The Only Party Worth a Damn

Democratic Voters and the Lessons of 2016

As part of the future of the Democratic Party survey, the 46 participants from 16 states offered observations and insights on the 2016 US Presidential Election. I asked them to describe the election for someone “living under a rock” and was impressed by many of their concise takes on what to many was a traumatic year. I asked them to evaluate the campaigns of both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and DNC efforts. They were also asked to pull lessons from the 2016 experience and share concerns regarding election integrity. Here is a selection of their responses.

Describe Election for Someone Living Under a Rock

More than one participant encouraged the rock-dwellers to stay there. Some used the language of apocalypse. Many laid the blame at the Dem nominee’s feet, feeling that this was her election to lose, while noting, also, the rank misogyny and foul play working against her.

“I would encourage the person to stay under the rock.” — Detroit-born attorney, Jewish white male (70)

“Total devastation. A satire come true. All the fears of 1984, A Modest Proposal, Animal Farm, and A Handmaid’s Tale all rolled into one. The darkest day of our country’s history: 11/9/2016.” –Carolyn Ferrell (55), black academic in New York

“A tyrannical, ignorant madman was ‘elected’ because the Democratic Party suppressed a candidate whose grassroots tactics were working, whose message was admired by a motivated segment of the voting population, especially young previously unengaged persons.” — Robin McKay (62), white female writer in Pennsylvania

“An outdated system (the Electoral College) allowed the worst person in the planet to become the President of the United States.” — Los Angeles film executive, Jewish white male

“The most competent woman in the US to be president versus misogyny.” — Bonnie Russell, independent news producer, white female, California

“The Republican candidate intelligently and charismatically appealed to the right people to get him elected. He did absolutely whatever he needed to get elected. The Democratic candidate had no charisma. I briefly met her in 1987 when I was 12 years old and I didn’t feel good about her then. I didn’t feel any better about her now. She didn’t win the people’s hearts because of her behavior and aloofness.” — Silicon Valley professional, Asian male (42)

“Thievery. Injustice. Patriarchy. That Americans still can’t stomach the idea of a woman in power.” — Houston nonprofit administrator, gay white male (38)

Hillary Clinton was toxic to enough independents and undecideds that the electoral vote would have been close, no matter what. Black & brown voters in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania didn’t turn out to vote as they had for President Obama. Jim Comey: UGH.” — Ohio corporate executive, black male (59)

Presidential Election 2016 was a wake-up call for white liberals in America. They were shocked into the reality that voting for Obama twice, and Hillary once, was not enough to ensure the safety of the institutions they trust (like the EPA and Planned Parenthood) or the safety of their very way of life. They realized they were not engaged in the slow but steady march toward progress that Obama represented. They realized that now, they are in a battle for much more than they ever thought was at stake.” — Amber York (38), black queer Detroit activist

“The masses accepted a narrative that the media was peddling that had one candidate as inevitable. Secretary Clinton and her campaign accepted that narrative as well and chose a strategy of caution. As a result we never had a bold vision/message or something to rally around. I fundamentally believe that Clinton’s lack of a powerful 21st century vision for America was a fatal flaw.” — Peter Yacobellis, New Jersey HR manager, gay white male (37)

Reality television and its confrontational entertainment tactics reaped the benefit of years of high ratings and gave us the epitome of its values: an uneducated, coarse, venial cheater and his family and hangers on.” — Judith (60), white Jewish academic & activist in Bronx, New York

“A person who was popular, less knowledgeable of the job and was a man won the presidency against a woman.” — Leana Camille (22), black college student, Queens, New York

Supportive or Critical of DNC & Dem Party in 2016?

A few participants offered support for the DNC, but the majority who responded were critical, offering frustrated, and sometimes withering critiques of party decision-making. And not just Sanders supporters — more than one Clinton supporter felt party thumbs on the scale and did not appreciate it.

