By Rachel Levy

Did “defund the police” and “socialism” scare some Democratic voters away from voting? I do not see any evidence that that happened, nor, frankly, do I see any evidence that any Democrats actually ran on those concepts. From what I saw, Democrats ran on our issues, not by reacting to a Republican caricature of Venezuela socialism. What is important to Democratic success vis a vis messaging in future elections? 1. Running a campaign that speaks to constituents in the district Democratic candidates are going to represent. 2. Addressing issues that will make constituents' lives and communities better. 3. Ensuring that all Democratic and potentially Democratic voters who are eligible to vote can and do.

The Democratic Party is a sum of its parts, and we are a big-tent party. This inclusiveness is one advantage we hold over the Republican Party which has been captured by far-right xenophobia. But a big tent means that not all candidates are going to appeal to all Democrats across the country. Democrats should run on doing work and championing policies that will make people’s lives better, starting with the most vulnerable in our communities, and which policies those are may differ between districts. And we must present those in succinct and accessible talking points. More just, equitable policies and programs and services and public democratic institutions do not mean the more privileged give up anything; it means we all win. What is good for the most vulnerable among us, is good for all of us. If their rights are protected, if their needs are met, then the needs of the less vulnerable will be met as well. That is not an ism, that is not a message, that is good politics. Such an approach will also grow our local Democratic committees.

Finally, all the fine-tuned, compelling, succinct messaging means nothing if we do not work actively to protect people’s sacred right to vote and if we do not do what it takes to get out the vote. This means supporting legislation that fulfills the idea that voting is a right, not a privilege—making it easier and faster to vote; being vigilant against anti-democratic forces who seek to suppress the right to vote, particularly of BIPOC and younger voters; getting out the vote with urgency; and, finally, giving reluctant voters compelling reason to vote in the first place, i.e., championing and communicating support of policies that will make their lives better.