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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Sen. Sherrod Brown: How Dems Can Win in Trump Country

Democrats have a bumper crop of presidential candidates for 2020 already. But many progressives still lament that Sen Sherrod Brown decided not to run for  President in 2020. At salon.com, Matthew Rosza has a short interview with Sen. Brown, an Ohio progressive who actually wins state-wide elections with strong support from white working-class voters. Brown shares some of his insights regarding how Democrats can win in 2020 in this excerpt:

First of all, I don’t see the divide as great as the media wants to make it out to be. I’ll start with that. I think the big D issue is the Republicans moving further and further to the right and following Donald Trump off a cliff with his divisive, racist rhetoric. I mean, that’s the issue or the story of the two parties. But I’ll still answer the question directly.

I think there’s a false choice between “you speak to your progressive base” or “you talk to working-class voters of all races, some of whom don’t think of themselves as progressive.” I think it’s a false choice. I think you talk to both.

I’ll use an example: If I go to Zanesville, Ohio, and I don’t win, it’s an industrial city. There are ten Zanesvilles in Ohio. There’s Mansfield, Zanesville, Springfield, Chillicothe, Portsmouth, Lima, Ravenna, cities that are working class cities, racially pretty diverse, some more than others. Globalization has been unkind to all of them, I’ll just put it that way. But I do okay in those communities, even though they may not like my position on guns, they may not like my position on choice, and they may not like my ‘F’ from the NRA, my lifetime ‘F,’ they may not like it that I’ve always been pro-choice, they may not like it that I’ve supported marriage equality for 20 years. But enough of them vote for me because I talk about their kids going to Eastern Gateway or Stark State or Rhodes State. I talk to them about the cost of prescription drugs and how I fought the drug companies. I talk to them about getting access to healthcare and pre-existing … and protecting them if they have a pre-existing condition.

…Some won’t vote for me. Some will never vote for me because of my ‘F’ in the NRA. I can live with that. Some of them still won’t want me to be their senator. I’ll still work hard to help them with their Social Security check or with a problem they have with pollution coming from a local river or something. But you talk to them as a progressive on economic issues. You don’t compromise on civil rights, you don’t compromise on women’s rights. But you can win in those communities…The people I talk about in Lima or Zanesville or Mansfield, many, many of them understand that I fight for them against a utility company or against a drug company or when their job has been outsourced because of bad trade policy.

…I mean, elections are about contrasts and he’s [Trump] really had nothing improve. All that he’s done, all that he’s said in trade has been mostly pretty good. All that he’s done in trade, in trying to address trade issues has been muddled and bungled, in how he’s done it.

For more information about Senator Brown’s policies, click here.

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