“I was supportive of the DNC. I hoped that Hillary could continue the work that Obama had done so well.” — Jana Mangubat (48), white manager, Virginia

“Yes, I was supportive of the DNC, despite the ineptitude of its leadership and its inability to settle the Bernie vs. Hillary nonsense.” — Ohio excecutive, black male (59)

“While I was a supporter of Hillary Clinton, I was somewhat disturbed that for so long, for so many it seemed like a foregone conclusion that she would be the candidate.” — Dallas corporate manager, gay white male (47)

I supported Hillary and tried not to be overly critical of the DNC because we were in a primary. I wanted to win the presidency and felt that being too hard on the DNC would hurt our unity. I think the Democratic Convention was great.” — Shari Berman (53), white Jewish filmmaker, New York

I wanted Hillary even though she represents the worst aspects of the DNC. But the DNC allowed her to be rolled over in ways that felt profoundly sexist.” — Judith (60), Bronx academic and activist, Jewish white female, New York

“It was very evident from 2014 on that the Clinton camp had strangled any meaningful candidacy in its crib, with the complicity of the highly-concentrated national media, who refused to give any serious credence to other possibilities. I swore early on that I was not voting for HRC nor was going to give money to the DNC (something I have done in several prior elections).” — Atlanta attorney, white Episcopalian male (41)

They shot themselves in the foot trying to force Hillary to be a thing. She would have been a thing on her own accord — but instead they resorted to trickery to try to suppress over voices, which backfired on them. If we could have let Hillary be Hillary, without focus groups, without Bill in the background, without worrying about the optics at every turn, she would have been a dynamic campaigner. Fear got in their way, and they got in her way.” — Houston nonprofit administrator, gay white male (37)

They tried too hard to keep it to the middle of the road. The vast majority of people who voted for Trump were never going to vote for Clinton (no matter what they said).” — Portland health care receptionist, white female (57)

“The DNC made some grave errors that they tried to cover up. Self-interests and financial gain [were] primary instead of the true meaning for being in political office: to help govern and lead the people.” — Kimani, black female dancer & choreographer, New York

“Critical. At a time when Hillary was getting death threats regularly, the rights of women to live in safety wasn’t even on the agenda of so-called ‘Progressive Democrats’ in California. From Emily’s List to Oprah.” — Bonnie Russell, independent news producer, white female, California

“I was stunned by the lack of preparedness for the general. Irrespective of whether the rules were optimal or even fair, the DNC had 8 years to get ready for 2016. It didn’t get it done.” — Detroit-born attorney, Jewish white male (70)

“The DNC is spineless. Instead of going where the movement was (Bernie) they went with the old establishment.” — Ibrahim (40), black Muslim, city government, New York

“I am part of the class action suit against the DNC because I contributed to Bernie Sanders’ campaign not knowing that the corrupt Democratic Party had already decided on Hillary and would actively conspire against his candidacy!” — Lea Belair (67), Vermont writer, white female

“I was critical of the DNC for its criticism of Sanders, especially since he was speaking to the needs of groups that felt ignored by the larger party. It was slow to adopt some of his talking points, and ultimately, I think that did not do Clinton any favors.” — Serena (40), white editor, Maryland

“Bernie Sanders would have won the election, handily, but the entrenched power structure for some reason wanted to push a centrist or even right of center like Hillary over someone like Bernie. When will it be time for unapologetically progressive change in America? The likes of Donna Brazile and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz are why Trump won the damn election…people view the DNC as a corrupt, cabalistic, ancient order, not as an organization that cares about normal Americans.” — City planner (29), “queerish”, white male, Detroit

No one I knew was thrilled about Hillary or Bernie. Not because they wouldn’t do a good job as President, but because they seemed old news with lots of nasty baggage. It’s as if the party didn’t even try to find an alternative to Hillary.” –Tennessee writer, white female

“Barack’s oratory skills were amazing. The DNC needs to start scouting college debate competitions like the NFL does scouting at football camps and college games.” — white lesbian police officer, Florida.

