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On a recent Friday afternoon at headquarters, I was taking part in a little get-together with our HQ volunteers when a tall gentlemen stopped in. He introduced himself as a Democrat and a physician who was willing to give the Pima County Democratic Party a $500 donation if I would listen to him for five minutes. 

“DONE!” I said, as we walked into Cat’s office.

The gentleman had seen Democratic presidential candidates joking on television about Trump and his incompetence. This, he said, will lose us the election. If we are to convince anyone who voted for Trump in 2016 to vote for a Democrat in 2020, we have to be more respectful, he said. He was right.

We will never win over some people who voted for Trump, including nationalists, white supremacists, NRA pawns, and Obama “birther” conspiracists. We share no values with them, we don’t need them, and we don’t want them. But some folks who voted for Trump regret having done so. They bought what a grifter was selling, and they don’t want to be reminded that they were naïve – or worse. With the right messages, we can convince these folks to vote for a Democrat.

What will win them over? Issues. How about, “The national debt has ballooned under this president to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy.” Or, “The trade war with China is putting farmers into bankruptcy.” 

For those with a military background or loved ones in the service, you might say, “The administration plundered military budgets to pay for the wall – and our soldiers are paying the price.” 

A large majority of Americans favor giving legal status to Dreamers, yet there is still no policy to address this. Why not? 

And of course, there is the middle class. We need to stop measuring how well the economy is doing by how the richest people are faring and understand that the middle class hasn’t seen real wage increases in 40 years. 

You get the idea. You don’t even have to mention the guy by name; just stick with the issues. There are plenty of them.

It’s tempting to talk about the POTUS’s malfeasance and downright criminal activities, about his family, about his hair, but keep that discussion between you and your like-minded friends.  If we are going to change any minds, we have to get out there among folks with whom we don’t usually interact. And when we do that, as tempting as it is to bad-mouth the guy (there’s just SO MUCH) it won’t help. Listen to them and stick to policy, facts and statistics.

Recently, I heard that 82% of Republicans who voted for Trump will do so again. That sounds bad. But look at the bright side: It means that 18% won’t! That’s huge. 

It was an honor for me to attend the opening of the State Legislature on January 13 with my own representative, Randy Friese (LD9). I reminded myself that that body will look VERY DIFFERENT next year, because a Democrat will be sitting in the Speaker’s chair. In the meantime, we have a lot of work to do. The good news: it’s totally achievable. The governor’s address was not nearly as conciliatory as last year’s. He and his fellow Republicans know they don’t have a lot of time to push through their agendas. 

PCDP, our LD committees, and our wonderful PCs, are working on getting independent voters to register as Democrats for the Presidential Preference Election (PPE) on March 17. Voters must update their registration to Democrat by February 18 in order to vote in the PPE. Why are we spending our energy on this? Because abundant empirical evidence shows that folks who vote in a primary are far more likely to vote for that party in the general election. It’s so easy to change party affiliation. Just go to ServiceArizona.com. Tell your independent friends.

Finally: IMPEACHMENT. What is there to say?  There will be books written on this, and scholars will study it for the next 100 years. I don’t have any inside knowledge of the subject, but I know that even though Trump was not removed from office, it aired a lot of dirty laundry that will hurt him in November. He will try to stick to the GOP playbook: Lie. Obfuscate. Name-call. Repeat. His Twitter account makes it pretty clear, though. He is running scared. The jig is up.  

Alison Jones with Rep. Randy Friese (LD9) and JP Martin at opening day of State Leg. Session
Alison Jones with Rep. Randy Friese (LD9) and JP Martin at opening day of State Leg. Session