State Party Maine Democrats were rejected by Maine voters on November 2nd. It might be easy to say that we were swept away in a national red tide of tea but that does not account for the solid reelection of Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree. They represent the perceptions, opinions, and political desires of Maine citizens in Washington but local Democrats do not in Augusta.
This sounds like a bitter reality pill that we are forced to swallow but silently accepting that or seeking excuses for it will lead to continued rejection. We are cast into a new role, that of minority, opposition, and most importantly of all, alternative. Redefining this moment as an opportunity seems perhaps trite but this is a time for an opening to be seized to renew our party in order to serve the people of this state with a vision for a prospective Maine that they will desire, support, and protect.
We need to adopt a plan to build an affirmation of aspiration with articulation yielding application.
These can be just a set of cliché words on a screen or paper if we dismiss November 2nd and go along with business as usual. To do so is to invite more November 2nds. With Republicans in total control of Maine state government, we must define ourselves anew. The Democratic Party needs to hold many local meetings and a state conclave tomorrow, not next year, to determine its direction.
We must do so not to merely attempt to position the party, not to craftily market ourselves to the electorate, but rather to know ourselves so we can build trust with Maine citizens and offer them effective solutions to Maine challenges, based on moral assurances that help all of us meet higher objectives. We need to search for what our vision is in governance both pragmatic and moral, agree on the broad brush stokes philosophically, and then employ effective constant communication to build alliances and obtain individual allegiances to not just win elections but mandates of ongoing actions.
Affirmation of our fundamental beliefs is vital to ensuring that we have identified the essential ingredients of both the moral positions and pragmatic governance principles we value for our state. It is essential that our core values are an expression of our deepest vision and not a whimsical reaction to polls, politicians, or perceived popularity.
Aspiration is what we need to shape from our core beliefs. We can say “no” today to Republican rule with authority if we reject their recently used tactic on the national level of saying “no” to obstruct and destroy. It may have yielded electoral success fleetingly for them but is a cynical strategy that contributes nothing to the common good. We can do better; we will say “no” because we aspire to a finer alternative that we will define completely.
Articulation of our message is critical to connect to Maine citizens and of far greater vital consequence, to earn their trust. We must not solely wallow in the mechanics of communications which are certainly also due to be reviewed. We have to express our message as the best possible, well thought out, and pragmatic but visionary alternative vision of Maine governance. And to greatly impact the electorate, we need to stick to it and avoid sugarcoating Republican-lite repackaging with a laser like focus on being absolutely and directly on message. We must express beliefs that can be believed in not puffery to perform for the present.
Application of our principles is our ultimate goal. We are not seeking a reactive moment of affiliation with us in the voting booth for a foundation to reelect individuals for the sake of triumph without reward to the voter. We need not cringe at the concept of voter reward in our politics if it is delivery of an exceptional and equitable life in Maine. We seek voter affiliation for the long term to govern well with trust to achieve worthy objectives and will invest the time and energy to earn it.
Democrats form the party that looks forward; let’s move forward.