“My hope is that the DNC learns to get out of the way to become a vessel and not a filter.” — Peter Yacobellis, New Jersey HR manager (37), gay white male

Positive & Negative: Bernie Sanders

Many participants praised his message — both content and style. However, some cited his inability to reassure moderates and not be so “absolute” as reasons for downfall. His following was a powerful force, but one participant noted “cult mentality” as major issue.

Bernie has a simple, well-articulated, clear message. The DNC can learn from him. In spite of his age, he was fresh, exciting, and engaged young people. The DNC needs to borrow a bit from his playbook.” — Shari Berman (53), white Jewish filmmaker, New York

“[A positive aspect was] a simple and repeated message which spoke to economics.” — Detroit-born attorney, Jewish white male (70)

Bernie has a lifelong history of being a genuine man of the people. He shows up at factories and shakes hands. He bravely champions ‘radical’ ideas like single payer and $15/hr min. wage.” — Lea Belair (67), Vermont writer, white female

Great messaging. Great visuals.” — Tali Hinkis, white immigrant Jewish female artist in New York

“Even though some think the Bernie movement was damaging, I think he brought [Clinton’s] campaign to the left where it needed to be, and her coronation without it would have just been wrong.” — School administrator (41), white Jewish female, Michigan

“He was hurt by not saying with more specificity how he would pay for free college tuition, how he would pay for Single Payer. Those are numbers. He could have quantified how much he would have taxed which rich people to do it, and made social democracy more acceptable to more people. He could have said, “I’m a social democrat. Key word is democrat. If that means paying for health care for all, providing free college tuition, by increasing taxes for making more than $250,000 per year by a certain percent, then I plead guilty.” He didn’t. It may have cost him the nomination.” — Detroit-born attorney, Jewish white male (70)

He should have started to build a national image sooner. Lots of people had never heard of him and didn’t pay attention to his campaign until way later into the process…something that was also fueled by a virtual blackout on coverage by the mainstream media, although I don’t know what he could done to combat that.” — Lea Belair (67), Vermont writer, white female

I was very critical of Sanders’ campaign because I felt like they were just the flip side of the Trump coin: making irresponsible promises, a bunch of talk that the couldn’t — and hadn’t — delivered on. “All hat and no cattle” as we say in Texas. They both attracted voters susceptible to thinking everything is easy and they had all the answers, when neither of those things were true. It’s dishonest.” — Houston Chief Administrative Officer, Catholic white male (47)

“Sanders brought a lot of passion and excitement to his campaign. But he has some major prejudices/racial blindspots that he never fully addressed. His interest has always been about class, and I think often because of that, larger issues around immigration and race were left in the background. I found the cult mentality around Sanders’ campaign strange and had a negative impact.” — Houston professor and writer, queer East Asian bi-racial (37)

Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat. Bernie should have never tried to run on an “economics first” campaign. Human rights should always come first.” — Black female writer, New York

I think Bernie came off as, finally, another male who knows everything. I also think his age and appearance of frumpiness was concerning — not because it wasn’t fashionable, but because he didn’t look and seem healthy. Even frumpy Donald Trump knew how to clean up well every once in a while and I think that makes a difference in people’s confidence level in a leader. Bernie didn’t make me think that we could do better as a country.” — Julia Putnam (41), school principal, black female, Detroit

Bernie moved me. I believed in his message. It was so common sense that it could not work and therefore did not. I was angry that Bernie Sanders was not promoted to the ticket. I was angry that other candidates sat back so Clinton could have her ‘due’. No one is entitled to the White House” — Black female, New Jersey

Bernie was the movement guy. He was great at capturing the same spirit of exhaustion that people had but framing it around income inequality. [The Sanders Campaign should not have assumed] that black people would not vote for him just because the media started saying they would not.” — Ibrahim (40), black Muslim, city government, New York

“Bernie was very popular in Detroit. While some were concerned perhaps about his socialism, his ideas about health care, immigration, world peace, etc., were right on.” — Klotylda Phillippi (75), Retired teacher, white Christian female, Michigan

