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    The Red Shellacking

    DebraWalker-biggerBy Debra Walker

    I did my best, it wasn’t much

    I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch

    I told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you

    And even though it all went wrong,

    I’ll stand beside the lord of song

    With nothing on my lips but Hallelujah

    -Leonard Cohen RIP

    I am still dumbfounded.

    I’m not certain what the heck happened, other than our folks weren’t out in force where we needed them. And my opinion is that the loss does have a big SEXISM stamped on it. We can spend, and will, hours debating the root cause, but my money remains on the institutional resistance to a woman president of these United States.

    Oh, yes, Bernie brothers and sisters … I know you all are chanting “Bernie would have won.” God love ya; he wouldn’t have. And he didn’t win the primary, so let’s just say many of you may have sat on your butts secretly hoping for a Clinton loss. Democrats don’t win when anyone sits on their butts. I certainly get that there was a large group hanging onto the dream of what Bernie offered. Hopefully Bernie Sanders will work alongside Elizabeth Warren, Barbara Lee, Tim Ryan, Nancy Pelosi and a re-energized DNC under the leadership of Keith Ellison and Howard Dean to review this election and make adjustments necessary to start retaking our country.

    It is pretty clear to everyone that white, working class, rural America is disgusted with party politics. In fact, many are. Trump’s election was a repudiation of both the Republican and Democratic Parties. No third party will ever come forward to “Save the day.” There is not one viable single person who is armed to do that. The results of this election point only to the need for an ongoing national 50+ state effort. (The+ means our territories and Democrats abroad.) We also must form geographic partnerships that will bring the states closer together in identifying issues and finding solutions. The solutions we offer for a path forward for America must resonate jointly with northern Wisconsin and San Francisco, and everywhere in between. We can’t dictate from the coasts and expect that the rest of the country will fall in line.



    I have been saying this often during this campaign, that red states are red because you and I left them. I came from Nebraska. Most of my friends have come from red states. When we leave, the blue comes with us. I am not suggesting that we all move back from where we came, but we should be visiting more often and staying awhile. We need to restore the empathy for our fellow Americans and feel their pain.

    When a coal miner loses a job, it hurts. When a farmer’s crops are flooded in a state with a governor who doesn’t believe in climate change and refuses to take precautions, we need to feel that pain. We are all under the same umbrella, folks.

    In spite of these major losses across our country, there are some bright spots that should give us some hope. This election provided a rallying cry for women everywhere, and I want to focus on some victories because of this. It is past time for electing women to the highest leadership positions, and our San Francisco Democratic Party/HRC efforts did help get victories in a few races across the country.


    Kamala Harris

    Kamala has been elected to serve as a senator from our great State of California. She is filling some big shoes, Barbara Boxer’s, and is going to have to get moving fast with the republican takeover of Washington. There is so much at stake for us locally. Kamala Harris has shown strong leadership as our local DA, our state’s Attorney General, and already put herself on the front lines of the Trump battles. California needs her progressive views and battle-worn experience in standing alongside Dianne Feinstein to challenge each and every move this new administration tries. She is a smart fighter. She is aiming at the White House in more ways than one. Look to her to provide the leadership forward.

    Tammy Duckworth

    One of the huge victories is the defeat of Mark Kirk by Tammy Duckworth in Illinois. Duckworth has served in the House for Illinois. Her history of service in the Veterans Administration, and her work and sacrifice for our country give her a much-needed perspective to solve issues involving our nation’s security and reputation as a world power, and taking care of our veterans. She knows the military; she served and sacrificed. She will be a strong advocate for veterans and for the disabled. She represents a step forward in bringing together the Midwest, East and West Coasts to formulate real solutions for our party and our country.

    Nevada Rocks!

    In Nevada—where I am personally very proud of having led two months’-worth of bus trips and concluding the election there last week—we had victories up and down the ticket: Clinton, Catherine Cortez Masto for Harry Reid’s vacated Senate seat, and two formerly GOP House seats. Democrats also picked up control of both chambers of the Legislature. Just two years earlier, republicans had won all six constitutional offices, three House seats and both Legislative chambers. The work of the Nevada unions alongside our California contingents throughout the state made these victories possible. (I want to note here that our own past Supervisor, Chris Daly, led the effort for the teachers’ union in that state.)

    Two strong, newly-elected leaders from Nevada:

    Catherine Cortez Masto

    Even a gazillion dollars’-worth of Koch brother attacks couldn’t keep this good woman down. As previously mentioned, Cortez Masto emerged as the big Senate winner in Nevada, handily defeating “Trump supporter/non-supporter/supporter” Joe Heck. She stood strong against the attacks, and had an army of campaign volunteers all over the state stumping for her; it paid off. She will stand strong alongside Kamala Harris. Both are brilliant Senators challenging the Trumpishness in Washington. Both have the smarts to identify solutions to pressing problems and to lead.

    Jacky Rosen

    Joining Cortez-Masto in Washington from Nevada, but in the other Chamber, is representative Jacky Rosen in District 3. I had the pleasure of campaigning with her on Election Day and you could feel the victory around her. She is confident, smart and prepared. She can take on the republicans and get us ready for mid-term victories while helping to restore some sanity in advance of 2020. She brings a commonsense presence and joins her Nevada colleague in the House, re-elected Dina Titus in District 1.

    San Francisco

    In California, we elect women. In San Francisco, maybe for the first time ever, the majority of the Board of Supervisors are women, and five of them are women of color.  We now have women supervisors in District 1, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10.  To date we have Katy Tang, London Breed, Jane Kim, Sandra Fewer, Hillary Ronen and Malia Cohen—amazing women all. There is also a too-close-to-call race (at press-time) with Kimberly Alvarenga being a potential 7th woman on the board. Unprecedented! We should be especially proud that there are so many women representing our districts and helping to guide the path of San Francisco, as well as California, through these perilous times.

    Let’s now turn the page, not forgetting this drumming we took, but to start looking at how we must move forward. It isn’t Hillary Clinton; it is us. We need to take our open-minded, big-hearted message to the heartland. And we need to listen. We need to truly embrace equality in all of its forms and to make our party feel like a big tent again.

    “My friends, let us have faith in each other. Let us not grow weary. Let us not lose heart. For there are more seasons to come and there is more work to do.” – Hillary Rodham Clinton, November 9, 2016

    Debra Walker is a Commissioner for the City and County of San Francisco Building Inspection Commission. A past president of the Commission, the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club and the San Francisco Arts Democratic Club, Walker is also an internationally recognized painter and printmaker. For more information: