What the Democratic Party (And the U.S.) Needs Most

The Republican Party is struggling to decide between strategies: some new “Trumpian” agenda, a more traditional right-wing conservative one, or a moderate “small government” conservative philosophy.

The Democratic Party is struggling to see whether the Berney Sanders liberal left wing, the moderate-middle Hillary Clinton approach, or some new, younger amalgam of these will achieve dominance.

It’s not clear which way the parties will go.

What the country needs is an approach appealing to that large segment of the voting public demanding a government that can work for the people, while keeping us safe domestically and internationally. My recipe for this new plan of action has these ingredients:

● Repair Obama Care by fixing its most egregious problems, while reducing its cost to the federal government — perhaps by asking federal and state governments to co-fund a smaller pot of subsidy funds to help care for those amongst us less able to afford health insurance — keeping intact the main things people really do like about the existing health care package.

● Reverse Trump’s disastrous environmental policy actions, rejoin the world with sensible controls over the excesses of private businesses, and take aggressive national (and world) leadership toward not only meeting but exceeding the goals of the Paris Climate Accord. (There is a growing movement in which U.S. mayors, governors, college and university leaders, businesses, investors, and other organizational leaders are joining forces for the first time to declare their commitments to support climate action to meet the Paris Climate Agreement, in spite of President Trump’s withdrawal from it.)

Concentrate on letting the market drive most of the transition from fossil fuels to energy efficiency and renewable energy development, using government funds mostly for:

o needed long-term research in the universities

o public-private research partnerships

o selected tax-breaks and other incentives for emerging new energy-related technology

The goal of these actions should be to accelerate the transition, implementing it soon enough to avoid the worst consequences of climate change in coming years.

(Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a rapidly growing nonprofit that recently led over 1,000 unpaid volunteer lobbyists, at their own expense, to Washington, for a constituent lobbying ‘invasion’ of Capitol Hill. The goal is Congressional adoption of a plan for accelerating the transition from climate changing fossil fuel combustion to energy efficiency and renewable energy, based on its conservative- and liberal-friendly Carbon Fee and Dividend proposal. This effort is gaining popularity and strength, while helping the people express directly to their government how they want the future protected. The conservative Climate Leadership Council has a similar Carbon Dividend Plan.)

● Offer a sensible, affordable program of infrastructure reform, funded by local, state, and national governments, with additional support from both large and small businesses slated to benefit from the actions taken.

● Review U.S. government funding of arms sales to foreign powers, cutting back in areas likely to result in more instability in the Middle East and other areas abroad. Embark on a multi-year study of better ways to reduce waste and abuse of federal funding of the military. Propose a reorganization of military planning and funding to better match the needs for American force, diplomacy, social needs assistance, and retraining of foreign military personnel for improved fighting ability as well as internal policing.

● Create an ambitious program aimed at putting people back to work again, not by artificial stimuli (other than emergency, short-term ones) but by creating appropriate jobs for our expanding economy and training young people to qualify them for these jobs.

I do not claim the above to be complete or well-formed. Much work by experts in all aspects of government policy will be needed to refine and expand such a program. It is important that intelligent, knowledgeable, and experienced government scholars, practitioners, and planners step forward to help whatever new leaders take responsibility in formulating the plan.

On June 15, 2017, Peggy Noonan summarized the current situation in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, “Rage is All the Rage, and it’s Dangerous.” Here’s an excerpt:

What we are living through in America is not only a division but a great estrangement. It is between those who support Donald Trump and those who despise him, between left and right, between the two parties, and even to some degree between the bases of those parties and their leaders in Washington. It is between the religious and those who laugh at Your Make Believe Friend, between cultural progressives and those who wish not to have progressive ways imposed upon them. …. It is between “I accept the court’s decision” and “Bake my cake.” We look down on each other, fear each other, increasingly hate each other.
Oh, to have a unifying figure, program or party.

To propose and lead in the new direction, the country could use a young, dynamic, leader, with broad public support, to inspire the people and the political world toward such a new strategy — or a group of such leaders.

Clearly, the stage is set for a viable post-Trump approach — a new political movement in the U.S.

Can the Democratic Party lead it?

Short URL: goo.gl/Eg7jgz