What can we do to make it all right?
ICYMI, the Democratic Party has been doing some navel-gazing and just released its collection of belly-button lint for public inspection. After their embarrassing losses in the 2014 mid-terms, they finally realized they must be doing something wrong. One task force and an embarrassingly thin seven pages (9! Count the covers!) later, we discover this finding, for example:
“It is strongly believed that the Democratic Party is loosely understood as a long list of policy statements and not as people with a common set of core values (fairness, equality, opportunity). This lack of cohesive narrative impedes the party’s ability to develop and maintain a lifelong dialogue and partnership with voters.”
See, this is part of their problem, right here. They’re seen as lacking a “common set of core values” so what they clearly need is an improved message, not a common set of core values. Oh, sure, there’s the lip service to fairness, equality, and opportunity, but without an eye on the context. Under Democratic Party leadership we’ve seen the advance of the surveillance state, the continuation of the prison-industrial complex, and the perpetuation of the Wall Street monolith that nearly crushed us in 2008. Clearly, fighting for a set of genuine principles to repair the damage done by their oligarch-fellating “long list of policy statements” isn’t an option, so they’ll need superior messaging. But to whom?
“In order to win elections, the Democratic Party must reclaim voters that we’ve lost including white Southern voters, excite key constituencies such as African American women and Latinas, and mobilize the broadest coalition of voters possible to not only recapture state houses but also Congress.”
I do hope the Dem’s have got a budget big enough for the kind of narrative and messaging experts it will take to craft a bill of goods so sweet tea sugar-coated that it can appeal to both the lost Southern white Jim Crow voters and those key constituencies that clearly just lack excitement for a brand willing to throw Bull Connor’s dogs a few bones. That’s going to be a really tall order, especially when those who hold the purse strings are going to keep having demands of their own.
If this is what we can expect of Dem strategy going forward, I think we can look forward to a really embarrassing couple of years. If only the party would have the dignity to know when it should feel embarrassed.
Maybe some music will help make their case.