The next major challenge to a democratic America will come in January, when Congress reconvenes. Recall that for at least six years, Republicans used the filibuster to block most of President Obama’s agenda. Shortly before this election, when it appeared that Hillary Clinton would win, the Republican leadership declared that they would use the filibuster to block any Supreme Court appointment for the next four years. Sixty votes, rather than a majority vote, would be required to enact legislation or appoint justices.
In January, I expect the triumphant party to declare that the election was a mandate for change, and that the Democrats cannot be allowed to block appointments or legislation that the people voted for. I expect the Republican majority to eliminate or severely restrict the filibuster, at least to permit a conservative appointment to the Supreme Court.
Whether the filibuster stays or goes, however, Democrats face at least four years in the wilderness, and a difficult Supreme Court. Here is what I think needs to be done: Democrats need to be Republicans.
o They need to use every tool available to block or amend the worst of the Republican agenda.
o They need to replace most of the members of the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee with fresh, progressive faces. Even Nancy Pelosi needs to go. The failure of these committees and their leadership to elect Democrats for Congress over many years needs to be acknowledged, and remedied.
o Recruitment for “A thousand points of light” needs to begin immediately. Democrats should recruit one thousand new candidates for state and Congressional offices.
o Campaigning for the mid-term elections and the next Presidential election needs to begin in January.
o Potential Presidential candidates need to be recruited, vetted, and made nationally recognized figures by 2018.
o A small number of key issues must be selected as the core of a focused and coherent message for the party.
o Fund-raising and campaigning have to be daily tasks.
o The Democratic Party has to hang together, whatever the temptation to compromise with the radical right-wing adminstration.
o Determination, commitment, and focus must be the guiding principles.
This is what the Republicans have done for more than twenty years. If Democrats want to have any chance of reclaiming the White House and State houses, this is what they have to do. Democrats have to be Republicans in their daily commitment to the cause.