Similarly, Republicans and conservatives have gained incredible power Federal government, in state governments, city councils and school boards due to the hard work by conservative activists which began in the 1960s and 70s. They systematically became involved in every election and every local issue. They attended local party meetings, state party meetings, helped choose candidates, voted in primaries, became active on issues from the hyper-local to the international.
They also compromised within the party and were willing to settle for slow, incremental change. Their first big success began with Ronald Reagan but Reagan didn’t give them everything they wanted, nor did Bush Sr. or Bush Jr. Regardless, they kept showing up. If there were inter-party disputes they fought it out in the primaries but showed up like clockwork for the nominee, as long as there was an R next to the candidates name.
The Democrats have been much worse at that kind of dedication, discipline, compromise and on the ground work. A large part of the Democratic coalition shows up for presidential elections every 4 years if and only if they approve of the candidate and that’s about the extent of their involvement with the party.
Beyond that many of them belong to movements, they might attend protests, sign online petitions, share articles they like and talk to friends who agree with them about their issues. They are not however in the room when the Democratic party is making policy.
They are not in the room at local Democratic party meetings arguing with people who they don’t like about why the party should change (and showing up next time anyway, even if they don’t get their way.) They are not at city council meetings, school board meetings and don’t regularly show up for local or statewide elections.
As a result, the Democratic party is in worse shape than you think and is unlikely to retake the House or Representatives or the Senate in 2018. (See this summary of the situation at Vox.) Additionally, many people who fear Trump and his supporters have little protection at the state or local level (where most real power resides) because conservatives control those levels of government as well.
There is little doubt that the (broad) left has better numbers than the Republicans. Their focus on mostly white, mostly older, mostly rural voters leaves them with a small and diminishing demographic. In total, Donald Trump received the support of slightly over one-quarter of eligible voters. He received fewer votes than Mitt Romney or John McCain and fewer than Hillary Clinton but if people don’t show up, the Democrats lose. In 2016 almost half of eligible voters didn't show up.
So, if you want to stop Trump, if you want to have your issues heard and have a voice in who leads the party and which candidates run for office then show up. Grab some friends and go to the next meeting of your local party, pay your dues and become a member. Get involved in primaries, in local elections, in state elections, in local issues and keep coming back for and showing up for decades because conservatives have a big head start.
On the other hand if you just want to send in online petitions and vote for president every four years, that's fine but don’t be surprised if you aren’t the center of attention or if your issues aren't considered important.
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