The Democratic Party’s hope for revival in the Age of Trump depends on aging baby boomers giving up their power so millennials can take over.
Make that “first globalists.” Not “millennials.”
Howard Dean, a doctor and a politician by trade, offered that prescription Wednesday night during two gatherings with Yale student Democrats.
“I don’t think the struggle is a left versus right struggle anymore. It’s a young versus old struggle,” he told 10 undergraduate members of the Yale College Democrats who won a lottery to pick his strategic brain in a private session before he spoke publicly before three dozen students in WIlliam Harkness Hall.
Dean, who’s 68, recently followed his own advice. He entered, then dropped out of, the race for Democratic National Committee chairman, the post he previously held. “After I thought about it,” he said in an interview, “I thought to myself, ‘If you want these young people to believe in the party again, then you’ve got to have somebody their age, not my age.’”
He urged Yale students to run for alder or state representative or other public offices, especially in red or purple states. Democrats need to run for office everywhere, not just where they have a majority of voters, he argued.
Dean, a former Vermont governor, pursued a similar strategy when he presided over the Democratic National Committee (DNC) from 2005 to 2009. He called it the “50-state strategy.” He groomed candidates and supported them with party dollars in all 50 states. That strategy laid the groundwork for Democrat Barack Obama to win the 2008 presidential election with majorities in states that often vote Republican.
In 2004, Dean was the first major presidential candidate to use the internet to excite the “netroots,” web-savvy idealistic young people otherwise disconnected from political institutions. Though he didn’t win the party’s nomination, his strategy endured, and was mastered by the Obama campaign.
So Dean had bonafides on which to preach Wednesday night.
“It’s time that our generation went to the sidelines and coached younger people to get into the institutions,” he argued. “Young people don’t care about institutions. They don’t like them.
“Now they’ve realized because of the election of Trump they have to to get involved in institutional politics. We should learn from them as well as they learn from us. There are too many of us who are in our sixties and seventies. If you want a party that works, your leadership has to look like the people they need.”
During a question and answer period, one student plugged the DNC chair bid of South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who’s 34. Dean didn’t say he’s necessarily backing Buttigieg. (Before the talk he did say Buttigieg is one of his two final choices.) But Dean used the student’s support as an example of how young people can harness their potential power: He suggested they bombard DNC members with emails promoting Buttigieg’s candidacy.
Dean noted that the millennials — or as he dubbed them, “first globalists,” 20-somethings who embrace diversity, tolerance, women’s rights, global interaction, economic justice, evidence-based decision-making — have supported the past three Democratic presidential candidates in bigger numbers than any other age group. But because the generation tends to avoid established institutions, he said, its members have hesitated to join the Democratic Party itself and assume leadership.
The two major-party presidential candidates in the 2016 campaign were 69 and 70 years old; the favorite of Democratic millennials was in his mid-70s. In Connecticut, several leading Democrats in their 60s are considering gubernatorial runs.
If the Democratic Party hopes to thrive and survive, the 20 and 30 somethings need to start filling those and other top spots, Dean argued (without, when specifically asked, taking a stand on the Connecticut governor’s race).
He spent much of the evening telling students about their generation, then urging them to step up.
“Your generation is much less ideological,” Dean informed them. “Your generation is more respectful than we were. You care about the facts…. You care about metrics…. You don’t like institutions….. You are very committed social activists…. You are incredibly polite with others.”
Which is great — but it’s also important to “have to be willing to challenge others. You don’t have to be mean,” Dean told the lottery-winning small group of students in the initial roundtable discussion. He urged them to make a point of discussing “white privilege” and other difficult topics with people who disagree with them.
In response to a student question, he agreed Connecticut should join the emerging compact of states pledging their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote in presidential elections. He called the electoral college outdated. He endorsed “ranked choice voting” — which communities in Maine and his home state of Vermont have adopted — as a way to make campaigns more civil and convince people that their vote makes a difference. (Read more about that here.)
Dean also argued against confirming Trump’s nominee for the vacant U.S. Supreme Court seat, Neil Gorsuch. Click on the above video for a conversation about that.
