The midterm election campaigns have started. You might have missed it if, like me, you unsubscribed from the Begging Machines; blocked the robocalls; refused those few pleas that are still sent by mail.

The first quarterly report is in, and it’s dismal. The Democrats have no message for these times. They have announced no plan, no agenda, no defining vision. They slog from year to year with the same beloved bromides but no strategy. They could have been the party of Take Back Our Country, but they missed out on that one. Their platform reflects the views of a majority of voters, but they aren’t clever enough to beat the Republicans at the Game.

What they need first is a vision that sweeps into it the disaffected voters whose departure cost the 2016 elections. It doesn’t have to be novel, only compelling. Spoiler alert: it has to be more centrist. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama got elected on mainstream platforms. Much as one might see the virtue of revolution, revolutionaries don’t win elections here – although Bernie Sanders might have pulled it off against Trump.

The second issue is the messenger. When the most popular figure in the Democratic Party isn’t a regular member – a socialist septuagenarian- the problem is readily apparent. There is a scarcity of electable candidates. ┬áThe current aberration aside, the path to political success hasn’t changed. Hard work, a solid, affirmative vision and a little charisma, and they have a chance to catch fire.

America is a global power still, wrestling like other developed nations with the challenges of industrial turnover, technology and scarcity. It’s a time for creativity aimed at broader communal goals. We’ve been through this before. We can get through it again.