I am writing this letter to you out of love and concern. I am not one of you, though I have stood beside you in some elections recently, including the last one. I know you are hurting, I feel it too. It’s been over a week now. You have had time to move through some of the stages of grief. I felt the denial with you as I watched the election returns come in. I felt the anger which, for me, was replaced by numbness. I walked for a day or two in the fog as I wrote about here. But since I am not one of you, at least not a dyed-in-the-wool member of your ranks, I think I was able to shake off the fog more quickly than some of you. When I did, I began to see things more clearly. Some of those things concern me.
The cold, hard fact is that you took it on the chin big time in the election, Democrats. You lost in just about every important race and are now left mostly powerless, at least for the next two years. It is time to shake off the grief and anger and start to examine how this happened and how you can prevent it from happening again.
As I’ve observed my grieving Democratic friends’ social media posts in recent days, I have been troubled by some of what I see. I have noticed that there is a movement to stop Donald Trump before he ever gets started. I am troubled by this because I believe it sets a dangerous precedent. One of the greatest strengths of our country is the history we have of the peaceful transfer of power. Nobody has ever stood up and tried to stop the incoming elected leader from taking power. Let’s not start now. That opens up Pandora’s Box. Let’s step aside, graciously, and give the new regime their chance. If they overreach for power or do something unconstitutional then, and only then, go after them. We may not be totally comfortable with the system we have for electing a president (my opinion about the Electoral College has evolved to the point where I am ready to see it go) but under the rules that have always been in place, Donald Trump won fair and square. We must get out of his way and give him a chance. It is what Americans do.
But in the meantime, dear Democrats, it is time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. You have a huge task before you. It may have come as a shock to you at the time, but it should be abundantly clear to you now, you have lost touch with middle America. Your number one priority should not be stopping Donald Trump, it should be burning boot leather to find a way to reach the white, working-class, middle American, Christian voter. That is who put Donald Trump in the Oval Office and who put you into a state of depression.
I recently wrote an article that spoke to my frustrations with the Republican party and their insistence on mixing religion and politics. This open letter to the Democrats also involves the relationship between politics and religion, but from a very different angle. I can tell you quite frankly, Democratic friends, that you have alienated millions of working class Christians and whether you’ve intended to or not, you’ve left the impression that you look down upon them. I know this because, as a politically moderate Christian, I have felt the sting myself. Don’t make the mistake of picturing the working-class, Christian voter as one of those crazy, rebel flag waving, hate-spewing loudmouths you’ve seen on the internet. Those people are out there, for sure, but they are the extremists. They didn’t elect Trump, your next door neighbor did. The one who waves and smiles at you when you are mowing your yard. The one you see loading his family into the car on Sunday mornings to head off to church when you are getting your paper. The one you never really thought too much about until you saw the Trump sign go up in his yard and you suddenly thought, uh oh. There are millions and millions of neighbors like that across the vast red regions of this country and there are many in the blue areas too. Democratic friends, you’ve lost those neighbors. Right or wrong, they feel like you have attacked them and they feel like you look down upon them. How will you win them back?
The harder I look at it, the more convinced I am that religion is the fulcrum point upon which the current American political landscape is balanced. Republicans ran the risk of driving Christians away by selecting a man like Donald Trump to be the party standard-bearer. They indeed did drive away some Christians who normally vote Republican but obviously not enough to kill them. They’ve gotten away with it for now.
Democrats have a lot of work to do to win back some of the moderate Christians. How will you reach out and sell your message for America’s future to them?