I’ve been a genuine democrat all my life. I loved Dean in 2004. Dean was robbed that year… and it looks like he wanted to do a sick version of paying it forward. Did anyone ask what else Howard does to fill his time these days? Did any of the contest winners put Howard in touch with their dad? I let my iPhone read this article to me, and it sounded like Donald Trump’s Black History Month remarks. That’s how far the democrats have strayed from lefty millennials.
Dean has always failed to acknowledge that his shrewd political acumen was a driving force in the undermining of Bernie Sanders (a man older than he but a pop star among millennials).
Dean should be humble and smart enough to know that Bernie galvanized millennials for his party and had the incredible energy of the people. Gaining energy like a rolling snowball. Positive energy of diverse peoples. Were you at the New Haven Bernie Rally? It was like Ray Charles 2001.
Howard Dean could have convinced the 700 superdelegates to accept that Bernie had the momentum and the miracle ingredients to beat the most monstrous candidate In recent memory.
Dean could have acknowledged that, whether justified or not,Hillary and Bill were spoiled and corrupted. Hillary may have been the right person, but her candidacy came at the wrong time (again).
Dean and the democratic establishment were MORE AFRAID OF BERNIE THAN TRUMP.
That should really tell you something about the national democrat party.
So, millennials should indeed take Howard Dean’s advice… and when they’re Howard’s age, working as a corporate lobbyist for pharmaceutical firms, they should remember to withhold their urges to sabatoge an honest and progressive candidate from Vermont.
Bernie would have won.
Thanks to Howard Dean and the corrupt DNC, we have President Trump.
posted by: Patricia Kane on February 2, 2017 7:49am
Dean is the one who is out of touch. He early on signed up as a Hillary supporter and we all know how that worked out. His brother Jim Dean, who lives in CT, worked with the progressives in the Democratic Party to support Bernie Sanders. Very early on it was apparent that Sanders and Trump resonated with those who felt left behind. But as Bernie said all along, the system is rigged and the Dems worked from within to fix the outcome. Dean is typical of the Dems who still don’t get it. It was about the “haves” versus the “have nots”. He’s a “have”.
posted by: Anderson Scooper on February 2, 2017 11:37am
You look very, very old.
Why don’t you hang it up, go back to Vermont, and find the soul you’ve lost along the way?
Oh, what’s that? You like the D.C. cocktail circuit too much? Don’t want to give up peddling your influence for the Dentons’ lobbying firm?
Fwiw, I donated 28 times to your Presidential campaign, went to Iowa and New Hampshire trying to get you elected. But now I hardly recognize you. The last time I saw you was in New Hampshire, were you seemed to relish your role as Hillary’s lap/attack dog.
What happened to speaking truth to power? Now you are just an outdated cliche.
posted by: vpaul on February 2, 2017 3:35pm
Howard promised us that ObamaCare would have a single-payer option, which was as big a lie as the rest of President O’s promises. He was never rewarded by the Obama Administration, which tells a lot about his current savvy.
We desperately need young people to get involved on the REPUBLICAN side and straighten out that national mess. Goldwater is dead and gone, and was behind the times even when he was in his prime.
posted by: vpaul on February 2, 2017 3:44pm
Yes, Spark - Dean was robbed thanks to the same media conspiracy that tried to sandbag Trump. By yelling, Dean was labeled “in-Presidential,” yet they gave Cheney a pass when as President of the Senate he swore at Vermont Democratic Senator Leahy (“F—- you!”).
The national journalists are not investigative reporters but stenographers and propagandists serving their corporate masters (as Ralph Nader used to say). Thank heavens we have a Paul Bass to tell it like it is.
posted by: wendy1 on February 2, 2017 4:22pm
I agree with the above comments and personally believe most Boomers are bad news and should be purged from DC starting with Dean. SP, you are right, the dems are as bad as the pubs. And right now old f*****s have all the $$ and all the land. The young have nothing.
posted by: SparkJames on February 2, 2017 4:34pm
Vpaul, I think my second-glass-of-wine Bernie rant speaks for itself. Contorting it into some sort of sympathy for Trump, or warmongering Republicans, is nonsense. We were pro peace during Bush 2, Pro-peace during Obama (not Pantsuit Nation of course, but real progressives held Obama to a high standard to which he fell short), and we are still pro-peace today. And we’re going to need it.
posted by: THREEFIFTHS on February 2, 2017 5:23pm
What young people need to learn is that the The donkey and the elephant symbols of the two dominant political parties are tied at the hip We need to untie the donkey and the elephant and put them on a raft and send both out to sea.Both parties are the same and are no good.The Republicans do the bank job.The Democratics drive the getaway car.The Republicans are riding you right now from behind.The Democratics are waiting for a reach around.
posted by: SparkJames on February 2, 2017 12:02am Bernie would have won.
