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View Full Version : Do the democrats need a message to win seats in the coming elections?


KC Jones
06-04-2006, 09:08 PM
According to one pinko leftist commie guest columnist... no


http://denverpost.com/search/ci_3890382

The Democratic Party stands poised to have a good Election Day this November. Yet to hear many pundits talk about it, it sounds like the Democrats have already lost.

The party, according to some commentators, is torn between its ideologues on the far left and its more moderate wing, and is therefore unable to offer a coherent message.

Thus, the argument goes, Democrats are doomed. They are blowing a momentous opportunity because they can't offer us a compelling alternative to what the Republicans are doing. Republicans, meanwhile, will continue to lead, because at least we know where they're taking us - even if we don't particularly like the destination.

This argument has appeared in scores of publications in recent months and has been accepted and eagerly repeated by the Beltway punditry. It is also quite wrong.

It is wrong, for one thing, because it totally ignores what Americans are telling pollsters lately. According to a recent Washington Post poll, a majority of Americans say that they'd prefer the country to move in the direction offered by the Democrats than the direction offered by President Bush. This is all the more fascinating since a majority of Americans cannot describe the direction that Democrats want to go.

Simply put, you don't need to offer a coherent message to serve as an effective opposition party or even to win elections. There may be a lot of division within Democratic ranks, but Americans understand that how the Democrats would govern is substantially different from how the Republicans are currently governing.

The incoherent-Democrats-can't- win argument is also wrong because it ignores history. Parties have been able to make substantial gains without offering any coherent message to voters:

The 1952 presidential election, in which the Republicans took the White House after 20 consecutive years of Democratic control, largely turned on the issue of the Korean War. The public was so dissatisfied with Truman's management of the war that he chose to retire rather than run for re-election. And what was Dwight Eisenhower's detailed plan to distinguish himself from Truman and end the war? Five simple words: "I will go to Korea." The American people didn't much care what Ike's plan was - they just knew it would be different from the Democrats', which they felt had failed.

The Democrats made large gains in the 1974 midterm elections, both in Congress and in most state legislatures. What great coherent message allowed them to do this? There wasn't one. Indeed, the Democratic Party of the early '70s was much less unified than the one that exists today, as it consisted of both Northern liberals and Southern conservatives. The public rewarded the Democrats in 1974 because the election occurred just a few months after Richard Nixon's resignation. The Republican name had been severely damaged by scandal and a slowing economy, so the public turned against it.

Pundits will often point to the Republicans' takeover of Congress in 1994 as an example of why a party needs a coherent message. After all, Newt Gingrich had put forward the Contract with America - a 10-point plan detailing what the GOP would do if it gained power. The fact is, though, that two-thirds of Americans had never heard of the contract at the time of the 1994 election. Voters were just dissatisfied with the Clinton administration and felt like throwing out some Democrats. The power of the contract is a myth that's taken hold of the punditry, but it is still nothing more than a myth.

An election is a referendum on the party in power. The out-party may feel free to offer policy alternatives - they may even consider that the responsible thing to do - but it will have little effect on the election. If voters approve of what the incumbent party is doing, it will be hard to defeat, even with the best alternative policies. An incumbent party that has lost favor with the voters, however, can be beaten with nothing.

Recent polling suggests that the Republican Party has lost favor with the voters. So will voters put Democrats in charge of one or both houses of Congress this year? It's possible. But if that happens, it will be the result of voters' anger with Republicans' policies, not their love for Democrats' promises.

WoodDraw
06-04-2006, 09:47 PM
To win seats, no; to win a majority, yes. Democrats need a plan to quickly pass impact legislation. The current Congress's biggest problem is that they just aren't doing anything but getting bad press. It has gotten to the point where an election is needed just for the American people to give Congress a change again.

Mr. Kotter
06-04-2006, 10:04 PM
Whoever this columnist is, he's blinded by ideology. The critics he dismisses, are absolutely correct. The Dems need a message. If they get one, they can make headway; if they don't get a coherent one together, they'll be wondering how they could have failed--when the answer is right there, in front of their face: no coherent message.

First, he completely over-simplified Truman's decline and Eisenhower's election. Suffice it to say, his lack of understanding of the history of that period is dumb-founding for someone who's choosing to hang his hat on that argument.

As for the 1974 election, Watergate. If he's comparing Watergate to our current situation, he is gravely mistaken.

And finally, the 1994 midterms....he's mostly right about that, but the "Contract" did mobilize the Republican base enough that it won almost every "close" election that year....and that was the big difference.

WoodDraw
06-04-2006, 10:13 PM
Plus, there is no margin of error. Gerrymandering has taken a large chunk out of competitive House districts; in the Senate, there just aren't enough seats up for reelection. The Democrats are in a great situation, but they need to continue to come together more as a party to take full advantage.

Logical
06-04-2006, 10:32 PM
I also believe that even with no message they will narrow the gap. But to take the majority they need a message. A simple concept such as the "Contract with America" idea that gave the Republicans there big boost.

Taco John
06-05-2006, 08:17 AM
"We're not Republicans. Don't blame it on us."

I think this will about suffice at this point. I think people understand that you can't give the congress to the ruling party, especially when you've got someone so shockingly underqualified in The Office.

It's going to be more important for them to articulate a plan for 2008 than it will be for November 2006.

Mr. Laz
06-05-2006, 10:05 AM
the left has needed a message for freakin years


they also need some decent leadership to run the party.


the current leadership teh suxors

Mr. Kotter
06-05-2006, 10:27 AM
the left has needed a message for freakin years


they also need some decent leadership to run the party.


the current leadership teh suxors

Wow. Laz and I....on the same wavelength. :spock:

This is getting scary.

