2016, y’all

Remind me not to visit Texas again the day after an election. Talk about painful—Greg Abbott billboards everywhere and my birth mother gleeful for the way her new governor “stomped all over that little Wendy Davis’ behind.”


Back home in California, however, it's clear how important it is to occasionally step out of one's political comfort zone. Abbott won the Lone Star State's highest office by appealing to conservatives who worried more about jobs, gun rights and immigration than a woman's right to birth control or a safe abortion. While Davis raised more than $30 million and also pledged to improve the state's economy and educational system, she also should have expanded and strengthened her platform.

Now, it's time to get serious. Republicans won the senate majority, the first GOP primary debate is already on the books (September 16,2015—mark your calendars) and speculation over potential candidates is already in full heat: Jeb Bush? Rand Paul? Chris Christie? Rick Perry, again?

One thing's certain, if Democrats want to keep the White House, they must focus. Even as the GOP held fast to its conservative core, the left stumbled, floundered, bickered and ultimately just drifted off-message.

The Affordable Care Act. Gun control. Gay marriage. Marijuana legalization. Reproductive rights. Immigration reform that guarantees crucial civil rights and allows a clear path to citizenship. Livable wages, long-term jobs, marked income growth, and affordable housing and higher education. The ever-widening gap between the very rich and the rest of us.

These are the issues that matter—especially to the young, diverse voters expected to turn out at the polls on November 8, 2016.

Get it together, y'all.