At that point, I said something along the lines of, "This is why you'll lose. You're not willing to find out why they aren't voting in their economic interests." More discussion.
Finally, I made my point, which is that the Democratic Party had a chance to reverse people's belief that it was made up entirely of elitists who didn't care about the middle of the country. What they needed to do was go out at a very grassroots level and talk to people door to door, set a spell on a front porch drinking the sweet tea that would be offered and ask about what's going wrong in America or in the neighborhood and take notes. Then go to the next front porch and do the same thing. At that point, we, and I'm counting myself there as an East coast elitist who is traditionally Liberal, had up to three years to figure out how to reach middle America and drop our elitist language.
We didn't. Obama won. And we forgot that this project still needed to be done.
Make no mistake, this is about class and privilege in the United States. While white privilege exists (hoo boy, does it exist), people who are in extreme poverty, without work, and with drugs devastating their communities don't see themselves as privileged.
Until and unless we build this bridge, we will lose the hearts and minds of the middle of the country and their kids. Seeing that Grandma's medicare doesn't get her the help she needs or that his children are more likely to find meth than a job, alienates people and they are told by the ministers they listen to that a thrice married sociopath is better than a God-fearing Methodist who's stayed with her husband because the "values" shared aren't tangible. It doesn't matter that Hillary Clinton isn't warm and fuzzy, that can be overcome. It matters that the Democratic Party is bad at pointing to the concrete actions they have done to help. It matters that the Liberals don't deplore abortion, for instance, while explaining why it needs to remain legal with human and relatable anecdotes.
I work with numbers. I've learned to respect statistics. But I'm also southern culturally, and nothing is really understood within my culture without a story to explain it.
In a Guardian comment, I once said: In my jurisdiction, most of the women who choose to abort already have two or more children. They are making the choice, in part, to make certain the children they already have will be fed, schooled, and reared with fewer financial constraints. This is not the choice for toys. This is a choice for children to have the essentials of life.
You want to end abortion? Then make certain there are programs which provide safe havens for abused women. Make certain that every child who is already here has a safe place to sleep and sufficient to eat. I promise you, the abortion rate will go down drastically.
That's a strategy that has a story to be told. Sharing that story could get middle America supporting the right to choose if it's framed right (I admit, I picked a tough one as an example.).
But Liberals can't tell these stories until we've set on a porch and listened to their stories.
When my cousin who was more like a grandmother to me was in her late 80s, I said something inadvertently which led her to ask me about "the gays." I approached my answer through the bible using the ten commandments, the New testament superceding the Old, and 1 Corinthians 13 to buttress my argument. She listened because I was family, in part, but also because I was educated, because I approached it through the book she loved and the religion she practiced, and because I listened to her whole question.
I don't know how we can do this, but I know that we must.