Democrats 2018/2020: ‘We Work’


Ooh, ooh. An interview with ‘progressive’ Democratic leader Ron Klain on CNN. An interview I can dissect. Some good stuff. Some rubbish.

The interview links to the op-eds written by Democratic activists Ron Klain and Mark Penn earlier this week. And their contributions in the debate about the future of the Democratic Party. Ron offering the progressive viewpoint, and Mark the centrist.

If you’ve been vacationing on the moon since the Presidential election of 2016, you won’t know that I believe there is at least one further possibility, what I call Democratic Populism.

Anyways. To Ron’s interview. Point-by-point. Good start. Good headline. We need to reach Democratic voters through their gut, not just their head.

Oh dear. Continuing denial. The Russians won the election in 2016. Hillary didn’t lose it. Oh well. Put that down to loyalty.

Talk to working people. Yes. Explain the benefits of Democratic policy. Um. Good-ish. I still don’t see listening to working folk as a first step. Hmm.

We seem always to want to jump right in, and sell them the same old policies. Just louder. Sigh.

Look. It is a fact of life (in my opinion) that, in the short term (2018 and 2020), in order to win nationally (at least), Democrats are going to have to win over at least some swing Trump supporters.

That means finding out what it is that we can offer them, that does not cause us completely to lose our soul, and to run out of the room screaming.

I know that scares some Democrats. But we do not address the fact usefully with continuing denial. And by putting our fingers in our ears whenever faced with a working person who wants to say something.

Ok. Gets better. Using the right metrics to attack Trump. In the above third link, I say that your average working person is potentially finding Trump attractive because he’s ‘sticking it to Washington.’

We can’t fight that. Pretty much all national Democratic candidates either work in Washington, or are perceived as being on their way there (cf. ‘yay, a fellow Georgetown Hoya!’).

But we as Democrats can ask those who tentatively voted for Trump in 2016 (‘gee, he runs a successful business; maybe he can run a successful country?’). We can hit them with a few hard performance stats.

In my above third link, I say those metrics should be: did he give you the job he promised you; is your healthcare premium cheaper; and is your cost of living or doing business improved? At last, I’m hearing a Democratic leader talking in the same terms. Well. Sort of. It’s a start.

And then we get to examples of specific policies that I believe are still not going to appeal to the gut of ordinary working Americans.

Ron quite rightly states: “I think if we have done anything wrong, it is in having an agenda that is often too wonky, too complex, and doesn’t connect.”

Absolutely. And then he goes on to present a ‘new’ approach that still smacks of wonky and out-of-touch. ‘Four years of public education after high school should be free and universal, just like high school is today.’

Ron, the sons and daughters of many, many ordinary working Americans just do not want four years of public education after high school. And their parents see no reason why they should be paying taxes to support those who have more money than them.

And Ron? You’d know this if you actually spoke to a few hundred real working folk.

The good news? At least some Democratic leaders know we need to change. The bad news? Selling the same policies louder is not a new approach. Selling wonk, but with a different name, is not going to work, either.

As for a bumper sticker? One of the most famous UK election posters was one used successfully by the British Conservative Party in 1979 (pic attached). It worked because of all the different levels. I think something similar in 2018 and 2020 could work for the Democrats:

‘Democrats: We Work.’

(Facebook comments here.)

Published in: on July 9, 2017 at 8:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

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