Marathon on the whole Democratic Party doldrum thingie: 3 recommended pieces

    So I saw Maureen Dowd's piece published Saturday zooming up the "Trending" chart @, by evening it was at #1. So I read it, it's good:

    Donald Skunks the Democrats

    Four participation trophies later, the Democrats finally take a look in the mirror. Even they aren’t sure who’s staring back.

    (I know Maureen's snark has become tiresome to a lot of people, including me sometimes, but I think in this case she is bringing all of her past experience as a boots-on-the-campaign-bus reporter to bear, it's a good one.)

    So in it she quotes from a discussion with Rahm Emmanuel, and mentions that along with Bruce Reed, he wrote a "new piece in The Atlantic" on topic. So I went to find that, published June 20, and also found it a worthwhile read:

    How the Democrats Can Take Back Congress

    Two architects of their party's last congressional victory argue Democrats need to recruit candidates who match their districts and offer voters a detailed agenda.

    And then I noticed another new piece at The Atlantic by Franklin Foer for their July/August issue, and I also read the whole long thing and I do recommend it:

    What’s Wrong With the Democrats?

    If the party cares about winning, it needs to learn how to appeal to the white working class

    So I'm all Demmed out. If anyone wants to discuss, feel free, but I've had enough, don't expect me to chime in. cheeky


    It needs to appeal. Full stop. 

    It needs to do a more professional job of presenting its existing positions.  Which would appeal to sufficient

    Anumber of voters in the white working class, the black working class, all other color working class,  the white middle class, the black middle class the all other color middle class, the white upper class take my point.

    It's policies don't need to be tailored to any particular group, they need to be better presented.

    Were any lives saved by Obamacare? If so, any guess at how many? Were  any lives prevented from

    falling into deep unhappiness by Obamacare? Do you remember some examples?

    We didn't do an atrocious job of presenting the wonderful benefits of Obamacare. We didn''t do any job at all.

    The democratic party has a great story to tell . It doesn't need to change the "story" i.e. ,it needs to

    tell it. And.....

    Too often those who counsel  "changing its appeal " mean changing its policies. And too often  mean

    that that change should be to oppose some group which isn't sufficiently OK.  Guess what nearly everyone has some "deplorable "  belief or role.  It would be great if they didn't but meanwhile we want their vote. 

    To support the very good stuff we do right now,



    "Far-right Republicans..have their eyes on Mr. Heller.......a group preparing a seven- figure ad campaign

    against the senator" NYT June 25.

    Which will be effective. 


    We keep avoiding the elephant in the room regarding the current white voting public

    Clinton never met her crucial challenge: to both celebrate multiculturalism and also cushion the backlash against the celebration.

    The above is from the last link provided in the post. There is a backlash against programs that are seen as benefiting non-white people. White voters will respond to Republicans who suggest that money is being stolen from whites to benefit non-white people. Pointing out that race plays a role in voting patterns of white voters gets you labeled as calling all whites racists.

    Well thank you for making me read Dowd after an eight year hiatus. I can happily report I didn't need to gouge my eyes out. 

    this bit 

    Ryan says Democrats need to stop microtargeting. “They talked to a black person about voting rights, a brown person about immigration, a gay about gay rights, a woman about choice and on and on, slicing up the electorate,” he said. “But they forgot that first and foremost, people have to pay their mortgages and get affordable health care.”

    sounds right to me.

    My main takeaways after having time to let it all sink in:

    National message is neither here nor there until you get back Congress in order to reverse some of the gerrymandering. First things first: the swing districts are fewer and fewer as time goes by, as the (planned) polarization grows, they grow in importance. You've got to target them with candidates that fit the district! You can't win those with gobs of outsider money or making it a national message race, the people in the district have to like the candidate, it's just that simple. You can't get Congress in order to start reversing things without doing that first. Reed and Emmanuel know how to do this, their methods apply more than ever:

    But Democrats don’t just need to choose the right battles, they also need to choose credible candidates who can win them. Candidate quality may not make the difference in a place like Montana’s at-large district, where Greg Gianforte won handily just hours after assaulting a reporter. Winning hotly contested swing seats, however, requires candidates who closely match their districts—even if they don’t perfectly align with the national party’s activist base. In 2006, the Democratic base was energized and angry, but then as now, capturing a majority required winning some tough races in red and purple states across the heartland. As leaders in that 2006 effort, we recruited a football player in North Carolina, a businessman in Florida, an Iraq veteran in Pennsylvania, and a sheriff in Indiana. The Democratic Party won twice as many seats as it needed to gain control.

    There’s a long-term payoff for a party that gets this right. Good candidates not only help build a wave, they help sustain it

    This is reiterated by yet another NYTimes guest op-ed on topic yesterday, a local guy about the Ossoff race is trying to point out you can't expect a secular Jew to win in a district with Bible Belt heritage. The Times has incorrectly given it a headline that suggests it's a national problem for the Dems, it's not, it's just about that district:

    The Democrats’ Religion Problem


    Carrollton, Ga. — Jon Ossoff’s defeat in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District election on Tuesday wasn’t just a sign that Democrats may have a harder time winning in the Trump era than they had hoped. It is a symptom of a larger problem for the party — a generational and racial divide between a largely secular group of young, white party activists and an older electorate that is more religious and more socially conservative.

    Put simply, outside of a few progressive districts, secular-minded young activists in the party are unable to win voters’ trust.

    Mr. Ossoff, 30, represented this new wing of the party. He said almost nothing about his religious beliefs or the way in which his Jewish upbringing affected his political views — probably because, like many white, college-educated Democratic activists of his generation, religion didn’t shape his political beliefs.

    Mr. Ossoff’s secularism would have surprised many American liberals of the 1950s and 1960s, who looked to the moral inspiration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, both of whom saw a religious imperative for social justice [....]

    But again, I do also have the takeaway that national message is not the problem. This is countering Dowd's point of "they don't know what they stand for."  Because: reverse gerrymandering and it's not a problem!

    Look, even with a huge number of white men despising her, Hillary won a majority of the national electorate, so national party message is not the immediate problem. It's on target with the national electorate. It's just that one has to deal with some identity groups that are dying away before that can get to work.

    Obama knew how to get around this problem some and he won twice. He still energized a new coalition without upsetting as many older white men in enough districts. That's pointed out well in one of the articles, I don't remember which. Some might call that misogyny, I wouldn't, I just think it was her particular baggage, a different woman might have enough appeal just like Obama. And with all her disadvantages, Hillary would have won if only she would have spent a little more effort targeting the right districts. But she would have had a pretty heavy duty road to hoe with all those GOP guys in Congress and all the baggage constantly distracting. The distraction level would be quite near with it is now! Trump would be out there feeding it with tweets. Hillary winning the presidency without Congress would have not solved much at all.

    DEMS SIMPLY HAVE TO WIN MORE SEATS IN CONGRESS FIRST.  And they have to do it by running the right candidates in the swing districts. In one, it might be a moderate, in another it might be a Bernie Sanders type, in another, a cultural conservative. I don't think race matters so much here, rather, it's the whole package. (For an extreme example, see Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee, from wikipedia: He was re-elected in November 2006, 2010, and 2014, and is currently serving his fourth full term.[1] Although registered and elected as a Democrat in a heavily Democratic county, many of Clarke's political views align with those of conservative Republicans.[2][3] Clarke frequently appears as a guest on Fox News and was a speaker at the 2016 Republican National Convention)

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