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Issue of the week: The Democrats' missing mojo

Illustration by Arnie Bermudez
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
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This election year, the Democrats were trounced by Bush's re-election and the Republicans took the majority in both the Senate and the the House. In the week after the election, the question is, how can Democrats recover after the elections clearly showed that their party is becoming less and less important in the eyes of the people?

Brett Berry

Pick your issues and don't budge

First of all, the Democrats need to stop trying to fight for voters on issues that are Republican wedge issues. The Republicans have already brainwashed the people who are swayed by these issues to stay on their side. The "God, guns and gays" voters aren't going to listen to arguments. Trying to provide logical arguments on issues like these will only further galvanize and embolden a bunch ignorant people against them who otherwise probably wouldn't vote. They should just hope that these people will eventually realize that maybe things weren't so perfect back in 1952.

For quite some time, the Democrats' biggest problem has been that, while the Republicans have been pushing further and further to the right, the Democrats have thought it a good idea to keep moving more to the center. Of course, it's wonderful that most Democrats actually view most issues as being complex and complicated, but they still need to find where they stand on issues that are important to them and not budge. When they are not willing to take a firm stance on anything, then that makes them seem spineless. They should still keep in mind the complexity of issues, but they still can champion their ideals to the world-and remove the possibility of being inaccurately labeled as a flip-flopper.

There's plenty of things to choose from: promoting fair and effective economic practices, crafting an energy independence policy, or choosing to actually protect the environment instead of catering to polluting businesses. I guarantee that in four years these issues will have only gotten worse, so start drawing attention to them.

Brett Berry is a regional development senior who still despises political parties. He can be reached at

Ryan Johnson

Get the "morals" crowd to be selfish

If there's one enduring lesson from this election, it's that there's a large bloc of voters that will put their "morals" above everything else.

But it's more than just ignoring faulted foreign policy or dangerous environmental policy. They'll actually put morals above their own economic interests.

Indeed, while Republicans represent the economic interests of the rich and the business elites, they've formed an ingenious union with the middle class religious right. So the morals voters get their morals, but they also end up supporting things such as tax cuts for the wealthy. Or the war in Iraq.

But what exactly are these "morals"? Part of it is cut and dried issues such as abortion and gay rights. That divide is wide and not changing any time soon. But then there's symbolic stuff. Georgia's state flag. The phrase "under God" in the pledge. The Ten Commandments on the steps of the Alabama State Courthouse.

The Dems would benefit strategically from getting the ACLU types to stop fighting for these symbolic victories. They don't really achieve much, but they certainly piss off morals voters.

Instead, the Dems should get these voters to focus on their economic future. Instead of tax cuts for the wealthy, what about healthcare for their children? Instead of an explosion in defense spending, how about paying down debt?

One of the big ironies of the Republican party is that it pits the "selfish" business interests with people that are forced to be unselfish.

If the Democrats can just get them to behave a little more like, ahem, Republicans, they'll get their groove back.

Ryan Johnson is an economics and international studies junior. He can be reached at

Laura Keslar

Bring on the porn and drugs

Last week, the Democrats suffered from some major setbacks: they lost their bid for President, they lost seats in Congress, and 11 states passed bans on gay marriage.

To get back on their feet, what they need is more porn, drugs, sex and rock 'n' roll - a lot of it, especially in light of the considerable losses they have suffered.

Okay, minus the rock 'n' roll.

Look at it this way: the Democrats will never have that Evangelical vote as long as Evangelicals vote on moral issues. After all, being a Democrat means they are ugly, worship the devil and dance around the campfire naked. Evangelicals don't want any of that.

So the best thing to do is to court the votes that they have a chance of getting. And who are those people? Why, males and Libertarians.

With more porn and sex, they got the males in the bag.

Don't worry about isolating the feminists; they are single-issue voters. As long as Democrats embrace women's "rights," they won't budge no matter your position on porn.

As for the Libertarians, you got them hooked when you say that government needs to keep their hands out of the bedroom.

True, Democrats might not snag all the Libertarians especially the free-market kind but they get the social Libertarians. And that's a good thing.

So Dems, take note: ditch Howard Dean and P. Diddy and grab yourself some porn and drugs.

Laura Keslar is a pre-pharmacy junior. She can be reached at

Lauren Peckler

The Heartland is where the numbers are

The Democrats made a huge error during the elections by not addressing ignorant voters. In turn, they looked like the idiots who didn't realize that the Midwest (or more simply put) large groups of people are important!

