It is time to swallow a bitter pill. If Democrats are going to win in the 2014 midterm, they must fall in line. This is something the Democrats have struggled with for nearly 30 years.
There is a reason that, during Presidential election years, the Democratic Party does well. They have won 5 of the last 6 Presidential elections; this includes the 2000 election which was won by Vice President Al Gore. That is because Presidential elections are when Democrats form the most cohesive message. Unfortunately, in off-year and midterm elections, Democrats do not fare so well.
When the American public is polled on issues, they tend to favor the Democratic Party. So, what exactly is it that allows The Republican Party to win in these other elections? For a moment, let’s put aside voting machines, gerrymandering and lying. While those are all important, we need to focus on the Democratic Party.
If there is one thing the Republican Party does very well, it is falling in line with a message—even when they are extremely wrong. As a whole the entire party will defend one another, even when they make extremely offensive comments.
The problem with the Democratic Party is its diversity. Yes, diversity is a good thing but, when it comes to winning elections, it can also be a heavy weight. Democrats come in all different shades of political beliefs.
The best example of the problem with the Democrats is the Affordable Care Act. Day after day, Americans have been bombarded with a message that the ACA is a complete failure. Meanwhile, when each individual provision is polled, the public loves the it. Unfortunately, the polling is not enough to allow Democrats to form a cohesive message.
Take, for instance, Alex Sink and the special election in Florida. Instead of running on the Affordable Care Act, she ran on a message of “fixing” it. This implies that it is broken, to a public that is told day after day that it needs to be repealed.
Make no mistake—Alex Sink had an uphill battle, in a district that has been solid red for many years (which the exception of President Obama’s election). However, her message gave credence to the Republican argument, and it very well could have cost her the election.
Most people do not marinate in politics. They are so consumed with trying to put food on their tables, sending their kids to work, and any other number of things in their life, that the last thing on their mind is Beltway politics. If they are lucky, they are able to sit down to watch the news or read an article.
Nobody is saying the Democrats need to become a single-focus party with zero diversity. However, when it is time for election season, we need to get behind a cohesive message that furthers the Progressive platform. This can be done in a way that keeps the uniqueness of each candidate, while not destroying the party as a whole. All politics is local, but you must have the courage of your convictions if you want to be taken seriously. Democrats have more to offer the public than the Republican Party. The trick is making sure the American public realizes it.
Watch George Lakoff’s presentation “Retaking Political Discourse,” where he discusses political messaging and the Democratic Party.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UseIJAIxR-4?rel=0]