The following is a Guest Commentary from Richard Lara. Richard Lara is a Ph.D. in philosophy with an emphasis on political philosophy. His research focusses on conceptualizing and explaining the interplay between the forces of conservatism and liberalism in political collectives. He currently teaches at Orange Coast College.
There are numerous questions about the future of the Republican Party, and there is even speculation that Republicans have no future. Unfortunately, the GOP will not be holding a liquidation sale any time soon. Yes, the GOP has gone all Humpty Dumpty for now, but it won’t staying that way for long. The Republican Party is slowly reconstituting itself; it is striving to return in a new incarnation.
The GOP’s new form will be shaped, to a significant extent, by 1) the performance of Democratic Elected officials in Washington and at the state and local levels, and 2) the efforts of Democratic activists at the local level. I believe that a reasonably sound general prediction can be made about what the future holds for our nation and for California, and here it is: the better job our officials do in D.C. and Sacramento, the weaker the new GOP. The worse our officials do in D.C. and Sacramento, the stronger and more powerful the new GOP. Part 1 of the prediction will, I admit, strike most people as a statement of the obvious. Part 2, however, will be something more of a revelation for many Democrats, especially those who are now speaking of the extinction of the Republican Party. Their thinking seems to run something like this: “We control the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the White House. Why should worry about the Republicans? What more is there for Democratic activists to do?”
Well, there is a lot for us to do. Indeed, the more Democratic activists do to get the word out about what Democrats are trying to do and why we are trying to do it, the weaker the new GOP will be, and the less activists do to get the word out, the stronger the new GOP. Why? Because in order for the Republicans to regain power, either our Democratic leadership has to fail in D.C. or Republicans have to confuse and deceive the public about what we Democrats are doing. Since we control the White House and both houses of Congress, and since our elected officials are mostly competent and moving our country forward, our leadership in D.C. is not likely to fail. This leaves Republicans with only the confuse-and-deceive option, and you can bet they will make the most of it.
Democratic activists need to find effective ways to advertise the Democratic Party. Our Party has what people need, and we have to make sure people know that.
It wonâ€™t be long before the GOP launches a full scale confuse-and-deceive campaign, and if people are not adequately informed about what our Party has to offer, we will lose ground to the GOPâ€™s smoke and mirror show. The problems that our elected officials are trying to solve are very complicated and difficult to understand. This is situation is a breeding ground for confusion, and when people are confused they are difficult to lead and easily led astray.
Democratic activists need to work together to get the word out. If there is an easy way for voters to learn about the Democratic Party, then it will be much easier for the local chapters of the Party to register voters and much harder for the GOP to confuse and deceive the public. Clubs, and not the Party, should launch and manage this project. If the message comes from the Democratic Party, people will think the party is trying to tell sell them something, but if it comes from concerned neighbors, coworkers, and friends, they will be more inclined to listen to the message and identify with the messengers.
If Democratic activists work together to educate the public about how the Democratic Party is working to help them, our leaders can focus more on solving problems, andÂ they can fight with both hands to create a better future for us. Otherwise, they will spend much of their time and energy warding off Republicans’ shameless misrepresentation of their efforts.
Yes, I have ideas about how to use electronic media to advertise our party to the public, but I bet there are more and better ideas out there than mine. I will be happy to visit your Southern California Democratic club in order to brainstorm with you about this project. If you are interested, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.