Is the DNC’s Lack of a Message Strangling the ‘Blue Wave’?

Here we are, less than three weeks out from what could be the most consequential midterm election in living memory. And yet, a fellow is once more struck by the sensation that we’re watching the Democratic Party—and its governing body the Democratic National Committee—clumsily-stumbling toward November 6th. Setting the stage, yet again, for another costly goal-line fumble.

After nearly two years in power, the Republican Party has provided what should be exceptionally fertile ground for the generation an electoral tsunami. But the DNC, through its incoherent and almost absent messaging campaign, seems poised to transform a promising “blue wave” into something more akin to an anemic ripple. Ultimately failing to convert an abundance of opportunity.

While campaigning on base-pleasing issues does well to raise one’s clout within liberal circles, it does little to create allies within the “purple” and “red” districts that Democrats so desperately need to capture. Pushing for policy reform like “Medicare for all” or stressing the significance of gaining subpoena power is important, but they have a time and a place. And now is the time for pragmatism rooted in mass-appeal, not the idealism which sounds like white noise to all but a select few.

It’s ostensibly crunch time for Democrats, and the only legitimate goal is bicameral victory, given two more years of Republican domination ostensibly threatens the very continued existence of core liberal principles. So it seems like it’s time to embrace the simplicity of speaking to persuade, and forego its more thorough—and perhaps more 2020 friendly— but less action-inducing cousin, speaking to inform.

At the end of the day, what most voters—particularly the coveted moderates who don’t fit within the rigid ideological confines of either party’s base—care about, is putting food on the table and keeping their bills paid. And while Republicans present the economy as their core strength, there’s a cavern Democrats could readily exploit if they so chose.

As such, one wonders why the DNC has failed to distill its cacophony of discombobulating grievances into a cogent and relatable message. Something that resonates with the 78 percent of Americans working full-time that are living paycheck-to-paycheck, something that not only reverberates with virtually every American, but something capable of evoking an almost visceral reaction.

So if the goal is to take back the House of Representatives, and possibly the Senate, why not share a modern American take on a classic fable? From coast-to-coast, why not pitch a story that can effectively marshal angst, a story which casts Democrats as the party of Robin Hood, and the Republicans as the party epitomized by the Sheriff of Nottingham?

How hard would it really be to issue a short—fact-based—near last minute ad, something that gins-up an emotional response and sticks in the minds of voters as they head to the polls. Something along the lines of:

For the last two years, the Republican Party has controlled Washington. And in those two years, they’ve chosen to put the needs of corporations and the wealthy above those of the working class. In just two years’ time, they’ve tacked nearly $2 trillion onto the national debt by passing a tax cut bill largely aimed at the one percent, and they narrowly failed at robbing you of your healthcare.

As this ad plays, Republicans are trying to pass an second tax cut bill, new legislation which promises to add another $3.8 trillion to the national debt. And maybe worse yet, they’re trying to eliminate protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

Now to pay for their giveaways, and to serve the interests of their rich benefactors, Republicans in Congress plan to squeeze you, the average American. They’ve signaled that they intend to pay for their deficits by cutting programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. In order to appease their mega-donors, they’ve written legislation that allows insurance companies to refuse to pay for the treatment of pre-existing conditions. And if re-elected in November, Republicans plan to demolish your healthcare altogether by attempting another repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

So make your voice heard, vote for Democrats on Tuesday November 6th. With your ballot, tell Washington in no uncertain terms that you’re worth protecting. That your health and livelihood isn’t negotiable. Tell Washington that you won’t let those with everything pick your pockets again, that you won’t be left holding the bag.


(Featured image “Midterm Elections – November 2014“, by Shannon McGee, used under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license, image cropped from original.)