Trouble in paradise
About a week ago, Professor Jacobson blogged about the crappy new Democratic party slogan: “A Better Deal: Better Skills, Better Jobs, Better Wages”.
“The lesson Democrats appear to have learned from losing to Donald Trump is that they need to move further to the left,” he blogged.
Whether it’s genuine dislike of the silly new messaging or the copious amounts of criticism it received, one thing’s for sure — incumbent Democrats aren’t thrilled with the prospect of spending the next year and a half talking about “A Better Deal.”
But not every incumbent wants to be associated with the party’s message. And many of the party’s influential constituent groups and moneyed organizations are busy pursuing their own messaging and branding initiatives and remain in the early stages of their own investigations into what went wrong in November. Some — including the Democratic National Committee and individual state party committees — are busy preparing their own, independent lines of messaging.
“There are some really useful and interesting big-picture thoughts in the plans released [last week]. But candidates have to make that their own in their state — we’re telling them to tell their own story,” Democratic Governors Association executive director Elisabeth Pearson said of her instructions to the party’s gubernatorial candidates running in 2017 and 2018 — when 38 governors’ mansions will be up for grabs. “We’re counseling people to put forth their own focused economic agenda about how they would move their state forward.”
It’s led to a schism between those who insist the party will succeed in 2018 only if its candidates run on a centralized agenda, and those who point to recent wave elections like the GOP’s 2010 victory and Democrats’ 2006 romp as evidence that mere antipathy toward the party in power, rather than a memorable message, can be effective.
Democrats seem to understand that unifying around something is better than running with nothing but anti-White House messaging, but there’s no consensus about what that something should be.
Centrist Democrats are thrilled that economic messaging is getting airtime on the left, but others are concerned leaving social issues on the backburner could be seen as alienating the progressive wing-nuts.
“We’re not going to all have the same concerns and have the same fixes,” said Manchin, who was consulted in advance on the rural broadband proposal included in the national agenda and otherwise praised Schumer’s attempts at creating an inclusive message.
“So if there’s going to be a big tent,” he added, party leaders should understand that in red states, “we have problems too.”
Other red-state Senate Democrats expressed similarly cautious support for the party’s new messaging.
“We need new ideas, and I appreciate the opportunity to have ongoing discussions about the overall agenda,” North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp said.
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