“Winners Make Policy, Losers Go Home”

by Dave Mindeman

Mitch McConnell is noted for a political axiom….”Winners make policy, losers go home.”

Ignoring the arrogance of the statement, it unfortunately is true. And the Democratic Party always takes up that loser mantle for some reason.

It has been on display again this year. It is like we didn’t punish ourselves enough in 2016, we seem to need to do it again.

What do I mean? I mean this constant internal attack on Democrats that makes unity nearly impossible.

Somehow the money in politics (which is disgusting) has been hung around the neck of any Democratic candidate who has money, raises money, or extolls the necessity of having money in order to win. This needs to be addressed in the context of reality.

We are stuck with money being a criteria to win an elected office. I don’t like it, you don’t like it, and I think a majority of the American people don’t like it. But it is here and as long as Republicans control legislative bodies, nothing will ever be done about it.

Hillary needed to raise a lot of money and she was villified for it – even though a fair amount of that money was used to help other campaigns. Yes, Bernie raised money the right way and it made him a nomination contender. But that was as far as he could take it. It is extremely doubtful that without the Democratic fundraising machine he would have been able to sustain his campaign through the general election. His donors were getting tapped out and campaign violations for exceeding limits were numerous.

We cannot change the need for money in politics without being able to legislate it out. That is truth. It is the simple, unvarnished truth.

In the 2nd District, Jeff Erdmann raised little money. Something he pointed to with pride and his supporters were pointed to it with pride as well. But no matter how much you agreed with Erdmann’s platform, (and it was a good one), the reality was that he could not even garner 30% of the delegates at the convention. He is not going to be on the ballot. He is not going to be anyone’s standard bearer heading to November. He didn’t raise enough money to get his message out to enough people and now he will go home.

Winners make policy, losers go home.

I do not like having to point this out. But if we are EVER going to change money in politics or Citizens United – WE HAVE TO WIN ELECTIONS!

I shouldn’t have to even point that out. It is obvious. It was obvious in 2016 and it should be blatantly obvious in 2018.

Denigrating DFL candidates over the money they raise is a fool’s errand. It just is. Making an example of Democrats over money in politics, while Republicans are the beneficiaries of an open spigot of cash is self-defeating and frankly, stupid.

If the Democrats would happen to take control of Congress, then the process of getting Citizens United overturned and a new campaign finance law in place can begin. And I say begin, because even then it will be a long laborious process to make that change. And we will need to win – win in several election cycles. Only then do we have a chance.

In 2016, progressives made an issue of Clinton’s ties to corporate money. Her positions maintained full support for overturning Citizen’s United. She railed against unlimited corporate spending. And yet, too many Democrats indignantly would not support the “corporate Democrat”. They voted 3rd Party or did not vote at all. And we got Donald Trump.

Winners make policy, losers go home.

And so we all went home. Trump and the Republicans were free to legislate anything they wanted. All we could do is protest to take government back, when we gave it to them in the first place.

We are united on the idea that Republican policies are bad. We are united on the framework of getting money out of politics. We are united on policy issues from the environment to budgets. But for some reason, Democrats will not tolerate Democrats who know we cannot unilaterally disarm on money in politics. That we have to play the game that controls the battlefield until we can reach the point where we win.

Winners make policy, losers go home.

Let’s support our candidates. We do not plan to go home this time.

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