Bernie spoke directly to the economic anxiety of the white working class, to the exclusion of communities of color. (And yes, I know Symone Sanders and Nina Turner were effective spokespersons.) — Ohio executive, black male (59)

“He proposed universal healthcare which every sane person knows is the only way to go. He did not address the pernicious influence of the health insurance corporations. For all his ‘radical’ posturing and truly annoying speaking style, he is a docile has-been, just as Hillary is.” — — Judith (60), white Jewish academic & activist in Bronx, New York

[Sanders] correctly identified the biggest issue of our time. I don’t think his responses were particularly sensible, but at least he saw the big problem.” — Atlanta attorney, white Episcopalian male (41)

“I think generally if you want to become President of the United States, you don’t call yourself a socialist, even if your intentions are pure. I don’t think he ever figured out how to win over moderates.” — Peter Yacobellis, New Jersey HR manager, gay white male (37)

He couldn’t deliver beyond his base because he was and is so left wing and so absolute. He never pivoted towards the middle. He just stuck to the outside. He had a shot had he made more moderates feel comfortable and confident he could win, or govern effectively.” — Los Angeles film executive, white Jewish male (45)

Hard for a businessman to accept an avowed socialist. Wish I had been more open-minded.” Rhode Island international banker, white protestant male (81)

“I liked him! If anything, he came across as too anarchistic, if that makes sense. He was a little “if you don’t get it and you’re not with us, fuck you, then you’re part of the problem.” — New York actor, white female (48)

Positive & Negative: Hillary Clinton

Participants praised her fine mind, work ethic, and her campaign’s fundraising successes. However, some participants felt her unpopularity too high a hurdle to clear, while others noted several candidate and campaign missteps, including lack of a clear, powerful vision.

Grasp of complex issues and the ability to communicate them” — Tennessee writer, white female

Fundraising. The HRC campaign was very effective in ensuring they had funds to do what was needed to win. Energy/enthusiasm: HRC was a tireless campaigner and was relentlessly positive in public.” — Ohio executive, black male (59)

Hillary is smart and always did her homework.” — Oregon health care receptionist, white female (57)

“They ran a great convention and her debate performances were strong. They raised a lot of money.” Los Angeles film executive, white Jewish male (45)

She stayed on message and didn’t let Trump rile her.” — Klotylda Phillippi (75), Retired teacher, white Christian female, Michigan

She is a super smart lady and she understands how policy works and how to get things done. I was very impressed with her command of the political goings-on and how they related to human beings — as a career politician but also as just a super smart and accomplished professional.” — City planner (29), white male, “queerish”, Detroit

I was so happy that she didn’t dance around her support for abortion rights. It was a strong, proud moment when she proclaimed her allegiance to women’s autonomy on the national debate stage.” — Professor and writer (45), white female, Memphis

I was a sucker for some of the videos that were focusing on diverse community. I liked how there was a feeling that she had worked directly with many people and that those who knew her had great things to say about her. I liked the merch and I liked the way we were able to sign up and get involved online.” — Tali Hinkis, white immigrant Jewish female artist in New York

Good branding” — Ibrahim (40), black Muslim, city government, New York

“Hillary Clinton ran a decent campaign. She could have done better in organizing white women, as we all saw.” — Writer, black female, New York

“She had solid, detailed policies to address a range of issues from A-Z and she had a very robust field operation. She lacked a clear overarching message for people to rally around. What was Hillary Clinton’s vision for a 21st century America? She was on the defensive too much of the time, bumbling incidents like the initial blitz of stories about her email and the server — a non-issue that became an issue because it wasn’t handled correctly. She also failed to convey the authenticity that people craved to see. We never saw Hillary as a grandma playing with her two grandkids and she never really came of the shell and became the real person that people wanted to see and relate to. She behaved like Queen Elizabeth and the people craved Princess Diana.” — Peter Yacobellis, New Jersey HR manager, gay white male (37)

