I find myself physically shaking my head as I think about 2017.
What can we say about it that has not been said before? Obscenities? Pleas to God? Somehow, words run dry.
Since the 20th of last year, we have been beset on all sides, as if a dam had burst its floodgates. Back then, I felt like a croaking soothsayer in a Shakespeare play, shouting into the wind.
Above all, defeat was stifling. It left us with little to do except sit around in groups and think tanks, trying to figure out where it all had gone so wrong. And by March, many brave warriors from the election cycle were sick of the whole debacle. Extended trench warfare is a terrible thing psychologically.
We lost people here and there in trickles. It was hard to see them go, but it was awesome to watch a hardcore form until only the most dedicated remained. We cleaned up the Groups and we started to tighten bonds. Our foxholes we dug deep, and our trenches we shored up well. We slowly built the infrastructure we will need to build this movement. And now, we’re seeing those people trickling back.
It was around April or May that the anti- Democrat cyber-invasions started on Facebook. When you get fifty, sixty new members requests a day, in a Facebook Group that’s got six hundred members, it makes you start to wonder. And when you see the same thing happening to every single group in your whole network, you know for sure. We’ve passed the point of thinking it might just be paranoia.
It was clever how they did it. They noted that Americans tend to lose interest in politics a few months after a big election and expected our groups to be sitting ducks for sleeper cells. They were organized and they were motivated. It showed up pretty clearly that for the opposition, there’s no such thing as an offseason. So we took no days off either.
I can hear the fireworks of the New Year crackling and booming in the distance, and I wonder what this particular new year is going to bring with it.
I hear the explosions and I think of Kim Jong Un in North Korea, triggering seismic shifts on his own land as a Fourth of July gift to the world.
One thing only is certain. We have got to make serious headway in cleaning this mess up, and we have to do it this year. Last week Doug Jones of Alabama was officially certified as the victor of the Senatorial race he fought against Republican Roy Moore. He will be sworn in officially on the third of January.
The victory of Jones has given us Democrats a plausible path to taking control of the Senate again next November. It did not exist before then. That combined with #TheBlueWave that started building this November when we won in Virginia and New Jersey has given us a very real momentum. Our job as activists is to help that momentum grow in every way we can.
The key now is to find new ways to tie ourselves together. The stronger our bonds are, the firmer our solidarity. People stay true to their convictions when they can still draw strength from those who share them. It’s when they cut us off and make us feel small, that people start to shake loose from the coalition. But we’re not going to let that happen. We’ve got a no-man-left-behind policy, and we are not accepting any casualties.
The clock has turned, and we have entered 2018. Very soon now, we will be coming out of the trenches, and rushing to the battlefield with everything we’ve got.
This is bigger than America. It’s bigger than Russia, and it’s bigger than Trump and Putin. This is a world war between ideologies. It’s the age-old struggle between authoritarianism and democracy and must be fought anew in every generation.
As we go forward into the New Year, we have got to assume it’s going to get worse before it gets better. A lot worse. The first obstacle is going to be fending off more than four hundred primary challenges from the so-called Justice Democrats, people who ought to be our natural allies, at a time when every dollar is needed to take the Congress back from the Republicans.
It’s unbelievable and it doesn’t make sense unless you assume their intent is to hurt loyal Democrats as badly as they can. But nevertheless, that is our situation. We must make the best of it.
Our plan is simple. We intend to take back our own ideas from the radicals who have usurped them. We will meet our opposition on every battlefield we can find.
This will be a historic year for the Democratic Party, no matter what. This will go down in the books as the year we rallied, came together, and cleaned up our country’s backyard.
The path ahead is finally clear. We will simply make a New Year’s resolution. We will keep the faith and work as we have never worked before. Next week, the whole circus starts up again in earnest.
This is likely to be a midterm year like no other in history. It’s going to be a mess, and it will take every bit of us all to get it done, but it is possible. Momentum and midterm tradition both favour us. Happy New Year, fellow Democrats. We’ve survived the first year of Donald Trump. We’ve earned it.