Notes on Democratic campaigns

Republicans are incredibly on-message at all times, while it’s difficult to determine what the Democratic Party stands for much of the time. For example, Margaret Monsell’s piece in Commonwealth accuses Massachusetts Dems led by House Speaker Bob DeLeo of being more interested in safeguarding incumbent seats than in the professed values of their own party.

One may be inclined to ascribe the superiority of Republican messaging to that party’s penchant for authoritarianism and undemocratic dirty tricks — and you will get no argument from me. But Republicans actually believe in something — no matter that much of it is cruel and immoral — but they never miss an opportunity to hammer away at their message.

In contrast, the Democratic Party discounts progressives and minorities — and instead focuses on races in which they support Frankencandidates precisely engineered for specific congressional districts.

Despite professed values, in the presidential race this polling-based approach has led to candidates of color like Kamala Harris dropping out and to the short-changing of candidates like Cory Booker — the “other” Rhodes Scholar mayor (but the one with six years in the Senate). Even with Harris’ criminal justice problems and Booker’s buddies in Big Pharma, both are stronger than the candidate with the Hunter Biden problem, and both are preferable to the guy with big problems with his McKinsey & Co. career and his own cityfolk. But the Democratic Party thinks it needs a white guy.

Quentin James of the CollectivePAC, a black political action committee, called out liberal Democrats in 2016 for the “other” type of white supremacy: “I am talking about, […] ‘a political, economic and cultural system in which whites overwhelmingly control power and material resources, conscious and unconscious ideas of white superiority and entitlement are widespread, and relations of white dominance and non-white subordination are daily reenacted across a broad array of institutions and social settings.’”

With Democrats having learned nothing from the last election, buckle up for a repeat of 2016.

In Democratic congressional races, too, the strategy of discounting values and real, live, breathing constituents led to the DCCC backing Jeff Van Drew — the most conservative New Jersey white male Democrat with his 100% rating from the NRA — over Tanzie Youngblood, a progressive black woman with a #MeToo message.

And if the name “Van Drew” sounds familiar, it’s because this DCCC-financed virtual Republican just made it official when he defected to the Republican Party, announcing that he’d also be voting against impeachment.

Democrats need to start showing they believe in something besides polling, and they have to run with a consistent message and consistent values — regardless of the district and regardless of the futility of a particular race.

This is a tune that’s topped the Republican Hit Parade for years.

Maybe Democrats should hum a few bars themselves.