I think most Democrats look at the Midwest as a bunch of hicks who are too sheltered and afraid to accept separation between church and state, or that the Iraq war was a mistake.

The majority of Republicans now focus all their energy on moral issues like abortion or religion which shouldn't even be a factor in government.

I don't think Democrats understood that those narrow-minded Midwesterners maybe are Republicans because they're ignorant, but they still vote.

Another group that the Democrats ignored were Hispanics. Traditionally, Hispanics have been more liberal because of their loyalty to labor rights. In the last three elections though, they have voted less and less for the Democrats. More importantly, in four years, their population has doubled.

Bush incessantly touts his love for God and the necessity for a strong and religious family. I always thought those "Viva Bush" signs were some sort of joke, but now I know why the Democrats lost votes to the Republicans this year.

Bush's campaign not only held on to their former Republicans, but they also swayed more votes in their favor. Focusing on Hispanics with similar ideals was brilliant.

It's time for Democrats to understand the playing field and address specific groups of people. Everyone is part of some sort of group, whether it be race or gender or whatever, and the Democrats didn't take that seriously. They were too busy being the nice guys who love everyone.

I propose the Democrats start directing their attention to specific groups, especially opposing voters now and try to enlighten their viewpoints, before the Republicans start attracting more groups to their morals and ideals that have nothing to do with what a political party should stand for.

Lauren Peckler is a sophomore majoring in English and sociology. She can be reached at

Moe Naqvi

Dems need to resurrect mojo

The Democratic Party can be easily compared to the Spice Girls. At one time everyone wanted to be Posh, Sporty, Baby, Ginger or Scary Spice, but time soon passed them by and Britney Spears came around. The Democratic Party is the Spice Girls and the Republican Party is Britney Spears. The Democrats have lost their mojo to the Republicans and in order for them to bring it back, they are going to need to put in a lot of overtime.

Everyone loved Bill Clinton because the guy was funny and pimptastic, and he knew how to be personable. The Democrats need to bring back vivid personalities such as Clinton in order to have any chance to win back the nation in the 2008 presidential election. The Republicans pulled in Arnold Schwarzenegger before the election, and their popularity skyrocketed. Schwarzenegger is a great robot, and the Republicans scooped him up. If I lived in California I would've definitely voted for Schwarzenegger solely on the credentials from his awesome work in "True Lies" and the "Terminator" series.

I am suggesting that the Democratic Party hold fund-raisers to elicit large funds and then use that money to buy big-name celebrities to run for governors, senators and representatives with their party.

If the Democrats could get Bob Saget, Brett Favre or Napoleon Dynamite for either one of those positions, Democratic popularity would increase and then allow them to win over the majority of the U.S. government, maybe even the presidency.

The more fantastic people the Democrats associate themselves with, the higher their chances of getting their mojo back in the U.S. government is. If the Democrats continue to be lackluster babykillers and refuse to nominate such fabulous people as Lindsay Lohan, they will not be able to get the life back into their party.

Moe Naqvi is a physiological sciences freshman. He can be reached at

Susan Bonicillo
opinions editor

Stop trying to be hip; appeal to the soccer moms

Though it sounded like a good idea at the time, the Democrats' trying to make themselves more "hip" and relevant to the younger set ended up in a blown election. Thousands of "Kerry-Edwards" buttons and bumper stickers are still around despite last week's loss and they serve as a sad reminder of their failed efforts.

Despite the fact that there was a massive attempt this year to make politics more sexy and cool and thus make more young people interested in government, all of that hard work should have been seen as futile. The low voter turnout by young people this year and in other past elections should have been a clear statement to the Democrats that trying to make young people care is next to impossible. Despite the faithful who showed their civic responsibility on last Tuesday, they were too far and in between. The apathy of young America is not just a myth.

The people who do need to be paid attention to is Middle America. It's the soccer moms, the religious, the gray-haired among us who actually show up and vote. These are the people who know that they have to be registered in order to vote unlike some college students who think that by just turning 18 entitles them to show up at the polls.

Besides, trying to make politics hip should have been seen as a disaster in the first place. First of all, anytime P. Diddy and Paris Hilton are out supporting your party is never a good sign. The people are smart enough to see through this ploy and pandering to them is insulting.

Politics isn't sexy and it shouldn't be marketed as such. Though some of us don't like the political process, it dictates how we live our lives. If Democrats want to become a stronger presence in the United States, they need to throw away their appeals to young people, stop trying to get the uniformed approval of Hollywood, and do away with pretense.

Susan Bonicillo is a junior majoring in English. She can be reached at

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