Source: Washington Post
With Breanne Deppisch
THE BIG IDEA:
BALTIMORE Every leading contender to take over the Democratic National Committee believes Hillary Clinton focused too much on attacking Donald Trump at the expense of articulating an affirmative case for holding the White House. During their final showdown before the chairmans election in Atlanta on Feb. 25, there was consensus that the partys problems derive mainly from subpar organization and communication not anything fundamental.
We forgot to talk to people, said Tom Perez, who was secretary of labor until last month and a finalist to be Clintons running mate last summer. Im a big believer in data analytics, but data analytics cannot supplant good old fashioned door knocking. We didnt communicate our values to people. When Donald Trump says, Im going to bring the coal jobs back, we know thats a lie. But people understand that he feels their pain. And our response was: Vote for us because hes crazy. Ill stipulate to that, but thats not a message.
Buttigiegs goal is to be the second choice for as many Perez and Ellison supporters as possible. But his diagnosis of what went wrong in 2016 sounds a lot like Perezs. We spent so much time talking about the politicians, like thats what really matters, he said. I was guilty of it. I had a button when we were campaigning for Hillary that said Im with her. It was all about her. Then when we realized who the opponent was going to be, it was all about him. We said, Im against him because he is terrible. He is terrible. But the people at home were saying, Who is talking to me? Who is talking about me? Everything we talk about has to be explained in terms of how it directly touches peoples actual lives.
While many of you know that Im openly gay, many of you dont know that I come from the lowest of the white working class, he[Ray Buckley] added later. We ran hundreds of millions of dollars of commercials telling the voters that, Oh, our opponent if offensive. When youre worried about your damn paycheck, about your job, about where youre going to live and if your kids are going to go to school, you dont really give a crap if the president is insulting. The reality is we didnt have a positive message for anyone Im related to. We didnt offer a message to my neighbors. We didnt offer a message to the people in Indiana or Ohio or Pennsylvania or Kentucky.
Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2017/02/13/daily-202-dnc-chair-candidates-say-clinton-lost-because-she-talked-too-much-about-trump/58a1023ee9b69b1406c75cac/?utm_term=.37f0144bb3d4
This is an expansion of the story in
which only discusses one DNC candidate, Buckley. They probably should be merged.
The author in this article discusses how all the DNC chair candidates have made the same point about the last election and how the Democrats need to take back power by promoting traditional Democratic values over everything else.
In the classic Twilight Zone, "To Serve Man," an eponymous book provided by generous aliens who had gifted mankind new technology to prevent illness, etc, when translated is actually a cookbook.
Similarly to most people "Draining the Swamp" meant removing corporate leaders, old style politicians, corruption, and bureaucrats from power. But in reality, Trump meant removing from government Democrats and non-partisan bureaucrats/experts/scientists, especially those with moral fiber as can be evidenced by the recent firings of the ICE director and Attorney General. Draining the Swamp is really a euphemism for removing Trump opponents from power.
at transforming his agenda into reality. The thing is that many of his changes are destructive and will be irreversible. It's much more difficult to construct new legislation than it is to take it apart: the ACA comes to mind as well as Trump selling off public lands, or removing federal funding from PBS. Once they are gone, it will be difficult to recreate them, because legislation that creates something new usually requires 60 votes in the Senate-- the great wall of Trump being the exception that proves the rule.
beyond his obvious unpresidential qualities was the rubber stamping of the conservative agenda the GOP had planned-- especially against the safety net-- Medicare etc. The GOP had made very clear what they were planning. So few ads really emphasized this idea (some did), even though elected Democrats knew what could come if Trump won. Even Democratic Senate and House candidates probably did not publicize this enough as perhaps the key reason to reduce rather than add to GOP power. But the public, outside of politically active partisans, basically had very little idea what was coming-- and now they are in for a surprise.
could have possibly won the election, albeit only in the electoral college. According to Polifact he only tells the truth about 15% of the time. He ran a divisive campaign and still won. He should have lost in a rout of the magnitude of Goldwater, Mondale or McGovern. Instead he won by 74 electoral votes (not counting the defections). The only good thing is that he did not have any coat tails, beyond preventing Democrats from taking the Senate and a few more seats in the House.
Yet this is the reality. He is the President and the GOP controls the House, the Senate and about 2/3 of the state houses and governorships in the USA. They also are about to control the Supreme Court. Many people have bought into the conservative agenda that freedom from government taxes, regulations and "interference" that the GOP is not going to be eclipsed anytime soon. Social safety nets and the principles of the New Deal have been demonized by the GOP for years. In 2009 DUers were babbling about a progressive majority. Many articles have been written even this year about demographic changes favoring Democrats and yet the Democratic Party is in retreat except on the West coast and Northeast. And now the country and the world will pay a heavy price.
So what are they practical next steps? What are the priorities? What really needs to get them accomplished? How to fight the power of the rich bent on manipulating the uniformed with misinformation, especially given Citizens United is not going to be struck down by a conservative Supreme court.
Three years before this election, it appeared that Hillary Clinton would be the strongest Democratic candidate for President and the Democratic Party had an excellent chance to win the Senate, and gain back some of the lost state governorships and roughly 1000 legislative seats across the country that had been lost since 2010. The House was probably not winnable due to gerrymandering after the 2010 election. It was clear that demographically the Democratic Party was in the process of gaining electoral strength in the Southwest, and would have at least a national popular vote advantage, as well as a blue firewall across the Midwest in the electoral college.
