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Opinion: It's time for Democrats to go big

August 14, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

As delegates prepare for their convention, CNN Opinion asked 10 contributors from across the Democratic spectrum to weigh in on their visions for the future of the party.

(CNN)After a long and hard fought primary season, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have emerged as the Democratic Party's nominees for president and vice president.

As delegates prepare for their convention, CNN Opinion asked 10 contributors from across the Democratic spectrum to weigh in on their visions for the future of the party.

At a time when Democrats plan to nominate a 77-year-old white moderate to be our party standard-bearer, the future of the party is clearly younger, more progressive and more colorful than ever before.

After decades of cautious incrementalism, established incumbents in safe Democratic congressional districts who failed to keep up with the new vision of the party have begun to tumble.

And for loyal Democrats like myself -- who have been patiently waiting for real change for decades -- it's finally time for the party to deliver.

The Democratic Party should look and govern like the majority it represents.

The new Democratic Party has no greater mandate than the restoration of small 'd' democracy.

But we shouldn't just govern like a majority -- we should govern like the specific majority that the Democratic Party is.

However, white men are not the majority of the Democratic Party.

The Democratic Party is comprised of young people (and politically speaking "young" can apply to anyone under 40), a growing number of white women, men of color and, most reliably, the women of color who are still the least represented in government.

As Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley, a freshman member of Congress, says, "The people closest to the pain need to be the people closest to the power. " The Democratic Party is increasingly made up of people who have struggled to live the American dream, only to have those dreams frustrated and stymied altogether.

I had always believed that the Democratic Party existed to improve the lives of working-class people like them, and I was disheartened to discover they felt differently.

But their reaction reflects the sentiment of too many Americans who do not think that the Democratic Party speaks to or cares about them.

The Democratic Party needs new solutions.

The future of the Democratic Party depends on making the case to these voters that we care about them, too.

Universal basic income -- a guaranteed, unconditional recurring payment for every American -- is our future, and one that the Democratic Party should embrace and champion.

Every time there is a change in leadership in the last 30 years, Republicans have trashed the economy, and Democrats have had to clean it up.

Though his signature political skill is his ability to divide, President Donald Trump has ironically emerged as the single most unifying force in Democratic politics.

Pundits talk a lot about the Democratic Party's ascendant progressive wing, which has pulled so many of the party's policies in the direction of the needs of poor and working people.

As the Republican Party under Trump has rejected climate science and globalization, Never Trump Republicans like Kristol and Will have struggled to find a political home.

People want the Democratic Party to go bigger -- and to offer a bold vision that matches this historic moment.

To win not just this year, but in the decades to come, the Democratic Party must be the party of fundamental change, not incremental change.

That's why I believe that the future of the Democratic Party is, in many ways, a return to its past: We need to embrace the ambition of the New Deal in the 1930s, which established Social Security and the minimum wage, and the Great Society in the 1960s, which gave us Medicare and Medicaid.

Many of the party's current leaders are overwhelmingly older, Whiter, wealthier and more conservative than the party's base -- but a new generation of leaders who are younger, browner and more progressive are already transforming the Democratic Party and calling for solutions that are as big as the problems we face.

The reality is that those who make up the base of the Democratic Party need real answers.

Demographically, the future of the Democratic Party lies with the diverse, rising generations.

The greatest political metamorphosis in American history was the Democratic Party's 180-degree turn on race.

Democrats went from being the party of George Wallace to the party of Barack Obama.

In my 37 years in and around Democratic politics, I have never seen anything quite like it.

Paul Begala, a Democratic strategist and CNN political commentator, was a political consultant for Bill Clinton's presidential campaign in 1992 and served as a counselor to Clinton in the White House.

What if the way to solve the division within the Democratic Party -- the perceived disagreements between the progressives and the moderates, that is -- was actually to reject that oversimplified breakdown to begin with?

The longtime supporters of Democratic nominee Joe Biden don't actually oppose all progressive ideas.

The narrative about party division may make for a good headline, but it repeats a mistake Democrats have made in the past -- failing to understand how most people who are not in Washington, the media or professional punditry think.

First, let's stop making the assumption that just because something hasn't happened yet means that everyone involved with the Democratic Party before 2016 is against it.

For example, there are older White male members of the Democratic Party, not just Sanders, who were talking about climate change decades ago.

I particularly want the Democratic Party to deliver sweeping policy changes to address racial equity.

It's going to take backbone from leaders at all levels in the Democratic Party to push forward aggressively and boldly.

Let's hope the Democratic Party of tomorrow realizes that prioritizing issues of racial equity will not only deliver for our party's most loyal voters but also heal the soul of our nation.

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