DNC 2016: A look towards the Future

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If in 15 years people are still reading blog posts from Wake the Vote, I hope they come back to revisit this one. That may sound vain, but really I only desire that because I want the predictions I make in this column to come true. After spending a week at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, I have renewed faith in the Democratic party. It was refreshing to be in an environment that was so much more inclusive and welcoming than what I experienced in Cleveland. I was lucky enough to be able to attend an event that was centered on Women of Color in elected office and it was honestly inspiring. These women were brilliant, accomplished, and so passionate about the work they were doing. That is the future I envision for the Democratic party. It is a party that highlights the accomplishments of women of color, queer people, trans people, and people with other identities that have historically been marginalized. It is a party that champions those that have experienced discrimination and actively works to dismantle systems of oppression. It is hard to think about a function of the system being a part of breaking down that system, but I have faith it can be done. Already this week I have so much great progress from Democrats. Especially after watching the Republican convention, it is easy to be more optimistic about the future of the Democratic party. Republicans seem to be trapped in this nostalgia that hampers their party’s ability for growth. They cater almost exclusively to heterosexual, cisgender white men of middle to higher socioeconomic status. In a country that is becoming increasingly diverse, I don’t see this model being successful long term. How can Republicans expect to win elections in a country that will have no clear racial majority by 2050 if they refuse to even acknowledge that systematic racism in the police force exists? Or if they advocate for policies that discriminate against immigrants and Muslims? Or if they hold antiquated and harmful stances on women’s reproductive rights and access to contraception? It’s just not a platform that I think is sustainable. Republicans even recognized that they needed to make a change in the “autopsy” they performed after their loss in 2012, but they seem to have doubled down this year by choosing Trump as a nominee. There is so much promise that I see in the Democratic party with candidates like Cory Booker and Symone Sanders. They are advocating for policies that I think are going to be beneficial going on into the 21st century. For goodness sake, they at least acknowledge that science is real and that climate change is an issue we need to be addressing now. By no means is this to say that the Democratic party is perfect; no candidate is without flaws. From what I’ve seen this week though, the party is moving in the right direction, and I hope that in 15 years I’ll be writing a blog post about President (Michelle) Obama.

Erica Jordan

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