OK Democrats, it is time to see whether anyone would ever want you back in power again. Notice I used the term “want” (not “prefer”) you to the other guy. There is a difference and it is about time to start understanding that rather than run on a platform of “we are not as bad as they are,” it is time to actually talk to people about ideas and ways this country can stand for what most Americans want.

I know that the consultant class that has dominated the Democratic Party preaches war not peace. They talk about TV ads and major expenditures by whichever group of boogymen is presently in fashion. It might be the Koch brothers or the coal industry. Could be the “fat cats” who “only care about cutting taxes” and “really don’t care what happens to their fellow citizens” like Democrats do. So, you have to be just as awful as the other side or else you’re suckers. That certainly worked well for Hillary and the Senate Democrats in 2016, don’t you think?

Let me propose another approach.

First, the good news. The impact of TV ads is diminishing rapidly. There are so many other ways to communicate that are so much cheaper and more effective that the monetary spend doesn’t need to be as great as it once was. I know the conventional wisdom is that the reason people use negative ads is because they work. When there is no effort to create a positive, thoughtful message, of course they work. But it is time to try something else. Ideas actually can matter.

How about a healthcare plan that might actually cut the cost of healthcare and fix broken parts of Obamacare? What about a tax code overhaul that first focuses on eliminating outmoded deductions, actually lowering rates and not worrying about it being revenue neutral? Make it fair and phase out any deduction that has not created what was promised when it was created.

Now I know this is not easy and even among members of their own party, Democrats themselves don’t agree with one another. But do Democrats really believe that hosting an open and vigorous debate wouldn’t make things a little easier to accomplish? Let me even say that a good number of Republicans would like it and who knows, they might even jump into the conversation instead of dismissing it as meaningless. Hard as it may be to believe, members of both parties really want to make life better for Americans.

Democrats, you need to rediscover your sense of community and the best time to try it is when you have nothing to lose. I fear that there will be calls for the 2018 elections to be a referendum on impeachment and, if that happens, we will all be worse off. I really believe in the American people. Similarly, Democrats (and Republicans, too, but this piece is aimed at Democrats) claim to have the same faith that I do. So, if you do, tell the consultants to go home; take your ideas to the marketplace and do something other than claim you are not as bad as the other side. Who knows, if you do, someone may actually want you back in power.