Over the summer a young, gay, New Yorker posted his #WalkAway video on Youtube. The post quickly went viral. It has amassed over 500,000 views. He spoke to why he made the choice to ‘leave’ the Democratic Party. It created the opportunity for many other disenfranchised Democratic voters to create their own #WalkAway videos. You can watch the original video for yourself.
The #WalkAway movement in an interesting one. It is more of a long-term psychological hashtag, as opposed to short-term ones we see. The short-term ones are #Boycott (Insert anything here). The longer-term hashtags are things like #Resist, #MeToo, and now #WalkAway. The longer-term ones are unique. They are cultural shifts. They are emblematic of large groups of people explaining their story, and most of the stories represented by the particular hashtag have commonalities. This is why they are intriguing to look at.
Let’s start with the premise of most #WalkAway videos. The core complaint is the welcoming, inclusive message that brought voters to the Democrat Party during the Obama years has become convoluted and misconstrued. These people walked into the Party with an invite for all, but now feel as if they must adhere to a set group of standards and policies to keep up their welcome. This feeling is proven from a recent study that found a majority opinion within every racial group in America has grown tired of the ‘Politically Correct’ cultural shifts. The honeymoon has worn off, and evolved into more of a daily hindrance.
How did this happen? It’s pretty easy, actually. Most people make changes to their life because something appeared better on the surface. Human nature is naturally looking for better situations. When one takes any leap into a new scenario, they will innately force themselves to like and live with their choice for some chunk of time. This is how the brain operates. You live and die by the choice you make.
The honeymoon always wears off. This is when one needs to make the more difficult choice. How do they continue with the decision they made? Do they find ways to improve their situation, while sticking with their choice? Do they completely abandon the choice they made and start anew? Do they keep things as they are and hope it improves with time?
#WalkAway shows people became impatient with their choice over time, and now seek something fresh. This happened with ‘Hope and Change,’ and the same thing happening today will happen in due time with #MAGA. People grow and evolve. The movement typically does not. That is when the fission starts.
What does this mean for American politics as we head into midterm elections of 2018, and a Presidential election in 2020. It means the Democratic Party is, and has been on the clock. The Party must come up with a unifying, simple message. Hope & Change. MAGA. These were monumental movements that rocked the political landscapes. The Democrats have to find their new rally cry. Is #Resist or #Impeach45 enough? What about #AbolishICE, #WhereAreTheFamilies, or #NOKavanaugh? The answer is no. Why? It doesn’t have a positive message. They are all negative. You do not win with negativity when it comes to the real message a campaign is presenting the rational American majority.
American voters need a simple, positive message to rally them to the polls. The other problem with the current Democratic platform rests in many rally cries all over. For example, part of the Party wants to vote exclusively on gun reform/anti-violence measures. The other part is completely focused on Impeachment/Collusion/Trump. Others in the Party rally around Immigration, or healthcare issues. There is too much divide within issues facing Democratic voters, today. The other side of the aisle hasn’t been this united since pre-Iraq War during the Bush years, and already has their 2020 message ready – Keep America Great (#KAG).
The Democrats are fighting three battles. First, time. Second, Trump. Third, themselves. They can’t control the first, the second isn’t going away, and the third is what needs to settled. The Party will need to come up with a unifying, positive message or they run risks of continual losses in elections. Internal polling shows they do best when they speak to healthcare reforms, however, based on their external campaigns, it seems most in the Party have bucked this suggestion. We’ll see if this comes back to haunt them within fifteen days.