adjusting to hard, uncomfortable truths rather than muddling through continuous confirmation bias and failure to integrate countervailing facts.
  • Too much of the most vibrant progressive action happens outside the party >> The strongest progressive movements are not of the Democratic Party — BLM, Sanders, etc are neither inspired by nor supported by our party.
Published: November 13, 2016 ::: Last updated: January 16, 2017