Jason Kander is Missouri’s Secretary of State and was a Democratic nominee for Senate in 2016.
Jason Kander, Huffington Post - In the past four years, I’ve run statewide in Missouri twice. I won once and lost once, always substantially outperforming the top of the Democratic ticket by wide margins in a pretty red state. When I lost in November, I received 225,000 more votes than our presidential ticket and held the incumbent to under 50 percent. I was able to do that because I made an argument for progressive ideas rather than apologizing for the letter next to my name on the ballot or running a conservative campaign.
I told audiences that black lives matter in Ferguson, but I did the same in rural areas. I stood up for an increase in the minimum wage no matter whether I was at a union hall or a local chamber of commerce. In each case, I’ve been unafraid to tell voters why lifting up people they don’t know lifts them up too. They may not all agree with me every time, but they know I mean it and they know I care about everyone, including them.
I whole-heartedly believe that progressive policies are best for the entire country. I whole-heartedly believe that having a Democrat in the White House is better for the lives of every single American no matter their wealth, their geography, their race or their religion. And, essentially, that’s the argument I made in my campaign. And I darn near won with that strategy in a red state that Donald Trump carried by 19 percent.
As Democrats consider the way forward as a party out of power, my humble suggestion is this: Let’s start by being unafraid to make our argument to everyone. I’m not interested in conceding a single voter to the Republicans. Let’s never again focus on getting enough voters to win. Let’s get back to trying to win every single vote. My experience as a progressive in a red state has taught me this: Voters will forgive you for disagreeing with them on something so long as they know you are genuine in your belief and that they are included in your vision for the country. Democrats need to get back to doing that again.