Friday, November 11, 2016

Time for me to eat some crow. I was wrong. Bernie Sanders,  had he been the nominee, would have won the election. I failed to see that because of my long time loyalty to the Democratic Party and its established leadership. That was a big mistake on my part. I didn't "Feel the Bern" enough. I felt it, but just not deeply. I didn't think a Vermont socialist with a Brooklyn accent would play well in the heartland. I was wrong about that too. 
     In my heart of hearts, I questioned the wisdom of the Hillary Clinton candidacy. I even wrote an essay called "Time to pass the baton" in which I called for Hillary to step aside in favor of Bernie and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. I never published the column. I deep sixed it in deference to Hillary. I was wrong , and the Bernie-ites were right. 
     When I was Co- Chair of the NYS Democratic Party we started the Democratic Rural Conference. It was an attempt to get the elite leadership of the Manhattan oriented Democratic Party to pay attention to the concerns of NY's heartland type voters in the more rural and less urban parts of the state. That strategy worked. Hillary Clinton used the DRC to help build a winning coalition in her Senate campaign, and she won. Howard Dean adopted the concept in what he dubbed the "50 state strategy", and the Democratic Party started winning again. Somewhere along the way, that concept of paying attention to our real grassroots got lost in the shuffle. That was a mistake as well. We need to get back to our roots. We need to listen. We didn't hear the pain.
    Michael Moore, the filmmaker,  did hear it. He got it and his message delivered very plainly and bluntly on the Morning Joe program recently is one that the Democratic Party needs to heed, big time. In essence, he argued that we need to pay attention to Flint, Michigan and Forks in the road type people. They are hurting and the Democratic Party elites are paying them lip service. That is why we lost. I agree. Mea Culpa. Mea Culpa. Mea maxima Culpa. 
     The road to tomorrow starts today. I agree with Bernie Sanders and Sen. Chuck Schumer that we need new leadership in the Democratic Party. Howard Dean might make good sense, but that could be looking in the rear view mirror. Rep. Keith Ellison , a Michigan Congressman,  who happens to be Muslim, might just be the answer. We need to have an open discussion and settle on bold new leadership . Sooner rather than later.