I am writing to you to offer you my advice for winning the nomination and the Presidency. While I had hoped that you would have decided to retire from politics and let a new generation challenge Donald Trump, I understand why you chose not to do so. But I am afraid that you are about to commit the same fundamental mistake that Hillary Clinton did and in the end will end up retiring after losing to Donald Trump.
I retired from the U.S. State Department in 2016 after 27 years of service. I grew up in Berkeley went to college at the University of the Pacific and graduated from the University of Washington (MA Korean Studies, MPA). I also served in the Peace Corps in Korea. I have been to 49 out of 50 states (minus Alaska) and 45 countries, including two visits to Jamaica.
My advice, in a nutshell, is to make this a campaign about the future and your vision of the future. Paint your opponent Donald Trump as yesterday’s candidate, and mock him, calling on Grandpa Trump to retire to Florida and play golf. Depict him as senile, out of touch, and focused on returning America to the 19th Century. And call for progressive bold new ideas for the future of America. Be optimistic, be full of hope and good will.
Hillary’s biggest mistake was in my view making it all about how bad Donald Trump is, and not giving the voters a real sense of where she wanted to take the country. And in an age where the voters were ready for a big change to the status quo, being the establishment candidate was the kiss of death. Not to mention she refused to compete everywhere. And allowed Donald Trump to paint her as “crooked Hillary” and as too much part of the establishment which the public rightly destructed so much. She could have picked Bernie Sanders as her running mate, and perhaps defeated Donald Trump. In the end she won where it did not matter and did not compete where she should have competed.
So, in this upcoming election you have to tell the voters why you are so much better for them and the country than Donald Trump. It will not be enough to run against the Donald. People have to want to vote for you. Your experience counts for a lot but it is not enough. Your age is the same as Donald’s so that is a wash.
GO BOLD OR BE RETIRED
The times cries out for bold progressive challenges and for fresh thinking. You have two strikes against you. First, your age and your experience. Can’t do anything about either but you can run as a can do moderate progressive who knows how to get things done. Then resist the temptation to campaign against Donald. Make people want to vote for you as they share your vision of the possible future.
Here are my suggested policy proposals.
GO BOLD OR GO HOME!!!!
I would put forth a series of comprehensive bold future-oriented policies and reiterate them every chance you get. You could call them Joe’s Plan for the Future of America, or something along those lines. Maybe
“Let’s Boldly Go into the Future,”
But be big, bold, brassy, optimistic and challenge your opponents to produce a better plan or shut up and work with you to solve the nation’s problems.
Call for Free College Education Coupled with National Service Requirements.
Call for all Americans to serve three years in public service either in the military or in the government or NGO sector and in return, they will get four years of college paid for. For recent grads, they can serve and get their college debt forgiven. To those who say we can’t afford this, say we can’t afford to continue to put our college students in crippling debt they cannot afford. And everyone, especially the rich, should shoulder the burden of national service.
Call for The Green New Deal
Point out time and time again China, Germany, and other countries are building the green energy resources of the future while the U.S. which invented green energy is moving back to the 19th century.
When critics say we can’t afford this, tell them we can’t afford to ruin the world for our children’s future. We can’t afford to continue burning fossil fuels. Climate change is real and the U.S. must lead the way forward. That is what great nations do, lead the world in embracing change, in embracing the promise of the future. We can do no less.
Call to Fix Obama Care
Point out time and time again that we still have a broken down too expensive too burdensome a health care system. Point out time and time again that we have the most expensive system in the world yet we are about 25th in terms of health care outcomes. No one in this land should fear going bankrupt if they need to get medical care. We can do this right and we must do it right.
I would acknowledge that Obama Care is not prefect and that if you had a chance to re-do it you would make it much less bureaucratic and less burdensome. But be proud of what you and Obama accomplished. Promise to fix it and make it work.
One potential fix would be to open the Federal Health Care system to anyone who needs insurance and continue to provide subsidies to keep the premiums down.
Another option would be an expansion of Medicare so it covers about half the country.
When Republicans proclaim that they will repeal Obamacare and replace it with something, call them on their bullshit. Demand to know the plan now or tell them to shut up and work with you to fix Obamacare.
Call to repair our alliances
Declare that our allies are our allies and our friends and we will work with them to solve the world’s problems and restore American leadership. We will rejoin the Paris Climate Change and work to make sure it works. We will rejoin the Trans Pacific Partnership.
Offer a New Deal to North Korea
We will continue to negotiate with the North Koreans, offering them a way towards reunification with South Korea and rejoining the world economic community. You can damn the President here with faint praise. Say that it was good that he took the initiative to break the log jam and talk to the North but due to his inexperience and his naivety he was unable to make a deal. You can finish the job.
Offer to Talk with The Iranians
Tell the Iranians we are ready to talk with them and want a new deal that would benefit them and the U.S. along the lines of what we are offering the North Koreans.
Bring the Troops Home
I would call for most U.S. troops to return to the U.S., where they will be reposted along our borders and serve as adjunct border patrol agents and first responders as part of their mandatory new national service.
I would gradually reduce military spending and devote resources to rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure. This must include high-speed trains, and must include perhaps hyperloop technology or Maglev trains? And the next generation of airplanes as well. We must rebuild our mass transit systems. We must embrace the development of driverless vehicles.
Challenge the Republicans on their “you are weakening national security” BS. When the Republican scream you are weakening national security call them out on their BS.
Ask them how repositioning troops to help deal with national security issues at home weakens national security? How does going to universal military service weaken national security? How does getting out of endless wars weaken national security? How does closing a few bases in Europe weaken national security? Or closing a golf course? Or a commissary? Point out that we already spend more on national security than any other nation on earth. How does rebuilding America’s failed infrastructure weaken national security? Challenge them to produce a better plan.
Call for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Start by acknowledging we need to improve security at the border but the wall is a waste of time and money that will not solve the problem. We need a comprehensive 21st century immigration policy that balances the need for continued immigration with the need to ensure that immigrants contribute to our country and enrich our country as they always have and always will.
Challenge the Republicans to come up a better plan and work with you to implement it.
Call for A Return to Space Including Lunar Colonies and Martian Colonies
It is time for the U.S. to lead the world again in space exploration. Offer to lead the way in building lunar and Martian colonies with the participation of the world’s other space powers.
Call for The Legalization of Marijuana, Emptying the Prisons of Marijuana Offenders
End the endless war on drugs. Repeal marijuana prohibition. Empty the prisons of marijuana offenders. End the private prison for profit system. End the prison pipeline that sweeps up brown and black youths and sucks them into prison for life. Reserve prisons for the most dangerous offenders, all other prisoners should be sentenced to community service, drug treatment or other non-prison sentences. Use the money saved by closing prisons for rebuilding infrastructure.
I like your gun control proposals. It is a step forward. Continue to push for universal background checks.
Fully Support LGBT rights
Fully Support the religious freedom of all Americans including non-believers
Call for a Return to traditional American civil norms that Trump has so badly damaged
For VP Pick a Hispanic woman
I think that you get my point by now. Be bold, inventive, optimistic, full of hope and energy and you will prevail. Make people share your bold vision. Be cautious, small-minded, narrowly focused, and all about how bad the Donald is, you will lose.
GO BOLD OR be forced to retire and go home.
Jake Cosmos Aller