I could not name a single policy proposal Hillary Clinton had put forward. Her 10-point plan skated around important issues but could not be easily summarized and not bold and big thinking.” — South Asian female business owner in New York

[Clinton] had polices outlined on her website. She made the mistake of thinking the average American was going to look it up on the Internet and read what they were.” — Oregon health care receptionist, white Christian female (57)

GOTV in all the swing states might have been a good place to start. Engaging a generation of young women to get involved in the process. Not assumed that black people were going to vote for her just because she was a Clinton.” — Ibrahim (40), black Muslim, city government, New York

She continued to be fearful of embracing her gender as a rationale for her presidency. As much as I understand it, it was her biggest mistake. Instead of giving women a reason to support one of their own and daring men to vote against her for being one, she actually gave them permission to not vote for her.” — Los Angeles film executive, white Jewish male (45)

Biggest problem: what did she have to say to a person in Michigan with a $40000 income? That question was asked of the campaign. It couldn’t deliver an answer. The campaign also, in Michigan, suffered from lack of attention. Also, nationally, it never made effective use of the army of Sanders supporters after the primary. I’d have given that wing of the party the resources for organizers, given Bernie a plane, turned them loose, and had them hammering campuses and millennials on core issues, like free college tuition, that were part of the Democratic platform. She didn’t.” — Detroit-born attorney, Jewish white male (70)

“I think they failed to take the Sanders threat seriously enough, early enough, and I don’t think they saw the losses in MI, OH, or PA coming (certainly not all three). They never had control of the narrative of the campaign, they never got the media off the “but her emails” storyline, but I think they did a much better job than most campaigns I’ve been involved in and didn’t deserve this result.” — Houston Chief Administrative Officer, white Catholic male (47)

“I was turned off by her in the Obama campaign, and felt she didn’t really address her power as a female candidate as she could have.” — Houston writer and academic, queer bi-racial Asian (37)

“Clinton’s major failing was that she went into public appearances acting as if she owned the place, thought she did not, clearly — clearly in line with the stereotype of her as a coastal elite (though I can still hear her Illinois accent!)” — City planner (29), “queerish”, white male, Detroit

“Democrats inside the cultural enclaves of the big cities simply do not realize how intensely she is disliked (fairly or unfairly) by relatively low-engagement people in large swaths of the country. There’s literally nothing she could have done.” — Atlanta attorney, white Episcopalian male (41)

She ran a paranoid campaign that was not open to the press and her supporters. She also allowed a small group of well-vetted journalists to observe. Citizen groups, journalists, etc., were unwelcome.” — Judith (60) white Jewish academic in Bronx, New York

“I know she was reviled by a large segment of the population. Too detached, part of the Clinton dynasty, etc. I just viewed her as less than inspiring than Bernie, but I recognize that she was hogtied, or believed she was hogtied, by her gender. I voted for her. No one knows what went wrong, exactly but we do know the margin should have been much larger than 3 million votes considering what we saw running.” — Robin McKay, white female writer (62)

I went hard for Hillary (personally) once she was the nominee, but the campaign was really out of touch and patronizing. She seemed confused about her task. I was constantly cringing like I do around older relatives who see themselves as very liberal and spotlight their biases in everyday conversations. From hot sauce in her purse, to your abuela’s candidate… awkward. When she stopped and got serious in the debates and was clear about her points, she was so on. Things like saying “baskets of deplorables” were such bad choices — but when she made that point in other ways — as in this is not normal — she was relatable and supportable.” -Amanda Rosman (41), white Jewish school administrator in Michigan

“The campaign needed to resolve ‘the Bernie issue’ long before the convention. I know what would have been a challenge, but it seemed that they didn’t try.” — Ohio executive, black male (59)

“If you’re gainfully employed and you don’t experience racism, you’ll probably be pretty comfortable with the leadership of a person like Hillary, whose identity alone represents political progress and whose basic talking points appeared to represent progressive ideas. But Hillary was never known for promoting strong policies that would dismantle the structures that uphold racism and patriarchy and which enable capitalism to extract everything up to and including the life from our bodies.” — Amber York (38), queer black female activist, Detroit

