Message to Democrats –Time to Come Out Swinging

Filed in National by on November 23, 2016


The Pew Research Center conducted its quadrennial survey of post-election reactions and overall the mood of the electorate still looks more polarized and more pessimistic than ever. The bright spot was for Trump supporters, but there is certainly less of the post-election glow and desire for parties to work together to get stuff done. It is worthwhile to spin through this entire report — there is no doubt that voters are less enthusiastic about both candidates, and they don’t think much of either party,pollsters or the press.

A key finding here is the fact that Democrats want their leadership to fight the GOP.

Equally important, most Democrats would like to see their party’s leaders stand up to Trump rather than work with him. In fact, Democratic support for cooperation with the president-elect today is substantially less than GOP support for working with Obama eight years ago.Most Clinton voters want Democratic leaders to stand up to Trump.

Nearly two-thirds of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters (65%) say “Democratic leaders should stand up to Donald Trump on issues that are important to Democratic supporters, even if means less gets done in Washington.” Just 32% want the party’s leaders to work with Trump if it means disappointing Democrats.

Democrats Fight

So Democrats are looking for less bipartisanship, especially if it means moving backward. Democrats are looking for their leadership to step up and fight for their priorities and ideals.

Ezra Klein notes that the Democrats need to act like an opposition party — not a minority party.

But the will of the voters still matters, or at least it should. Thus far, Democrats have slipped comfortably into the position of minority party. They aren’t demanding that Trump put forward compromise candidates for key posts. They aren’t laying out a proactive agenda that would serve as their basis for negotiations with Trump and the Republicans. And they aren’t, in their public messaging, emphasizing that most voters opposed Trump’s agenda, and that both Democrats and Republicans need to take that seriously.

Democrats have confused the reality of being out of power with the idea of being in the minority. This lets the Trump administration and the Republican Party confuse the reality of being in power with the idea of having a mandate for their agenda.

This looks like a great observation to me, and if you take the Pew results on their face, there is plenty of room for Dems to stake their position and not be rolled.

So there is an opportunity here,yes? While I wish there was someone in charge of Dem messaging who was as fearless and clear as Elizabeth Warren (Howard Dean could do this), I suspect that we will be treated to plenty of hand-wringing and plenty of putting their fingers into the wind to decide what to say. Then what gets said signals weakness and indecision, rather than a clear commitment to Democratic ideals. There’s an opportunity in genuine opposition to getting back the Labor Party roots — but this also means spending a focused amount of communication specifically in making sure that voters know that Trump is not delivering what they voted for. Where there is a give away to special interests, where there are no new jobs, where there is not better trade policy, where there is an erosion of wages, where working people are not being served by this Administration, Dems need to be on the spot with their own ideas and with messaging that calls out the two-facedness of the Trump administration.

So we already know that our two Senators work pretty hard at taking as few economic stands as possible. We know that both could not care less about Labor interests. Which means that we have to start calling this out and start asking others to join us. While neither of them may care much about what gets said on this blog, we need to callk, write LTEs and provide FB posts that ask them why they are not standing with us. This is gonna be work, y’all, because they are unaccustomed to hearing from us on economic issues. But it has to happen and we need to be responsble for forcing the people who claim to represent us to actually do that.

About the Author ()

"You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas." -Shirley Chisholm

Comments (11)

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  1. mediawatch says:

    Boil it down and it comes to this:
    Democratic voters are saying: Protect us from Trump so we have a chance of moving forward.
    Democratic pols are saying: We’ve got to protect our butts first, and then we’ll see if we can help you.

  2. anonymous says:

    @MW: And yet they’re too dimwitted to understand that they are the same thing, at least in the remaining blue states like Delaware.

  3. SussexAonon says:

    And what exactly are we swinging for? Poor messaging? More free-trade deals? More lack of a definitive direction? Banking reform? Half-assed healthcare reform part 2?

    If only Democrats had purity standards when it comes to the environment, unions, trade, banking, and oh, I don’t know, ANYTHING?

    Republicans are owned by the rich and multinational corporations. Democrats are in escrow.

  4. stan merriman says:

    It is baffling to me that I can find nothing put out from the DNC, nor the Dem. State Party Chairs of Wisconsin, Michigan or PA. about their observations on recounts. I think it highly unlikely that hackers intervened in obscure counties election systems to “fix” votes; maybe an inside job here and there but unlikely on a large scale. But no responses from these “leaders”? Nor any information about possible tampering with registration rolls……a more possible but still unlikely scenario in obscure counties and a problem that would not be revealed in a recount. Heaven forbid we would actually hear any reports on DNC activity in this regard from our own utterly silent, nearly anonymous DNC reps. from Delaware who will not in any way provide me/Dem. loyalists information from the DNC meetings.

  5. puck says:

    DNC is keeping a low profile on recounts because they don’t want to play into the “sore loser” meme. DNC is probably relieved Jill Stein is taking the lead on this. I don’t think a recount will change anything but if nothing else it will put a spotlight on the fact that Hillary won the popular vote.

  6. anonymous says:

    “DNC is keeping a low profile on recounts because they don’t want to play into the “sore loser” meme.”

    Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser.

  7. Castro says:

    The DNC cares much more about not making Republicans sad than it cares about making Democrats happy.

  8. puck says:

    There is no good outcome for Hillary “winning” a recount. Think it through.

  9. anonymous says:

    She won’t win a recount. The issue isn’t winning, it’s attacking them on every possible front.

  10. stan merriman says:

    Jill Stein was talked into the recount sponsorship by John Boniface, an expert on voting issues….who also had a large role in the fund raising.

  11. cassandra m says:

    DNC is keeping a low profile on recounts because they don’t want to play into the “sore loser” meme.

    This pretty much shows how rudderless the party is right now. The opportunity is to highlight how much of a mandate Trump does NOT have (and signal opportunities to push back) and to throw that rigged election business right back at him. The silence right now is really bad. There’s little reason to believe a recount will change much, but there is little point in squandering an opportunity.