Dear Mr. Harrison,
Outside of President Biden, you are in a very hot seat right now. I might argue it is even hotter than the one in which the President is sitting. It is up to you to not only grow the Democratic Party and increase Democratic voters at the polls, you also have to get more Democrats elected at all levels of government.
I will admit I believe Stacey Abrams and LaTosha Brown should have jointly headed the DNC. They have proven what they are capable of accomplishing in a “red” state. If it weren’t for the two of them, Georgia would not have turned out as it did.
My first question to you is, “Have you already met with Ms. Abrams and Ms. Brown for mentorship and help in developing strategy; and, have you also met with Howard Dean and Bernie Sanders?” Governor Dean and Senator Sanders had a 50-state plan, something President Obama and Secretary Clinton did not share. I urge you not to commit the grave mistake they did in abandoning the states one assumes will not vote Democratic, as Ms. Abrams and Ms. Brown proved otherwise in Georgia.
The following are some things I strongly urge you to keep in mind as you lead the Democratic Party into 2022 and possibly 2024.
1. Have a 50-state strategy. There are more registered Democrats than Republicans, and registered Independents outnumber the Democrats. Get enough Independents to vote for Democrats in general elections and Democrats win, even in heavily gerrymandered districts. What are you doing to increase registered voters? What are you doing to increase voter turnout for elections? What are you doing to enroll Independents in pulling the lever for Democrats?
2. Have great pubic relations (PR). Democrats are horrible at the PR game. They do great things for constituents, but the constituents don’t know it because the Democrats never brag. You need to start bragging. Not just bragging at the national level, but at the state and local levels. Many people don’t fully realize the impact Congress, the Judicial System, and the President actually have on their lives. They do know when local officials have an impact, but they don’t ever fully know what local officials have accomplished for them, other than at election time, which is too late to educate.
3. Have a wide social media network. You need to take a page, and learn, from AOC. Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez has it going on in social media. She is active on Twitter, generates Tik-Toks, plays with constituents on Twitch, and does Insta-live to talk to people while she is cooking dinner. Congressman Swalwell is also effective on Twitter. He shares personal anecdotes, policy statements, and trolls Republicans in a very effective way. How many candidates and elected Democrats have more of a social media presence than a Twitter handle and Facebook page, where their constituents hang out, and then are extremely active on those platforms?
4. Have a larger media presence. I don’t mean just going on the Sunday shows, or a guests here and there on shows throughout the week. I mean how are you going to grow a media presence similar, but superior to, the conservative media ecosystem. They have thousands of radio stations, tv stations, and a very effective national media network. This goes back to great PR and 50-state strategy, and a great advertising team below. Are in you talks with Mayor Bloomberg or Tom Steyer to finance a national progressive network, and have you gotten them to commit to a long-term strategy to grow it and make it successful (supporting it more than just a year or two)?
5. Have a great advertising team. If you haven’t already put some ads in the can about Republicans and their denial of the President Biden win, to their promoting the Big Lie, to their Catch-22 on the Impeachment Trial, their vote to convict the twice-impeached former president, their immediate flip-flop on the former president’s guilt, of state officials saying the insurrection didn’t happen, of state officials saying they didn’t send people to Congress to do the right thing, and/or politicians off to Cancun in the middle of their state’s worst winter weather catastrophe.
Additionally, you need to have a team ready to go with ads about accomplishments at the local, state, and national levels by elected Democrats. The ads can be run on social media so they don’t cost anything other than the production costs. Ads by national accomplishments would need to be both on social media and on national TV, including Fox News.
6. Have great spokespersons. These people need to be fearless; they need to be well-informed, they need to be consistent, they need to go on both liberal, progressive, and conservative outlets; and they need to be of all ages, genders, and races. You need to be a genius of coordinating whom to send where to get the point across. Right or wrong, there will be people who will not listen to a white person in some parts of the nation, just as there are places where a person of color would not be granted an audience in others. That does not mean you don’t go talk to these audiences. You need to have an in, a small way to crack the door, which can lead to an opening and a vote because the Democratic policies will lift us all, and people need to know this message.
7. Have knowledge of your audience. The challenge in having great spokespersons is making sure they know how to speak to their audiences. Just as you need to make sure the right people are going to the right places, you need to guarantee those spokespeople know how to talk in the right way to their audience. The Democrats have a bad habit of talking over people. President Clinton, President Bush, and even the twice impeached former president, knew how to speak to the masses in their “language.” The sad fact is most people now speak and read at around an eight grade level. You’ve got to figure out how to discuss policy and how that policy will help the everyday man and woman to understand it. If the spokespeople are using vocabulary foreign to their audience, the audience will disengage, and the event will have been worthless. Bring it down when needed, amp it up when warranted, and know when to do which at what time.
8. Have a leadership academy. All leaders must be found and grown. What are you doing to recognize stellar candidates across the country? What metric/rubric have you created to decide when to grow a candidate? What training are you providing to these stellar candidates? This also goes for staff members. You need to have a stellar backstage team to help those stellar candidates become even better and more visible.
9. Have great partnerships. I know this one is a little tricky due to legal concerns. However, it is possible to have great partnerships (see above regarding Mayor Bloomberg and Mr. Steyer). Others include Joe Walsh, The Medias Touch, ReallyAmerican.com, 11th Hour Films, Don Winslow, Cheri Jacobus, Seth Abramson, and Jennifer Cohn. These organizations and individuals can enhance and increase your reach with constituents, and maybe help with fundraising.
10. Have a goal in mind. Yes, we all want to have any Democrat running for office to win so we can move the agenda forward in helping all of us who live in the United States. However, that is an unrealistic goal and sets yourself up for failure. Pick well and commit to just certain candidates for a cycle. That doesn’t mean you forget about the rest (see leadership academy above), it just means you help in a focused, purposeful, precise manner. If you burn out, you are of no help to anyone. Set your goal, develop your metrics, and move forward to success.
Mr. Harrison, I wish you great luck in the role you have been asked to do, and you have accepted as your mission for the foreseeable future. As a candidate, I contributed to your campaign among many others. If you continue with the passion you exhibited as a candidate, you will do well. We are here to support you in ways that work for us—contributing money, contributing time, and/or contributing to spreading the message far and wide through our own social networks.
Feel free to use any of the ideas above. My only request in your journey is to please don’t squander a moment as the Democrats did with the Impeachment Trial. They won the vote to call witnesses, then threw it all away. I read 71% of the American public were tuning into the Trial. Snapping the thrill of defeat from victory is not great way to gain the support and trust of America. If you are smart, don’t follow their lead. The optics were horrible as the Trial wasn’t really for the 100 senators, it was an opportunity to engage and educate the American people, to show them the Democrats have their backs and believes in justice. Please don’t ever throw away as great an opportunity as the witnesses would have been as you lead the Party. We are counting on you.
Now go and make us all proud!