I was a little critical of Hillary Clinton, I hate to say, only because I so wish she were president now.” — New York actor, white female (48)

Election Integrity

Participants were asked if they were concerned for 2016’s election integrity. 46% answered yes, 4% answered no, and 50% didn’t know or gave no answer. Several of the “yes” participants, however, listed specific concerns, including Russian hacking and propaganda/disinformation efforts. However, more than one participant considered the open practices of gerrymandering and voter ID laws to be major, if not worse threats to our democracy.

I am very concerned. There is proof that the Russians got into individual machines, for heaven’s sake! Proof that they created hundreds of thousands of fake people on social media to spread the word. And the government is doing nothing. Why should they? The Republicans are in power and they benefited from it. Trump won because of it. What concerns me are all the higher-up Republicans who are willing to turn a blind eye to foreign government involvement so that their party can hold power.” — New York actor, white female (48)

“I think there is an undercurrent of information that is widely consumed, laundered, and regurgitated that has a profound impact on people’s perceptions that is being done for this sole purpose.” — Los Angeles film executive, white Jewish male (45)

Russian intelligence, at a minimum, created enough ongoing doubt about Clinton’s veracity to cost her the election and plunge our democracy into existential crisis. As for actual hacking of data, I don’t know. It’s certainly possible. I’m sure suppression and other dirty tricks weren’t any worse than usual. That’s become the GOP’s go-to strategy of late.” — Chief Administrative Officer, white Catholic male (47)

“If gerrymandering can be considered a dirty trick, I would offer that. The hacking and James Comey didn’t help Hillary’s campaign. Trump offered up so many false statements based on Breitbart, the National Enquirer, Fox News.” — Klotylda Phillippi (75), Retired teacher, white Christian female, Michigan

“I’m much less concerned about ‘dirty tricks’ that were special to the 2016 presidential election than the generalized problems of gerrymandering and the ridiculous voter ID laws that are clearly intended to raise barriers to poor people voting.” — Atlanta attorney, white Episcopalian male (41)

“It’s always been an issue. If anything, we are better today than ever before. Of course, there will always be those trying to game the system or play dirty, but if we work to create districts that are truly representative and fair and get away from elected judiciaries, those looking to suppress votes will find fewer opportunities.” — Dallas corporate manager, gay white male (47)

“I don’t have specifics but I can tell you that suppression is a real problem in many parts of the United States and needs to be addressed.” Serena, white female editor, Maryland (40)

“I did not encounter any voter suppression in NYC but I do believe it is going on all over the country and had an impact.” — Shari Berman, white female Jewish filmmaker, New York (53)

Not really concerned, but I hope it gets Trump impeached.” — City planner (29), “queerish”, white male, Detroit

What Must We Learn from the 2016 Experience?

Lessons included the structural “get money out of politics” to pleas for focus on the pernicious ways Republicans and outside actors undermine democracy to calls for Democrats to get their message — and act — together.

“We cannot afford to be comfortable and allow our government to be turned upside-down. We can’t take anything for granted. We must be vigilant and act on all fronts: community, local, state, federal. We must protect our human rights by any means.” Kimani, mixed-race dancer and choreographer, New York

Get money out of politics. Severely limit campaign spending. And contributions. Cut the campaign season to a maximum of 9 months. Remove the electoral college.” — Judith (60) white Jewish academic in Bronx, New York

“That the only way to save our democracy in the long term is to address the diminution of the “one person, one vote” concept. Gerrymandering, and the way electors are selected and vote for president has become manipulated to the point of unconstitutional infringement on our rights as citizens.” — Houston Chief Administrative Officer, Catholic white male (47)

We have to realize that demography is not destiny and that our Whitman’s sampler of narrow-band policies won’t deliver victories on a sufficiently broad level. We have to seriously address problems, and do so in a way that promises to benefit most/nearly-all Americans.” — Atlanta attorney, white Episcopalian male, 41

