Hey, #DNC — Middle-Aged White Men are Never Taking You to Prom!

We all grew up with the same teen movie: someone is obsessed with someone who’s out of their league richer, hotter, more popular — and completely ignores the amazing best friend who everyone else can see is their perfect mate. We want to say, “Pay attention to your goofy, funny, loyal sidekick!” If they would do that, they’d all be happier. Especially the sidekick. And the main character. And all of their friends. Everyone, in fact, except maybe the out-of-reach object of affection, who already has the whole world revolving around them anyway, so is losing out on this one relationship really going to matter?

Whatever generation, we all watched some version of this movie.
Which means we all know what the best outcome is.
We know what the right choices are.

We no longer have to let the movie play all the way out because we have finally learned the lesson. We don’t have to go through this all over again.

So now, we’re watching the movie play out once again on an even grander scale, and we want to scream:

“Hey, Democratic National Committee — Middle-aged White Men are never taking you to Prom!”

That’s right, DNC. You’ve become so blindly focused on winning over this “special guy” that you’re missing everyone else. Stop chasing them and start planning a future with the friend who has always been by your side, propping you up, wing-manning you this whole time. It’s not cute anymore. Your tragic pursuit is getting out of control.

Every middle-aged white man (MAWM) who is ever going to vote for you is already voting for you. The ones who are not voting for you today are likely never going to vote for you. So how about turning around and showering some affection on the loyal best friends who do want to go to prom with you? Who have always been by your side? Who even help you try to get the MAWMs, although you never properly thank them for it?

You only win an election two ways — you get people to leave their house to vote for you, or you get people to leave their house to vote against your opponent. That’s it.

This works whether the vote is dropped in the mail or tapped on a screen or inked onto a ballot. It still requires action to cast a vote, and the default is simply not casting one. Ignoring the potential voters who truly want to be there with you might put them in default mode. No action. No vote.

So start giving us something to leave their house to vote FOR!

More specifically, start giving the people that this party has been taking for granted for the past 28 years a reason to leave their house to vote for you.

If you inspired every potential black voter, every potential Latinx voter, every potential LGBT voter, every woman, union member, college student, person under the age of 30 (who would be far better off with your leadership than with the other guy) to simply leave the house to vote — you would win in a landslide.

And it would not matter at all that those undecided MAWMs did not vote for you. Let go of that obsession with winning them over. You have to sacrifice too much in that pursuit and the payoff isn’t worth it. The rest of us are here, waiting to be valued and treated like we matter to you, and once that happens, we will be the ones who show up with the corsage and the limo. It’s time to give sidekicks the kind of pursuit that ensures a night we’ll all remember forever. Pick us. Not them.

The desperate attempt to make MAWMs okay with voting Democratic was what put Tim Kaine on the ticket in 2016, instead of Julian Castro, Cory Booker or Elizabeth Warren. None of us were excited about Tim Kaine, who reminded everyone of their boring middle school principal, and the fact that he spoke Spanish made him somehow even less interesting, but by God, he sure was a MAWM, wasn’t he? So he should have won all of them over, right?

One of the biggest mistakes the Democratic party made in 2016 was underestimating how many people were leaving their house to vote against our candidate. We have that advantage this time — so many people will leave their house, stand in line, in the rain, on broken glass, during a pandemic to vote against the current occupier of the White House. But the MAWMs who are planning to do that have already started lining up, and the ones who aren’t never will. Never ever ever.

It is now our candidate and the party’s job to motivate and energize and convince Everyone Else that leaving the house to vote for them is worth it.

Here are some of the issues you can start talking about, and promises you should be making, to inspire everyone who is not an on-the-fence MAWM to leave the house and vote for you:

· Climate change policies that expand both our environmental health and the economy (guess what — these exist!)

· Everyone’s right to adequate, affordable healthcare, childcare and higher education (not that it’s all going to be free, but that it will be accessible)

· Meaningful gun control

· Freedom of choice for all women (not just rich, white ones who already have it)

· Training, counseling, monitoring and consequences to diminish discriminatory police brutality

· Housing policies to prevent people from having to sleep on the streets in one of the wealthiest countries the world has ever known

· Immigration reform that balances the needs of our economy with basic human decency

· A return to integrity in the Executive Branch

· Restoring respect for science, education, voting rights and the rule of law throughout our government

These things matter to the voters you’ve been ignoring all this time in pursuit of those who don’t like you, take the most effort and give you the least in return.

Stop telling any group of people to vote for you simply because of skin color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, income, education or any other identity marker. More importantly (much more importantly), stop assuming anyone will leave their house to vote for you because of any of those.

Look at every potential voter in this country. Look at that one cohort you and your opponents keep chasing. Leave them behind and look at who will benefit from your leadership. Look at the voters who just need to be shown your love and appreciation and they will charge into battle for you.

Stop going after the date you have to beg to like you.
The one you think is better than the one who already likes you.

Prom is a lot better with a date who wants to be there with you.
And it’s easier to get that date to say yes.

We know how the movie gets to a happy ending.
With the main character and the quirky, loyal, perfectly-matched buddy who has been there all along riding off into the sunrise together.

Let’s skip all the time wasted on the wrong choice.
Because Middle-aged white men are never taking you to prom.
But the rest of us would really, really love to.

Keynote Speaker. Author. Formerly a tech CEO, VP Biz Dev, IPO lawyer, i-banker and horse wrangler. Writes Christmas movies for Hallmark. SpeakHappiness.com

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