With many people expecting Democrats to take back the U.S. House of Representatives — and even the Senate — in 2018, it is an opportune time to go over the way Democrats can continue to win and make gains going forward. Let me preface this by saying that I am not a Democrat. However, I do think they are preferable to the Republicans, and changing the party from within is a realistic way to achieve positive change in this country.
The Democratic National Committee has made it clear there is little room in the party for socially conservative candidates. Yet, somehow, they seem to always find a place for corrupt, warmongering, corporate stooges. Take their failed 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Despite voting for the War in Iraq and being the architect of the intervention that has turned Libya into a failed state, she was fully embraced by the DNC.
Or what about Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel? Despite campaigning on a platform of strengthening the public school system, he has since met privately with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and is currently leading the largest mass public school closing ever in one U.S. city. The DNC still fully supports him.
Where do we draw the line? If these characters have the DNC’s full endorsement, why is it considered beyond the pale to get behind a candidate who just so happens to be pro-life? Something is not right here.
If Democrats want to not only win but usher in positive populist change, they must rebrand themselves as a more fiscally liberal and more socially conservative party. Now, when I say socially conservative, I do not mean they should campaign on failed, unpopular and immoral policies such as being anti-gay marriage and pro-War on Drugs. However, accepting those who are pro-life, skeptical of marijuana legalization or talk about “family values” would not be such a bad thing.
Rather than putting too much emphasis on social issues and refusing to endorse pro-life candidates, wouldn’t it be better if the DNC ostracized those who took money from political action committees and did not support universal health care, free college and a living wage? At the end of the day, it’s all about the economy. While the Republicans push ever further right toward oligarchy, the Democrats could really separate themselves by morphing into a party pushing for a government that is created by and for the people.
Social conservatism mixed with economic leftism is a winning strategy. For example, it fills a previously unfilled niche. Take the four biggest political parties: the Republican Party, Democratic Party, Libertarian Party and Green Party. Republicans are both socially and fiscally conservative. Democrats are more socially liberal but frankly, generally fiscally conservative. Libertarians are socially liberal and fiscally conservative and the Greens are both socially and fiscally liberal.
If you didn’t notice, only one quadrant remains untouched. Finding this niche and running with it would help Democrats not just to do better in red states but nationwide as well. What so few people realize is the biggest crossover vote in America is those voters who are socially conservative and fiscally more leftist. This makes sense, as they often feel as though there is no party that really represents them, and they’re right.
In the 2016 presidential election, the vast majority of these people voted for someone other than the Democratic candidate. If the Democratic Party embraces this philosophy, they could not only break up Republican hegemony in the heartland but become the dominant political force for years to come. Sounds like a good idea to me.
Elias Khoury is an LSA freshman.