Category Archives: Democratic Messaging

Conservatives and liberals finally agree: they hate CRomnibus

CRomnibus opponent Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

CRomnibus opponent Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Conservatives and Liberals finally agree on one thing: they hate the $1.1 trillion continuing resolution of the omnibus federal spending bill (nicknamed “CRomnibus”) designed to fund the U.S. federal government through September 2015. However, conservatives and liberals oppose the bill for different reasons. Strolling through the Twitter hashtag #CRominbus, as well as reading and hearing statements from various quarters, is quite revealing.

President Obama’s stunning comeback on immigration

Rally for Immigration Reform, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 2010

Rally for Immigration Reform, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 2010

Americans might be calling President Barack Obama the Comeback Kid. After historic mid-term election losses for his Democratic Party just over two weeks ago, President Obama, with a 15-minute announcement last night, has now maneuvered himself into the position of (a) going on offense by taking action on immigration reform; (b) igniting the hopes and the hearts of millions of Latino Americans, who comprise one of the fasting growing voting blocs in the U.S.; and (c) making the Republicans look both lazy and mean at the same time.

The Democrats’ ticking time bomb

Hillary Clinton, 67, at Tom Harkin Steak Fry, September 2014

Hillary Clinton, 67, at Tom Harkin Steak Fry, September 2014

The post-election analysis of the Democratic Party’s massive losses has covered numerous factors, including Republican dark money, a lack of a unified Democratic message, and historic trends for the sixth year of a two-term incumbent president. Some pundits say “just wait until 2016″ when the Democrats will make a stunning comeback, winning the White House and retaking the U.S. Senate. However, few of these analysts mention a potential time bomb that could spoil the Democrats’ 2016 election chances. That time bomb is age.

An issue-based approach for Democrats and progressives

Wake Up and Vote for Democrats poster

Wake Up and Vote for Democrats poster

Mainstream Democratic and progressive voters don’t agree on everything, but they all seemed to agree on one thing after last Tuesday’s elections: the Democratic Party let them down. Democratic officeholders and candidates running for election ran away from President Obama and his agenda. One example was Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democratic challenger to U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Grimes not only refused to assert that she had voted for President Obama, she was reluctant to tout the stunning success of the Affordable Care Act in Kentucky (known as Kynect), and instead began most answers by naming problems with the ACA that need fixing.

Running away from the President’s record in 2014 made no sense for Democrats, as President Obama’s agenda literally was the Democrats’ agenda. Every law that President Obama signed, from the Stimulus to the Affordable Care Act, was something that a majority in Congress, and certainly a majority of Democrats in Congress, first had to pass. Perhaps some Democrats need to go back and read their Constitution, or watch Schoolhouse Rock.

Framing the new Republican majority

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (L) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (R)

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (L) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (R)

President Barack Obama and other White House officials (such as Communications Director  Jennifer Palmieri and Press Secretary Josh Earnest) have been quick to characterize Tuesday’s Republican Election Night victories as the beginning of a period of Republicans being “partners in governing” the United States. For example, at his post-election press conference on Wednesday, President Obama said:

… So I look forward to Republicans putting forward their governing agenda…. I am very eager to hear Republican ideas for what they think we can do together over the next couple of years…. I’m looking forward to them putting forward a very specific agenda in terms of what they would like to accomplish…. And what we’re going to make sure that we do is to reach out to Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, who are now running both chambers in Congress, and find out what their agenda is. And my hope is, is that they’ve got some specific things they want to do that correspond with some things that we want to get done…. They’re the majority. They need to present their agenda.

This is an important Democratic frame, because, up to now, the Republicans have acted as a minority party even though they held a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. However, President Obama tried this “shared responsibility” frame once before, after Republicans took over the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010, and the frame did not stick. The question is whether Republicans will be held responsible for co-governing now that they will also run the U.S. Senate.

The nihilism election

Vote Nihilism

Vote Nihilism

Ve believe in nossing, Lebowski. Nossing. And tomorrow ve come back and ve cut off your chonson.
–The Big Lebowski, 1998

What to make of last night’s mid-term election? Democrats never articulated a positive unifying theme. Most of the Democrats’ endless fundraising appeals tried to scare supporters about the Koch Brothers and Karl Rove pouring millions of dollars into Republican campaigns. Republicans ran a national campaign on a unifying theme, but that theme — “President Obama is bad” — was also wholly negative. Most voters didn’t vote for anything.

Why cats aren’t Republican

Fatcat banker

Fatcat banker

Living with a cat for the first time, you quickly pick up on its behavioral quirks, many of which are common among other cats. What you soon find out is that cats aren’t Republican. Here are 12 reasons why not:

The Democratic and Republican Parties as car mechanics

Your friendly neighborhood auto mechanic

Your friendly neighborhood auto mechanic

Every election, plenty of Democrats and Progressives complain about Democratic candidates, saying they’re not progressive or liberal enough, are too tied to corporations or big money, etc. These complainers are comparing the Democratic candidates to some ideal of perfection. That’s the wrong comparison. Democratic candidates are running against flesh-and-blood Republican candidates (and some third party candidates), and one set of candidates will win the elections and decide our fates to a large extent. If your complaining friends still think the two parties are the same, try the car mechanic analogy on them:

The Democrats’ final 2014 election message

Democratic star Elizabeth Warren

Democratic star Elizabeth Warren

The 2014 elections are less than three weeks away. Earlier this year, we called for the Democratic Party to come up with a positive unifying theme for the elections, and suggested “We Have Your Back.” The Democrats never came up with such a theme, although the Democratic Party’s list of accomplishments and values is impressive. Moreover, 2014 is not a presidential election year, and there is no transformative or historical figure running on the Democratic ticket to get Democrats excited. For example, Elizabeth Warren, perhaps the Democratic Party’s biggest star, isn’t up for re-election for years, and you have to live in Kentucky or Texas to vote for Alison Lundergan Grimes or Wendy Davis, respectively.

Are you one of those Progressives who is disappointed in your Democratic leaders? Think they’re the same as the Republicans? Thinking of staying home this Election Day? Think again! Here’s but a brief list of things the Republicans routinely do, try to do, or stand for, in contrast to the Democrats:

Conference call with George Lakoff, Democratic messaging guru

Democratic messaging guru George Lakoff

Democratic messaging guru George Lakoff

Last Tuesday, Democracy For America held a conference call featuring Democratic messaging guru George Lakoff and Nina Turner, current State Senator and Democratic candidate for Secretary of State from Ohio. The subject of the call was how to frame the Democratic Party message for the 2014 and 2016 elections.