Perspectives

Democratic Party has Lost Its Soul Says Author/Activist Thomas Reston


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Long-time Democratic activist and author Thomas B. Reston says the Democratic Party has lost its way and lost its soul over the past generation or more.
In his book, “Soul of a Democrat: Seven Core Ideals that Made our Party and Our Country – Great,” Reston claims that the party has lost its focus and it has jettisoned old philosophies that historically sparked the electorate. He cites the Presidential Election of 2016 as an example.
He gives reasons for the party’s lackluster recent performances and outlines suggestions on how it can right itself.
Reston claims that Democrats spend too much time running against and attacking Donald Trump and not enough time and effort crafting a messages that would resonate with voters.
Instead of developing a unifying message that would appeal to the whole electorate, he claims Democrats also spend too much time and effort targeting specific blocs of voters and tailoring a number of messages to appeal to those individual blocs.
He asserts that President Trump, as a candidate, espoused messages that took many traditional Democratic voters away from the party.
Reston says Democrats need to get back to seven basic ideals: 1) Stand for the individual common person; 2) Fight for all outsiders; 3) Honor today’s secular altruism; 4) Making the ideas and ideals of the party understandable to everyone; 5) Bolster economic security for all; 6) Return to a pragmatic and idealistic foreign policy; and 7) Support the ongoing struggle for civil rights.
In his book, he uses historical references to individuals who are mainstays of the Democratic Party to make his points — people like Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson.
Reston has spent his life in politics. He has worked for eight presidential campaigns and countless state and local elections. He was twice the Secretary of the Democratic Party of Virginia and was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs under President Jimmy Carter. He also is a strong civil rights advocate. He has twice been Chair of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF).