Board member Robert Gary introduced David Houle, by quoting Spanish educator Miguel de Unamuno who said, “We should try to be the parents of our future rather than the offspring of our past.” Known as The CEO’s Futurist, our speaker has spoken to or advised 4,000+ CEOs and business owners in the past eleven years, and has published several books including Entering the Shift Age and The New Health Age.
Given our unease with the Trump Administration, our uncertainty as to who should lead our party going into the 2020 election, and the issues that we should emphasize, Houle’s presentation, “A Look at the Future of the Democratic Party Through the 2020 Election and Beyond” was eagerly anticipated by an overflow crowd.
“I am a Democrat, I grew up in Chicago with a love of politics and early-on was smitten with John F. Kennedy.” Houle became a futurist in 2007 after a successful 20-year career in the media and entertainment, working at NBC, CBS, MTV, Nickelodeon, and CNN Headline News.
He predicted that the Democratic Party on a national level is set-up to be dominant through 2028 provided that we do not become preoccupied with the past including the 2018 elections. The Republican Party is focused on the past and obstructionism. Democrats must convince the public that their leaders can deal with enormous challenges that lay ahead.
Forecasting who our Presidential candidate will be at this point is a “fools errand”. Who would have predicted, for example, well before the 2008 convention, that Senator Barack Obama, a black man, with little experience, and with a Muslim name, would be the 2008 candidate for the Democrats?
The Democratic Party should stay away from attacking Donald Trump, which Houle referred to as “small ball.” He quoted Wayne Gretzky who, when asked why he was the greatest hockey player in history answered: “I skate to where the puck is going to be.”
We need to rethink what it means to be Progressive. Democrats should focus on the issues that will be critical in 2020, 2022 and 2024. To do this we must be analytical, disciplined and prepared to take risks. For example, despite our preoccupation with a growing aging population, the youth vote is critical. By 2020 millennials will be a large part of the electorate, and thus demographics favor the Democrats if we can get the youth vote to the polls. Houle told us that the 18-34 age-group voter turnout was very high in those states where marijuana legalization was on the ballot.
Our global economy is fragile and will continue to be so going into the next election and beyond. There is $270 trillion in debt in the global economy, which is larger than it was in 2008, before the last major recession. The voting public is and will continue to be very sensitive to economic issues. Voters will be looking for a candidate who they trust to turn around a recession, should one occur.
The Democratic Party does not have a clear position on immigration, a huge challenge worldwide. A position based on “We are a nation of immigrants” is not sufficient. By 2025 immigration will be much greater than it is today, stimulated by world climate problems, population growth and conflicts between nations. Houle asked, “How would we deal with five to ten million climate change refugees?” Climate change refugees from Syria have already flocked into North America and Europe. As the numbers of immigrants grow, will we continue to be a nation open to immigrants? We must have immigration laws that reflect this future reality. The development of these laws will not be easy and voters are likely to be very divided on the solutions.
So, which of our candidates is prepared to deal with the global economy, geopolitical challenges, health care, climate change and the myriad of problems facing our nation and the world over the next decade? Who is prepared to take on the international "bad dudes" such as exist in China, Iran, North Korea and Russia? Democrats should be the party to begin the discussion of 21st century thought. The Republicans are not prepared to do this.
Going forward, the Democrats must be The Vision Party.
Information about Futurist David Houle