Democratic pollsters, strategists and sympathetic academics have reached some unnerving conclusions.The Donks lack the muscle to abolish the People and appoint a new one; and Jeb! Bush was right about not being able to insult your way to the presidency ... it's a bad move to insult voters. Politicians are fair game.
What the autopsy reveals is that Democratic losses among working class voters were not limited to whites; that crucial constituencies within the party see its leaders as alien; and that unity over economic populism may not be able to turn back the conservative tide.
Equally disturbing, winning back former party loyalists who switched to Trump will be tough: these white voters’ views on immigration and race are in direct conflict with fundamental Democratic tenets.
Here's Brett Stephens on the tactical error of insulting voters.
Contemporary liberalism now expresses itself chiefly in the language of self-affirmation and moral censure: of being the party of the higher-minded; of affixing the suffix “phobe” to millions of people who don’t appreciate being described as bigots.Yes, and any political pundit who invokes Aron Niemzowitsch's Gegen diesen Idioten muss Ich verlieren? deserves your attention. Go. Read. Note that the skirt-chasing president [Bill] Clinton probably survived impeachment in part because he didn't come off as hectoring the electorate, Jimmy Carter style, or patronizing it, Barack Obama style.
It’s intolerable. It’s why so many well-educated Republicans who find nothing to admire in the president’s dyspeptic boorishness find even less to like in his opponents’ snickering censoriousness. It’s why a political strategy by Democrats that seeks to turn every local race into a referendum on Trump is likely to fail.
One temptation Democrats would be smart to avoid is to see Ossoff’s loss as evidence that the party needs to move further left, on the theory that not enough of the base showed up to vote. In fact, turnout for Ossoff was extraordinary for a special election. And nominating more progressive candidates isn’t likely to solve the contempt problem, at least with voters not yet in sync with progressive orthodoxies on coal, guns or gender-neutral bathrooms.
Reason's David Harsanyi makes a related point.
Everyone loves his or her members of Congress. They just hate yours. Handel will likely be in her position as long as she pleases because incumbents win more than 95 percent of races.They're beginning to have this conversation, although it still looks like San Francisco or Chicago or Detroit as a message. None of those visions are particularly edifying to strivers elsewhere.
If the average Republican is willing to look past Trump's sins (and, obviously, many GOPers like him outright), they can start weighing many other factors. They may, for instance, understand that voting for Ossoff is not only a vote against Trump but a vote for progressive liberals like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who was given a near 60 percent disapproval rating in the 6th District. This is the choice.
It is also worth noting that, as galvanizing as the anti-Trump movement has been these past months, it is not a movement of persuasion. The default rhetorical disposition of liberals is still to accuse anyone who takes a cultural or economic position to the right of Sen. Elizabeth Warren of being a clingy racist. Maybe affluent suburban Republicans don't appreciate the accusation. And maybe bashing the president and getting hysterical over Russia isn't a winning strategy in places like Georgia because, while the GOP has tons of problems, for what does the Democratic Party stand?
Keep it up, Democrats.
It should be clear to Democrats that the progressive message is not resonating with Independents or blue-collar workers — some of whom are within their base. And it is evident that Democrats still haven’t learned anything from the 2016 presidential election. They decided to stick with Pelosi as House minority leader and elected Tom Perez, whose rhetoric has marginalized non-progressives within his own party, as chair of the Democratic National Committee.Author Shermichael Singleton is using "progressive" and its declensions in the classical sense of Governance by Wise Experts, National Standards set in Washington D.C. That founders on the calculation problem. It's likely that the national party's embrace of identity politics, except for traditional Americans, is also hurting their chances.
Progressivism is ruining the Democratic Party. It will be interesting to watch how much damage it will do to the brand before the party recognizes that progressivism doesn’t resonate with the American people, not now, nor will it in 2018 and beyond.