Article by Chris Weigant, The Huffington Post
Nancy Pelosi just got re-elected to lead the House Democrats, but almost a third of them voted for a much younger representative who urged the party to shift focus in a major way. Hillary Clinton underperformed among minorities and young people, which contributed in a big way towards her loss in the presidential election. And Barack Obama, in a Rolling Stone “exit interview“ just revived one of the major Democratic problems he ran against, by saying: “The point is that politics in a big, diverse country like this requires us to move the ball forward not in one long Hail Mary to the end zone, but to, you know, systemically make progress.” This, from a man who ran on: “Yes we can!’ as a campaign slogan.
Democrats are, obviously, in a phase of attempting to rediscover what their party stands for — and how strongly they will stand for anything, as well. So far, the results are mixed, at best. Which leads me to (once again) suggest a rather obvious issue that would help Democrats with all of these problems: start supporting marijuana legalization in a big way. The time has come. It’s time to stop timidly “leading from behind.”
Right now, marijuana legalization is almost completely a non-partisan issue — because most politicians (on both sides of the aisle) are scared of even addressing it in any meaningful way. What this means is that either party could champion it now, leaving the other party desperately trying to turn the clock backwards. To put this another way, if Democrats fail to act, Republicans might just steal the issue away from them — which would give young voters an actual reason to vote for them. Think this is impossible? Imagine Donald Trump deciding one day to just let the states handle it — and then imagine how the Republican Party would fall in line with his new thinking. It could indeed happen, in other words.
President Obama was actually talking about marijuana legalization in that quote, above. He had a lot to say on the issue, most of which was pretty disappointing. When the interviewer tried to compare the legalization issue with how Obama pushed the idea of gay marriage “right over the edge,” Obama flatly disagreed, saying:
“I don’t think that’s how it works. If you will recall, what happened was, first, very systematically, I changed laws around hospital visitation for people who were same-sex partners. I then assigned the Pentagon to do a study on getting rid of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which then got the buy-in of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and we were then able to [repeal] “don’t ask, don’t tell.” We then filed a brief on Proposition 8 out in California. And then, after a lot of groundwork was laid, then I took a position.”