Richard Davis: Sage advice on how to win an election


A 35-year-old South African immigrant provided a much needed wake-up call about the next U.S. presidential election last week when Trevor Noah, the host of Comedy Central's Daily Show, informed and entertained a packed house at the Mullins Center at UMass in Amherst, Mass. Noah is much more than a comedian; he is a man with a razor sharp mind who can cut to the chase and expose the truth and hypocrisy in our daily lives while being funny and entertaining. In other words he is the complete package in my mind and is, perhaps, one of the brightest stars in the world of U.S. political commentary.

Noah offered simple advice about the coming presidential election: vote and do not dwell on the madness of King Donald. Focus on the issues. It is sage advice from such a young person but his advice is right on the money. If Democrats choose to talk about Trump and about his brand of mental illness, they will lose the election.

As a mega-narcissist, Trump would like nothing more than to have the Democrats focus on him. He does not care what they say as long as they focus on him because, in his world which has now become the entire world, it's all about him. When opponents talk about Trump and his behavior they bolster Trump's brand. They can't win if they talk about Trump the fool or Trump the racist, misogynistic, homophobic xenophobe.

In order for the Democrats to regain control of the White House and end the national and world nightmare that has been the Trump presidency, they have to focus on the issues. They have to let the American people know that they not only care about issues that affect their lives on a daily basis but that they are willing to do something about it.

Health care should be the number one issue. This country has an immorally high infant mortality rate and the health of an American is directly tied to their level of income. If you can afford to buy high quality health care, it is available.

Democrats need to support the Medicare for All plan because it is a realistic alternative to what we now have. They have to develop a comprehensive media strategy that is able to tell the American people the facts. The Medicare for All plan will save all of us money and it will provide for a healthier population.

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When Republicans scream that the Democrats are trying to turn us all into socialists, the Democrats need to explain that they are not socialists but that they are Americans who want to create the kind of equality that the founding fathers of this country hoped for. If equality is labelled socialism the Democrats can turn the tables and use the word equality every time the other side yells socialism.

Democrats can push to bring greater urgency to environmental issues. Too many Americans feel that the environment is just something that does not affect them on a daily basis. Democrats have to bring the issue home by telling the people in New Orleans, Miami, Boston and New York that their cities could soon be under water in a matter of years, not decades.

The Republicans have been allowed to pass legislation and enact policies that have pushed global climate problems much closer to a doomsday scenario, all in the name of profits. There are many other issues that the Democrats should attend to such as education and the economy.

If the Democrats are to reverse course, or at least move away from the march to insanity and fascism that has been going on for the past two years, they have to figure out a way to control the discussion and move away from the Trump soap opera to dialogue about health care, the environment, the economy and the quality of life of all Americans.

As Trevor Noah put it, we all have to vote. Sounds simple, but Americans have yet to understand the power of the vote. Maybe a young South African immigrant can push them in the right direction.

Richard Davis is a registered nurse. He writes from Guilford and welcomes comments at The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.


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