#NeverTrump of 2016 was a lot like #AnyBodyButBush in 2004. They both failed. I worried about this back in the early summer. In the ballot booth we vote for individuals (or parties). #Never and #AnybodyBut can be a starting point, but but they cannot be the central message.
The Democratic Party prides itself on not being the Republicans. Good for them. But then you must make an argument for why one must join and advance the Democratic Party. Identity politics and support for specific social positions does not really address what the party will do in power.
Our message in 2016 was “Donald Trump sucks.” Trump indeed does suck. But that is not inspiring.
Clinton won the popular vote by a thin margin, but not by the margins needed to secure the Electoral College.
In the 21st century, Kerry, McCain, Romney, and Clinton have lost presidential elections. They all had experience and brains. They all seemed “presidential,” but in the process they all sounded a lot like George H. W. Bush in 1992. “I am presidential” has become code for “I am boring.” Oddly, it is also something often claimed by those who never become president.
This doesn’t mean that Democrats should nominate Mark Cuban in 2020, but it does means that the Dems need to pick a solid campaigner that people can get behind. Nominate somebody that people can be excited to vote for.
The Dems ran a 20th century campaign in 2016. We played it safe. We cannot make this mistake, again. We have made it way too many times.
Elections are not about being right. They are about winning.