Today’s Morning Joe had some good advice for Democrats if they want to start winning again, particularly at the House level. They need to stop imposing ideological purity tests on their candidates and nominate candidates who resonate culturally in swing districts.
The good news for Republicans is that there is no sign that Dems will heed that wise counsel. To the contrary, Morning Joe was replete with indications that Dems have forgotten how to win, preferring to go down with their liberal guns a-blazing. Excerpts:
- Joe Scarborough said that he’s been asking Dem leaders appearing on the show if they’d be okay with a pro-life person from areas like Alabama or Kentucky, so long as they were progressive on economic issues. Said Scarborough, “and I keep hearing, No. No it’s not, no it’s not.”
- Liberal New York Times columnist Frank Bruni said “if you look at certain swing districts, [Dems] do not nominate the person who’s most likely to win in the general. They nominate someone who’s a purist from the primary, and then they wind up losing the district.” Without citing the specific district, Bruni gave the example of an upstate New York House election. He might well have had in mind the 19th district race. With an open seat in a competitive district at stake, Dems nominated the far-left, Occupy Wall Street/Bernie backer Zephyr Teachout. She lost handily to Republican John Faso.
- Dems got a double-dose of bad news from representatives of the Gray Lady. NYT reporter Jeremy Peters said “there is no leadership right now. There is such a vacuum. The sclerosis in the Democratic party is so overwhelming and crippling that they do not have a bench. They do not have leaders.
Note: Cokie and Steve Roberts have weighed in along similar lines. In this column, they write that the Dems’ insistence on ideological purity in their candidates “is beyond stupid. It’s suicidal.
FRANK BRUNI: Democrats are bad at being relentlessly practical in the way you need to be. And you see this if you look at certain swing districts. This is going to be a big story, I guarantee you, in 2018. And if you look at certain swing districts, they do not nominate the person who’s most likely to win in the general. They nominate someone who’s a purist from the primary and then they end up losing the district. There’s one in upstate New York that’s a great example. They just don’t know how to be as relentlessly practical, and they need to be if they’re going to regain power.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: And I’ve been asking all Democratic leaders that come on here, will you be okay with a pro-life person if they’re from Alabama, or from Kentucky? And if they’re from Alabama, and they agree with you on economics, is it okay if they’re pro-life?
BRUNI: Take the win, yeah.
JOE: And I keep hearing, no. No it’s not. No it’s not. Harold [Ford, Jr.], you know very well. I mean, Donna Brazile, I remember very well after 2004, wrote an op-ed in the New York Times, she said, when I go home [to Louisiana], they don’t ask about our economics. They keep asking why we’re for abortion. And again, I’m not just talking about that one issue. But it is a cultural issue. It is the cultural issues that have disconnected Democrats from a lot of Middle America.
HAROLD FORD, JR.: In big parts of the country there has to be some allowances and accommodations going forward if we expect to win in big parts of the country where we’ve lost.
. . .
JEREMY PETERS: It’s funny. So yesterday I was talking to a young Democrat who was trying to pick my brain about who he should work for. He was looking at the Iowa caucuses in 2020. And I said, honestly, I have no idea. There is no leadership right now. There is such a vacuum. The scleroris in the Democratic party is so overwhelming and crippling that they do not have a bench. They do not have leaders.
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