“That authenticity and a powerful message that rallies the people will always win no matter what celebrities, endorsements, newspapers and how much money you have on your side. For as incompetent and irresponsible President Trump is, enough Americans believed in ‘Make America Great Again’ to win him the election. Being the anti-Trump was never enough and ‘Stronger Together’ doesn’t mean anything to people worried about paychecks, health care and education.” — Peter Yacobellis, New Jersey HR manager, gay white male (37)

I don’t think that a person who has no government experience should be eligible to run for office. If anything, I think we are seeing first-hand what the lack of experience is costing us.” — Houston writer and academic, queer bi-racial Asian (37)

Stop foreign meddling with our elections. Redraw the districts to accurately reflect the constituents. Never say ‘never’.” — New York actor, white female (48)

“Real simple: we can chew gum and tie our shoelaces at the same time. We can talk about current economic issues and future economic progress at the same time. We can do that without sacrificing inclusiveness, our commitment to under-included groups, or our commitment to social justice. As Democrats, we failed to learn that lesson from the 1960s and it cost us.” — Detroit-born attorney with extensive political background, Jewish white male (70)

“Absolutely anything can happen. Be vigilant. Take nothing for granted. Know that there is always a mostly silent, alienated group waiting to be recognized by someone and ready to rally around that person when it happens. They can and will make a difference.” -Amanda Rosman (41), white Jewish school administrator in Michigan

“Hillary wasn’t the right candidate. Dems underestimated the hatred hurled at her and she should have seen it, too. The stupid lesson is to think that we have to appease angry whites. We also failed (and Obama) did, too, in bragging on how great the ACA is. We let the right and people upset about premiums hijack the narrative.” -Ohio academic and writer, Latinx female (42)

“This is probably a little melodramatic but I remember nothing positive about the 2016 election. I deleted all of my social media accounts the night of the election because I literally couldn’t handle how people were acting.” — Virginia project manager, white female (29)

“The Dems need to get their act together in a hurry! New publications need to be established where thinkers can throw out ideas, build support, answer critics and all the other things the right-wing echo chamber does so well for the GOP. A few million dollars a year would go a long way. But no one on the left with money seems to want to do anything except make contributions to Democratic candidates that go into worthless TV ads that only make Democratic consultants rich.” — New York business owner, South Asian female

“Don’t be complacent. Cultivate new, passionate candidates to run. New systems need to be put in place to protect our election system and all parties security on the web. Barack should have spoken publicly about the Russia hack. Comey should have spoken publicly about Russia hack and not just her emails (as former LEO, I’m really pissed at him for this and blame him partially for the loss). The laws that exist regarding what a president can and cannot do need to be re-written with teeth.” -Florida police officer, white lesbian (50)

Next Up: Resistance Notes: Engagement, Activism, & Fighting Back

Last Post: The Future of the Democratic Party

Stacy Parker Le Melle is the author of Government Girl: Young and Female in the White House(HarperCollins/Ecco) and was the lead contributor to Voices from the Storm: The People of New Orleans on Hurricane Katrina and Its Aftermath (McSweeney’s). She chronicles stories for The Katrina Experience: An Oral History Project. Her recent narrative nonfiction has been published in Callaloo, The Offing, Apogee Journal, The Nervous Breakdown, Entropy, The Butter, Cura, The Atlas Review, and The Florida Review where the essay was a finalist for the 2014 Editors’ Prize for nonfiction. Originally from Detroit, Le Melle is the founder of Harlem Against Violence, Homophobia, and Transphobia, and the co-founder of Harlem’s First Person Plural Reading Series. She received her B.A. in Political Communication from The George Washington University.

Read her interview pieces on the Pre-Trump Inauguration Concerns (“Disaster Can Be a Tweet Away”) and the 2017 Women’s March (“To Be a Force of Positivity, To Be Everything Trump Is Not”).

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