Stop drinking the Bernie Kool-Aid.He was a sheep dog for the Democratics.
Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders: Sheepdogging for Hillary and the Democrats in 2016
Vermont senator and ostensible socialist Bernie Sanders is playing the sheepdog candidate for Hillary Clinton this year. Bernie’s job is to warm up the crowd for Hillary, herding activist energies and the disaffected left back into the Democratic fold one more time. Bernie aims to tie up activist energies and resources till the summer of 2016 when the only remaining choice will be the usual lesser of two evils.
I will say it again.We need the system of Proportional representation.
posted by: Brutus2011 on February 3, 2017 2:53am
I am more Libertarian than anything else in that I am a fiscal conservative and a social liberal.
This election was excruciating because the white nationalists joined with the evangelicals and won.
I could only watch as Gary Johnson displayed his ignorance of basic facts (for a candidate). Weld would have been a much more attractive front runner.
Now we have Trumkkkp as POTUS.
Astonishing con man but then he’s from the City!
posted by: Kevin McCarthy on February 3, 2017 8:00am
FWIW, bills have been filed this session to have Connecticut join the national popular vote compact and adopt ranked choice voting. The Government Administration and Elections Committee has already voted to hear the former.
posted by: vpaul on February 3, 2017 9:19am
Spark, where were your peace advocates when the Obama Administration Valkyries (Clinton, Rice and Power) were creating all these Middle East wars? Does Hillary’s chuckling comment, “We came, we saw, he died” ring a bell? War-mongering Republicans? Where was Howard Dean?
posted by: SparkJames on February 3, 2017 11:10am
Three-Fifths, If true, how did that work out for the democrats? They knew Hillary was unacceptable to anyone who wasn’t an Ivy league, upper middle class, faux democrat.
VPaul, There were many of us yelling at the top of our lungs about Clinton and Obama continuing wars and starting new wars. This is a big reason why Hillary was unacceptable.
Just recently, a Trump Airstrike took out the eleven year old sister of a 16 year old Obama air strike victim. Both were American citizens.
posted by: the1king on February 3, 2017 4:16pm
It was so bad that night. I was driving home and I was stopped by the protestors they burnt down Dunkin Donuts there was cars on fire. Innocent people going to the event were getting pepper sprayed. Why can’t a guy speak. oh sorry that was a dream. Conservatives actually don’t mind if the other side speaks. We don’t burn down places or beat up people. If Yale would actually allow a Hannity or somebody like that come watch what would happen. Libs need to allow people to speak, they make themselves look like animals when they act destroy and beat up people. You can protest but do it peacefully.
posted by: OhHum on February 3, 2017 4:28pm
Wendy1 How do you suppose the Boomers got all the money and all the land. Did someone give it to them? (no) Did they work their butts off? (yes) Do they deserve what they have? (yes) . If the Boomers are really smart, and I believe they are, they will leave it all to some Republican organization that will spend it wisely. Giving it to Demobrats would be throwing it into the rabbit hole, sans the fur. If the young have nothing it’s due to not having earned anything. Try working it’s rewarding.
posted by: vpaul on February 3, 2017 7:42pm
OK, Spark. Peace. I accept your points. The only comment I felt unacceptable was about creating sympathy for Trump. The media has a corporate agenda and that was obvious re Howard Dean’s candidacy, as well as Donald Trump’s. It was disgusting in 2004 and was disgusting in 2016.
So, how do we achieve peace? I believe that JFK had the right idea, that the space program would be, in terms of William James, the “moral equivalent of war.” It would channel energy, creativity, science and technology, and keep the economy booming. Where did we go wrong? Our Congresspersons do nothing in that regard except lobby for more military contracts for our State. No longer does anyone mention “peacetime conversion” of our industries.
posted by: Bill Saunders on February 3, 2017 10:53pm
Before I even read this article or comments I thought of you Leaning Dean twelve years ago.
Glad to see that you are still here and still at it…......