Democrats now face the prospect of no power for the near future, as radical Republicans attack the very core of our federal government. This is why it was so appalling to have so many African Americans, women, young, and poor people assert that there was no real difference between the parties and whether Clinton or Trump won. Now as Trump begins naming his cabinet and first 100 days agenda, the reality is becoming worse than imagined because it seems clear Trump will work with the right wing to implement their agenda. Jeff Sessions as Attorney General? Tom Price at HHS? and people like Giuliani and David Clarke being considered for various posts? It seems the "unpredictable" Trump is so far very predictably bad.
Democrats need to respond to Republicans in a bold way that matches their extremism. The GOP has gotten this far by breaking tradition, obstruction, lying, and the politicalization of even the most basic things. It has worked. And the typical Democratic freak out has not worked. Pointing out that you're responsible while the other is extreme; as you negotiate with them is a losing battle. And we have lost. Both Trump and Republicans have for years now proposed and fought for extreme policies that we thought for sure would sink them. Only to watch the public reward them for having ideas and trying in the first place. They have been on offense and been willing to take short term losses for a long term victory. THAT must be copied! Democrats should not oppose Republicans in a moderate way. They need to be bold and visionary. They need to stand for a new agenda that might win in 2 or 4 years or maybe in 20 years. We can't simply say no to Republicans and hope the people see how bad they are.
Here's what Democrats should stand for:
Medicare for all with no deductibles and coinsurance. Americans would pay a simple premium and copay each time they used the system based on what they could afford to discourage overuse but no person would ever have to make an economic decision about their health. This is an improvement of the current Medicare system which is too expensive and complicated. We should work hard to keep private sector involved because it encourages innovation and managed competition can make everything work better.
Universal free public college for in state students. The road to the middle class used to require high school, now young people need more education to get ahead. Students should be able to commute to their local college at no charge just like high school. If they or parents wanted to pay to stay on campus and for other amenities, that's their choice. But all public 2 and 4 years schools should be available based on academic performance and not economics.
Cut Defense department by 50% while making the US stronger. More money doesn't equal better results. Re-evaluate all current deployments and re-orient our posture toward defeating f terrorists and defending ourselves rather than being an empire. This is radical but the right thing to do. We'll find we will be even safer because the country can focus on doing what works, and we won't be provoking so many issues around the world.
Build American infrastructure up into 21st century leader. Updated modern electrical grid that doesn't lose power so easily, modern public transportation improvements including airports, fixing roads and bridges, using smart technology that saves money and time, etc.
Clean up inner city streets and abandoned areas. Revitalize downtrodden areas with public/private partnerships that incentivize projects where it might not be profitable now, but we can create a better community and an environment where something will emerge later.
Community police forces Have local community meetings where the residents personally hire people from their community to police themselves. Then deploy to the worst crime neighborhoods in overwhelming force.
Decriminalize common drug use We need to stop the cat and mouse game with drugs. If a substance is being used widespread, decriminalize it. Fine people for possession and move on. Focus on making our cities safer, and leave the drug epidemic to health and education officials.
Education reform Pledge to fully fund our educational system in all 50 states. Allow every state and locality to do education their way. Each year they must be proficient or else the whole management of school must be removed, and start over.
In addition, allow any parent in any school, who wants to use their tax dollars in a private or home school setting to take a voucher to use it. Education is so important, we shouldn't be arguing over small amounts of money. Both/And should be an acceptable answer. School choice and a strong public school system.
Auction Tax reform Democrats should look to use technology to raise taxes in the least intrusive way. Think of how many events and items Americans are willingly paying well above face value or above their normal spending range. Sporting events, concerts, collector's items, new products, etc. An event like the Cubs - Indians World Series immediately sold out, and tickets became inflated on the secondary market. Thousands of people willingly paid more than normal to see the game. This is a road map to a new taxation system that is much more voluntary. Having the government auction off low supply/high demand events and items can substantially fund our government and all we need to do. Out of let's say 35,000 seats at a world series game, the government could buy 1000 tickets and resell them to highest bidder. Those 1000 people would be happy, and no one loses out.
These are bold plans that Democrats can rally around that make people's lives better.
I should emphasize that much of the above can be done using the private sector as utility companies or in managed ways. It is almost always better to have more ideas and competition rather than central planners deciding all the details. So it is important that we the people through our government set priorities and guarantees and then have an open mind as the best way to achieve it.