1. It’s Wednesday, June 21, 2017.
2. It’s summer! We slogged through the winter to get to this day and this time of year, and here it is.
3. There’s another reason today is one of my favorite days of the year. It’s my baby brother’s birthday, and he’s among the most fantastic people on this planet.
So we’ve got the summer solstice, my brother’s birthday.
And let’s throw in Rebecca Black – she’s 20 years old today, which – unfortunately for serendipity – is not a Friday.
Those are some good reasons to be happy.
4. Here’s one not to: The results in yesterday’s special election for Georgia’s 6th Congressional district.
Why did Jon Ossoff (thanks to my friends Charlie and Karen Reina for calling out yesterday’s typo) lose?
Well, for one thing, despite Trump’s 38% or so approval rating, it was still a Republican district. Tom Price won by about 24 points just seven months ago. Ossoff got Karen Handel’s margin down to less than four.
The second reason is the time between the initial balloting, in which Ossoff outpolled Handel by a 2-to-1 margin, and yesterday’s runoff. Two months is a long time – and, in this case, it gave the oodles of outside money that supported Handel a chance to reframe the election.
People in that district must be thrilled it’s over – it being the most expensive House election ever. And when fatigue replaces enthusiasm as the electorate’s prevalent feeling, it’s not good for the status quo challenger.
My guess is people in the district got tired of this race and the natural reluctance to make a change led them to the Republican.
5. The following are NOT reasons for Ossoff’s loss:
One is Ossoff’s campaign. There are some who believe he should have been more aggressive.
But if that’s not who you are, don’t do it. Ossoff believed a positive campaign would win – against the district’s history, he didn’t miss by much. A more negative campaign might not have come as close.
The other thing I reject is the idea that it’s the national Democrats – in particular, Nancy Pelosi – who’s toxic.
Now, I’m a Nancy Pelosi fan. I think she did a great job in the short time she was Speaker of the House. I wish that’s what she was now.
But the decade-long vilification of Pelosi by Republicans have more to do with her being the leader of the Democrats than in anything about her.
If Steny Hoyer or James Clyburn or some other veteran had been chosen to lead the party in the House, he would have been subject to the same mud-dragging. That Pelosi is a woman probably helps Republicans reach their target audience better.
As Democrats, we’re going to have get past this. We elected an African-American president. We have talent of all manner of person, because that’s a core belief of the party.
The way to do it is to make our case. To spell out what we’re for, rather than what we’re against.
We don’t need to talk too much about Trump any more. Everybody knows what he is.
We need to talk about what we’re going to do to make people’s lives better.
It’s why the Democrats should have developed their own Obamacare improvement plan long before the Republicans started their crusade to end it.
It’s why the Democrats should develop an infrastructure improvement plan that will help provide jobs in places where they’re needed.
It’s why Democrats should put forth their own homeland security plan that incorporates and empowers all races and religions, and rejects blanket bans that just radicalize the disaffected.
It’s why Democrats should develop an anti-crime program that gets police and communities working together to stop the lawless.
It’s developing a set of principles and programs to entice people.
It should not be about what we’re against. That will be self-evident. And with lowlifes like Trump, Ryan, McConnell and others, the contrast will be starker.
And there’s one other point. Something I said earlier this year
6. Democrats should compete everywhere. Everywhere. For every office.
Democrats didn’t put 1% of the effort into the race in South Carolina’s 5th district that they put into Georgia’s 6th. And the result was the same – in fact, Democrat Archie Parnell actually came closer to winning than Jon Ossoff did in Georgia.
Both districts were thought to be solid red. They turned out to be just a reddish shade of purple.
It’s a lesson.
Go for it. Every time. At the very least, make the Republicans sweat. Make them defend the seat. They have money. Make them spend it.
You can’t win if you don’t play. Don’t concede a single seat. Not in Alabama or Wyoming or Utah or Mississippi.
Don’t think any office is too small. Town highway supervisor. Village council.
They’re all important. Go after them. Make an effort. Put forth the party’s philosophy of inclusion and helping people.
This is the first day of summer. Show people some light when the other side is showing darkness.
That’s what Democrats are supposed to be about.