In a recent IJReview column Larry O'Connor reported that "Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) delivered a post-election video message to her fellow Democrats and donors and it was not very upbeat." She said "Our party has a problem as she laid out the party's plan for a "top to bottom assessment" of their campaign strategy that delivered historic losses this past Tuesday." "We know we're right on the issues," Wasserman Schultz quickly added. "The American people believe in the causes we're fighting for."
O'Connor went on to report "that according to Gallup, the American people polled say the "most important problem" in the nation is: Economic Problems (38); Economy in general (17); Dissatisfaction with government (16); Unemployment/Jobs (10); Healthcare (8); Immigration (7); Federal budget deficit/Federal debt (5); and Lack of money (3)." Clearly anyone watching the Democratic candidates' ads across the nation realizes this wasn't the message the Democratic Party took to the voters. They apparently felt women's issues and attacks on the Koch brothers would suffice.
The issue isn't what Wasserman Schultz said with regard to a 'top to bottom assessment' but rather who will do the assessment. If it is the same people who planned the mid-terms' non-message we are in for the same problems next time around. The only salvation for the Party in 2016 is hopefully Hillary Rodham Clinton will set and deliver the message. It has to be one of economic justice; that includes jobs, education, minimum wage, healthcare, opportunity and immigration.
We need to look at what happened and why with a President who has accomplished some really great things we still had an incoherent message. Except for some meme's on FB you didn't hear that everyone with 401(k) retirement accounts has seen huge increases since he took office. One had a hard time finding anyone talking about gas being less than $3 a gallon and going down, or the drop in unemployment, or that the Party supports raising the minimum wage and Republicans are against it. Somehow the fact that millions of people now have affordable health insurance was lost as well. Then there were no ads with a military family thanking the President for reuniting them with their loved ones because he brought husbands, wives, mothers and fathers home from Iraq and Afghanistan.
All the successes of the Barack Obama presidency were forgotten in a rush to disassociate from him and he was afraid to speak out. He didn't sign an immigration executive order for fear some candidates would lose because of it. The ones that feared it all lost anyway and those that could have benefited from it like Charlie Christ in Florida and Mark Udall in Colorado ended up losing as well.
Then there was Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky who wouldn't even admit she voted for Obama. Maybe she didn't and didn't want to lie or was embarrassed about it. Whatever the reason it was the dumbest mistake a candidate has made in recent years. Grimes is exhibit one why we need to train candidates that telling the truth about what you believe is crucial and remind candidates to really understand their constituencies and not talk down to them. Be proud of who you are and what you stand for because people will see right through you if you're not.
Understand your voters and who will vote for you no matter what and who you need to excite to get to the polls. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) was so intent on making himself stand for nothing, explaining why he really didn't vote with Obama 97% of the time, he turned himself into the dullest possible candidate and young people, and people with strong Democratic principles just stayed home.
Being a Democrat stands for something and if you run from that you lose. Democrats want to rebuild our nation's infrastructure and provide high paying jobs. Democrats want to increase the minimum wage and stand up for women's rights. We want a great public education; human and civil rights for all Americans including minorities and the LGBT community. Democrats want to make it easier to vote not harder. Democrats believe that social security and Medicare must be protected for generations to come and believe that all Americans are entitled to decent affordable healthcare. We are the Party that believes corporations must pay their fair share of taxes and workers need unemployment insurance if they find themselves out of work. Democrats believe in a safety net for the elderly and those who come upon hard times through no fault of their own.
A message about what Democrats stand for got lost in the mid-term elections. Instead we ran ads against the Koch brothers. No one knows who they are and I bet half the population thinks they own Coca-Cola. Everyone agrees the time has come to refocus the message and the only question now is who will do that?