Howard Dean on Dems’ Future: “My Generation… We Ought to Get The Hell Out of the Way”

Howard Dean

Democrats across the country took a beating in November, and now Republicans control every branch of the federal government. How do Democrats recover after Donald Trump’s stunning victory, and can they turn a vigorous opposition movement into a lasting — and winning — coalition?

WDET producer Jake Neher recently spoke with former Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean during a visit to Michigan.

We know a lot about politics in my generation, but we ought to get the hell out of the way,” says Dean.

We need to find a way… that turns the organizations over to people who are under 35 years old,” he says. “This young generation is pro immigrant, they’re pro choice, they’re pro women’s rights, they’re pro gay rights. This is not the Republican Party,” and he says we need to empower and engage them accordingly.  

Detroit Today Host Stephen Henderson continues the conversation with a couple of Michigan Democrats — state Sen. David Knezek (D-Dearborn Heights) and Maxine Berman, a former Democratic state representative from Metro Detroit.

So what will turn things around for Democrats? Knezek says “our problem as Democrats is when we get the gavel… we’re not as bold as some of these Republicans are… We need to keep talking to that [Democratic] base and fire up that base… We need to be bold and we need to keep pushing those progressive values.”

We have always been a party of disparate groups who come together for a common good,” says Berman. “There has to be some kind of… meeting of minds maybe to talk about the critical importance of ideology… the total inability to put that ideology into effect if you do not win.”  

To hear the full conversation on Detroit Today, click on the audio player above. 

Laura Weber Davis/WDET

State Sen. David Knezek (left) with former state Rep. Maxine Berman (right)


Image credit: Howard Dean

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