Saturday, July 08, 2017

"I mean, have you seen the other guys?"

Shades of "We're not perfect, but they're nuts".

Again, gonna be as kind as I can about it.

Yes, national Democrats, I have seen the other guys. But being "not the other guys" isn't enough to wrest control of Washington away from them.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee became a bit of an internet laughingstock on Wednesday due to the circulation of some stickers with prospective 2018 midterm election slogans. One of them read "Democrats 2018: I mean, have you seen the other guys?" The "hey, we're not them!" message didn't go over super-well with plenty of pundits and tweeters, who noted that it packs a whole lot less punch and has a lot less loft than something like "Yes, we can."

Sure, it may have been only a silly sticker, not a party manifesto. But that someone over at DCCC headquarters felt secure enough to promote such a slogan publicly is also emblematic of a party that still hasn't figured out what it wants to be following a wholly unexpected loss to a reality television actor, after a campaign that was in large part premised on "hey, we're not that crazy Trump guy."

Plenty of others, mostly on Twitter, were meaner, so no need for me to pile on.  Oh, wait a minute ... yes there is.

(These pitiful slogans) are coming from the same organization that poured millions of dollars into Jon Ossoff’s failed congressional campaign and that has focused its recovery strategy on converting moderate Republicans. Since Barack Obama assumed office in 2009, the Democratic Party has lost nearly 1,100 seats in elected offices across the country to “the other guys.” Instead of stopping their losing streak with meaningful policies that would risk alienating their donors -- such as single-payer health care -- Democrats have obsessed about Donald Trump’s connection to Russia.

These slogans epitomize the current state of Democratic Party. None of the slogans address important issues or convey moral conviction. Rather, they expect their support base to “vote blue no matter who.” Democrats market themselves as better than Republicans, but they fail to address issues important to voters.

Right now, Democrats are the losing party, and leadership makes it increasingly more embarrassing to be affiliated with the party. It’s not a coincidence that Sen. Bernie Sanders -- an independent who won’t tarnish his name by affiliating with the party -- is the most popular politician in the country.  Americans (including Democratic Congressional candidates in red states like Texas) are increasingly identifying as independent, a symptom of their disenfranchisement from both political parties. Democrats fail to realize that trying to capitalize on hatred of the Republican party only creates more apathy. So far, Democrats have failed to develop a vision that resonates with voters and to sever ties with their corporate donors or widely unpopular leaders. Nancy Pelosi, Charles Schumer, Debbie Wasserman SchultzTom Perez and Hillary Clinton -- all widely disliked -- are the current party spokespersons. All these aspects combined ensure Democrats will continue losing until they drastically change course.

Ouch.  A less harsh take on the state of play, from the US News link at the top.

As befits a national party that is a bit lost in the wilderness, Democrats are being pulled in several different directions at the moment: There's the so-called Sanders-Warren wing, so named because of Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who espouse an unapologetically progressive vision. There's the tech-bro wing attempting to use Silicon Valley-style thinking to "hack" the party for the internet age. And then there's the rump of Blue Dogs and mealy-mouthed centrists who believe that triangulating and being OK with bigotry is the only way to win back those disaffected white, working-class voters so famously wooed by now-President Donald Trump.

And a sunnier point of view from McClatchy, via Raw Story.

A trio of new political action committees — the People's House Project, Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats — are looking for ways to support candidates with economically progressive platforms and to challenge the party establishment, especially in Rust Belt states where President Donald Trump saw much unexpected success last November.

The activists aren't daunted by the odds.

"Democrats should be able to win in all these places," said Krystal Ball, founder of the People's House Project, which has endorsed its first candidate, Randy Bryce, an iron worker with an attention-getting advertising shtick who is running for House Speaker Paul Ryan's seat in Wisconsin's 1st Congressional District.

And in Appalachia.

They've already begun gathering candidates, and they're not just going after Republicans.

Frustrated with increased poverty and poor working conditions in her home state of West Virginia, environmental activist Paula Jean Swearengin launched a campaign with the help of Brand New Congress to challenge centrist Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin in 2018.

"It's a disgrace as a coal miner's daughter that I have to beg for clean water and clean air for my children," she said. "He challenged us to primary him, so shame on Joe Manchin that a single mom of four is going after his seat."

Since launching her campaign in early May, Swearengin said she has raised $81,000 through small donations from more than 5,000 people.

While she said it's unlikely she could raise more donations than Manchin, who has the financial backing of the coal industry, Swearengin believes her progressive messaging could resonate with discouraged West Virginians.

Sanders won 51 percent of West Virginia's Democrats in last year's primary, easily defeating runner-up Hillary Clinton, who eight years before handily defeated then-Sen. Barack Obama in the state's Democratic primary.

In Texas, we have Libertarians who voted in the GOP primary in 2016 (read the comments) running as Democrats in places like TX-31 against incumbent John Carter.  Some people believe this is the only kind of Democrat that can get elected in Republican districts.  James Cargas, the CD-7 Democrat who supports fracking and still does not live in the district, has sold that line three consecutive times with no luck.  Annnnd he's back for a fourth go.

There remain plenty of twists and turns before November of 2018, but Democrats have a lot of work to do, and despite Charles' optimism about the locals, their compasses still aren't all pointing true north just yet.


Gadfly said...

Maybe the Dems ought to let the WTF people do the branding and try to get yet more Silicon Valley $$ along with that.

PDiddie said...

See the excerpt right underneath the first toon (not the Twitter embed; the Roadrunner/Coyote sendoff). I'll come back later and update with your blog post link.