So what happened? The GOP and its rich backers had a plan. Really a continuation of the plans they've had since the election of President Obama. They had blocked and then denigrated everything President Obama tried to do or did since he was elected, stirring their base with a barrage of misinformation via Fox, the internet and talk radio.
Then they identified Hillary Clinton as the key target early, and began attacking her through congressional investigations in 2013, complimented by their media and sympathizers to destroy her favorability and trustworthiness polling through slander and innuendo. And it worked. By mid 2015, they brought her favorability below 50% from over 60% in 2012, and below 40% by mid 2016, thanks to the FBI investigation, which they lucked out on, since it appeared to corroborate all of the nonsense they had brought to bear--- even though no charges were brought, the damage was done. What they hadn't counted on is that the GOP would nominate someone with even lower favorables. so Hillary was still leading in the polls throughout the whole cycle and went on to win the popular vote by 2%. It was Comey's last minute machinations which stole just enough momentum to swing the election.
What about the rest of the Democratic Party? It has been on the decline since 2010. Why? 1) organizational-- GOP and especially it's billionaire influenced organizations had a plan to take over local governments across the country with coordinated support, in order to gerrymander elections for a decade or more. See http://www.democraticunderground.com/1016164776 2) ideology--By means of their very powerful mass media and internet presence, the shadow of Reagan and the idea of government as evil has been growing even stronger and the idea of government serving the common good that has powered the Democratic Party since FDR has been steadily weakening. 3) attack ads and slander--Citizen's United gave even more power to those who know how to win by slandering their opponents. Examples, Strickland in Ohio and Feingold in WI were defeated after polling ahead of their opponents until the attack ads began. The ads began early on Strickland and he was basically out of the running by midsummer. The ads ran late against Feingold, who had a 10% lead as late as October 1, before being branded as part of the political "establishment" by a series of misleading ads. Given that most voters (maybe 60%) are relatively uninformed these tactics work well. 4) Weakening the top of the ticket. By weakening the top of the Democratic ticket, the GOP destroyed any coat tail effect that could have thrown a monkey wrench into their plans.
The GOP retained the Senate, only losing a few Senate and House seats and generally did better than expected.
So what can be done?
1) Match or exceed the GOP in local and state political organization.
2) Ideology. Need to strengthen communicating the message that the government can be an agent of hope and change, that is making our lives better economically and socially
3) Media and slanderous ads. Either need to reciprocate, or find a way to neutralize the power of the GOP smear machines
The wild card in any plans is Trump, whose effect is as unpredictable as he is himself
Often that is what people remember and associate with the candidate. I couldn't remember McCain's or Romney's-- at first thought did they even have one, but I found them online. But which of these themes sounds most compelling? And why? How much of a role do slogans play? I think for President Obama and Trump... alot. And that it made a difference in their respective elections.
Ask Mike Dukakis and his "running mate" Willie Horton, Al Gore "the inventor of the internet", or "swiftboated" John Kerry. Each was unfairly painted by the opposition. But Hillary Clinton faced far worse, because she actually faced the power of political witch hunting in Congress.
One lesson to never forget is that negative painting works very well indeed. Hillary Clinton's trust rating were destroyed by the GOP investigations and then by Comey and FBI investigations. Take a look at the graphic by mid 2015 she was in deep trouble.
(this graphic is from July)
Her trust rating was even lower (about 36%) when Comey struck two weeks before the election. The only reason she was leading the polls, was because Trump, a historically awful candidate, had an even lower trust rating. But then there was very little that could be done about Comey, he threw the election to Trump.
ps---I personally know of people who usually vote Democratic, who left their ballot blank for President and who could not be convinced to vote for Clinton. Very sad.
If Democrats want to begin to take back the country from GOP control (Republicans control 67 of 98 partisan state legislative chambers, the Presidency, the Senate, the House, and soon the Supreme Court), it's time to begin outreach to potential Democratic voters.
What strategies will be in play? Incoming Senate Minority Leader Schumer appears to favor a progressive/populist approach judging by his support of Hon. Keith Ellison for DNC Chair and Bernie Sanders as chair of the Senate Steering and Outreach committee. His choice of Sanders seems obvious given the excitement generated by his 2016 campaign among young and disaffected voters. That is a beginning, but there needs to be more. The Democratic Party's most thoughtful and motivational politicians and advocates need to work now to set in motion the political change necessary to deny Trump and the GOP the decimation of the federal government that they so desire. It's already clear that the GOP will be able to neuter or destroy the ACA using budget reconciliation, and probably can use similar reconciliation against any government agency or program they dislike. As should be obvious, it's always more difficulty to destroy than to build, so the damage will be long-lasting. The ACA required a super majority in the Senate to pass, and who knows when that will next happen.
So what next? There is another Democratic politician who has outstanding outreach skills: Barack Obama. I sincerely hope he can be convinced to join the battle. Please join with me in writing to President Obama to help create a comprehensive plan for the future of Democratic Party politics and then participate in the critical outreach through personal appearances. I for one can't wait to see President Obama and Senator Sanders together on the campaign trail for change.
To better understand what happened, it would be very interesting to compare Clinton versus Trump with a hypothetical Obama versus Trump election. In this way, we can compare factors, Obama does not face sexism, but more directly faces racism. Obama would be considered the candidate of the status quo, not change. Obama did face years of negative painting by the GOP, like Clinton, but was not under FBI investigation or Russian/Wikileak attack, etc. You can assume Sanders ran in the primary as well if you like.
For all these factors I personally believe that President Obama had he been allowed to run constitutionally, he would have won in an electoral college landslide. So please vote and provide your reasoning and how it impacts our understanding of the 2016 election in the electoral college.
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