“Promises Kept”

That’s always been a powerful slogan, and it clearly still has power to unite and motivate.

Let’s consider the promises.

The one that’s sort of easy to intuit — and all too easy to focus on, once you intuit it — is, we’re going to keep racism front and center on the agenda.

That’s red meat for the committed few, and it’s proven to be an irresistible distraction for many. But if this proposition is like every other, it’s not the full story.

The underlying promise is, you are not forgotten. “Deplorable” was, of course, an infamously succinct expression of a desire to forget about people until they disappeared; unsurprisingly, a lot of people took that as an existential challenge and have been rewarded with unceasing attention ever since.

If there’s a way back from the brink, it’s going to involve reducing the existential stakes. And that’s going to have to start with making and keeping specific, relevant promises to people who’ve been underserved and ignored for a very long time.

And the fact that you can put an awful lot of people in that category is a testament to the scale of the challenge.