Amoja Sumler

Why the Democrats Will Lose in 2020

(still from Michael Moore's documentary Fahrenheit 11/9, converted to b&w)

Amoja Sumler cautions why the Democrats are poised to lose again in 2020 if they don’t correct their current course.


Audience! Audience! Audience! As it stands, the Democratic party hasn’t seemingly identified who it can entice and fundamentally misunderstands the mindset of key demographics they desperately need to take advantage of in the shifting landscape of the American electorate. They want to sell reform to a generation that is already busy imagining a new system and have, by and large, already come to the realization that, even adjusted, this is not the society they imagine.

Said more plainly: a Prius is always gonna feel like a minivan to a person imagining solar panel-powered flying vehicles guided by 5G fully-automated pilots. The liberal mindset only sees the comparative mpg value of that Prius versus the conservatives driving Humvees.

The alt Gen X’ers, the Millennials, and certainly the Gen Z’ers have rejected the conventional thinking, deemed it “safe” and daring instead for the audacious. This is part of what Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is tapping into with her borrowed “Green New Deal” platform.

There is a reason the message of Bernie Sanders inspired huge populations that felt ideologically disinvested in the American political process. It becomes the reason a septuagenarian cisgender senator is no longer viable beyond the basic proponents of the ideology which, while a start, does not dare enough. The paradox of awareness, to wit: if you are as enlightened as your persona suggests, by this time you should be seeking to groom and support a younger, less-privileged person with similar political aims, to help them to the platform you were denied at that age. Instead of assuming the more privileged “it’s my turn” empower your successor.

The establishment Democrats have become Reagan Republicans passing as centrists: much farther to the right than many can consciously stomach. There are staunch left-leaning pockets of highly educated intersectional voters that will never trade neocolonial acceptance just to “be rid of Trump.”

Large populations of voters who will not be interested in a person who was called “top cop;” even if she is aware of who Cardi B is, we know she made her career locking up the people most like Cardi B she came into contact with as a prosecutor.

Large populations who scoff at the inauthenticity of candidates who claim a DNA test told them their mother’s mother’s mother’s mother’s mother’s grandfather once dated a native American woman, while badly sipping a beer she clearly doesn’t drink.


To win in 2020, the party of “reform” will have to become the party of reimagination. Thus far, every candidate offered has been a retread of a soundly-rejected product that does not understand the audience that it needs to be viable.


Voters who see very wealthy Democrats who go out of their way to make it that much more difficult for every American to have access to healthcare, because it would damage their stock portfolio and we are all “capitalists after all.”

Lastly, there are the voters who watched a party go out of their way to not remove a political opponent alleged to have mistreated women, who praises White supremacists, who targets media, and hires people that repeatedly obstruct the rule of law, because impeachment wasn’t politically expedient.

There are significant percentages of voters that want to see our country stop utilizing economic sanctions to starve populations of countries that don’t slavishly adhere to our national dictates, imposed upon their body politic.

The politicians who label themselves as democratic socialists who never have hard words for the despotic trading partners we tolerate in the Middle East who commit egregious acts, but silently condone soft coups in nations that Democrats like Jimmy Carter (perhaps the most unsung Democratic hero still living) have deemed as having electoral systems that are “the best in the world” simply because they nationalized their petrochemicals.

These are voters who understand that the way we are utilizing this system is the root of the problem, not who is utilizing the system.

Democrats could win if they got out of their own way and reversed their 30-something year trend of forcing the left and for once respected the most basic principle of Newtonian physics, “For each and every action there is an equal and opposite reaction” centralist politics cannot seduce voters away from the Nationalist platform of their demagogue opponent. Only an unapologetic correction of course can satisfy the ability to resist, only an authentic politician bold enough to meet the left really where they are can make this a sporting event.

To win in 2020, the party of “reform” will have to become the party of reimagination. Thus far, every candidate offered has been a retread of a soundly-rejected product that does not understand the audience that it needs to be viable.


Amoja Sumler

Amoja Sumler is a nationally celebrated poet and social activist known for fusing the art of the intellectual into the familiar. As "The Mo-Man," he has headlined spoken word festivals such as the Austin International Poetry Festival, the Bridgewater International Poetry Festival, Write NOLA in New Orleans, and Rock the Republic in Texas. A member of both the Arts in Education and Arts on Tour roster for over a decade has seen Amoja serve as a 5-time Poetry Out Loud states finals judge and an artist in residence to Universities and literacy nonprofits across the state of Arkansas. Amoja has also presented at social advocacy conferences like Long Beach Indie Film Pedagogy Conference and Furious Flower as a panelist for The Watering Hole. You may follow his work at or twitter at @momanthepoet.

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