Garcia Bronco
06-05-2006, 02:04 PM
The need a message...they don't have one...too many mouths at the table..and nobody to shut the dumbest one. They won't gain a majority until they stand up with a message.

bkkcoh
06-05-2006, 02:15 PM
I thought they tried to play that game in 2004, didn't they. It seemed to have a lot of success for them then....

the Talking Can
06-05-2006, 02:42 PM
the message is simple:

"We will lie to you and govern corruptly...oh yeah, we hate gays too."

Landslide victory. This is what voters want.

KC Jones
06-05-2006, 05:22 PM
the message is simple:

"We will lie to you and govern corruptly...oh yeah, we hate gays too."

Landslide victory. This is what voters want.

ROFL

I guess an honest politician would be a big change.

penchief
06-05-2006, 06:50 PM
Hell yeah, they need a message. And it needs to be the one that they have been too timid to express and the corporately owned media hasn't been willing to state.

That is, that this administration has been a gross perversion of what this country has always stood for and we need to kick it out of our system and return to our roots.

jettio
06-05-2006, 08:44 PM
I think the message ought to be that the GOP is against same sex marriage so that they can f*ck you for 10 years and still keep all of the money they made off of you after the inevitable "divorce" occurs.

DanT
06-05-2006, 09:00 PM
The Democrats ought to go with the message, "If we launch a war with no moral or legal justification, we'll at least try to get some cheap oil out of it."

SBK
06-05-2006, 10:44 PM
The Democrats ought to go with the message, "If we launch a war with no moral or legal justification, we'll at least try to get some cheap oil out of it."

ROFL

Some, they need to run a pipeline from Iraq to the US free of charge.

SBK
06-05-2006, 10:46 PM
Is there anyway we can vote in 100 new members in the Senate and 435 new members in the House?

penchief
06-05-2006, 10:49 PM
The Democrats ought to go with the message, "If we launch a war with no moral or legal justification, we'll at least try to get some cheap oil out of it."

Or, "Democrats never looked better."

the Talking Can
06-05-2006, 10:49 PM
The Democrats ought to go with the message, "If we launch a war with no moral or legal justification, we'll at least try to get some cheap oil out of it."

how about:

"What ever we do, we won't capture Osama Bin Laden. But we will spy on every communication of every single American so no one can discuss safe sex, global warming, or the Colbert Show.""

Moooo
06-05-2006, 10:53 PM
Democrats need a face, a leader to show the way who isn't a minority or a woman. Although I have no problems with the minorities, some do, whether they'll admit it or not.

I hate to say it, but the democrats need a white male, someone who doesn't come across as extreme. Maybe even an actor or someone with tons of charisma...

Chris Walken on the democratic ticket next election... LOL

Moooo

jAZ
06-05-2006, 11:27 PM
The Dems have a message, they've always had a message. They just need a person who can deliver that message coherently and with a passion that moves people.

Barack Obama's 2004 Dem National Convention speech shows you a perfect example... He made our "message" so simple, emotional and inspired.

http://www.c-span.org/2004vote/convention.asp?Cat=Special_Topic&Code=DEMS&Rot_Cat_CD=DEMS



Scroll down and Click the "Barack Obama, State Senator from Illinois & U.S. Senate Candidate (07/27/2004)" link.


I don't think I'll ever get tired of that speech.

patteeu
06-06-2006, 06:32 AM
They could try this one, but I don't know if people will buy it:

"We're not stupid anymore. Promise."

BucEyedPea
06-06-2006, 07:51 AM
The way I see it, the Dems don't have a message that mainstream America cares for.

#1) They're not an alternative regarding GWoT or the ME because the leadership of that party is just as corrupt as the GOP's.

#2) We have more socialist legislation under Republican presidents (Nixon) than under a Democrat, and even more with a Republican congress and President. Bi-partisan evil.

I do think if the Dems step up with an honest anti-war or anti-Pax Americana foreign policy they could get more traction. But they won't.

The safest bet for now, as far as I'm concerned, is for divided govt.
We had that under Clinton. It worked. It helps keep the excesses of both sides in check. Is it ideal. Nope. Such is life.

banyon
06-06-2006, 08:44 AM
BEP, is anyone left of Ayn Rand not a socialist?

Taco John
06-06-2006, 08:56 AM
It looks like the message, "bring our troops home" might be the ticket in some places...


Dem Senator Lieberman May Be First Big Political Casualty Of Iraq War...

Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) may be the first major political casualty of the Iraq war (not counting, of course, President Bush's dismal poll ratings).

Connecticut Democrats, fueled by grassroots Internet campaigning, are rallying around Lieberman's primary opponent, political neophyte Ned Lamont, a businessman who calls for the immediate withdrawal of troops from combat zones in Iraq. According to Lamont, Lieberman is "wrong on the big issues of the day and he is not challenging the Bush administration." The Connecticut Democratic primary is eight weeks away. Lieberman has refused to rule out an independent bid if he loses the primary.

Read the whole story
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060605/pl_nm/lieberman_dc

BucEyedPea
06-06-2006, 09:14 AM
BEP, is anyone left of Ayn Rand not a socialist?


That's a trick question isn't it?

I need to know what scale you use to keep my answer in context and appropriately understood.

I use a linear scale of no govt on the right and total on the left,
with a balance in the center. That original center has slowly shifted
left and is now left. I am right of the current, but shifted, center. Rand is further right closer to anarchy. Dems are left of this shifted center; hence their calling Bush and NC's right-wing extremists who are really left of center but right of them. Just a matter of degree and where you plot on this linear scale.


In my scale my answer is "yes."
In your's it may be "no."

penchief
06-08-2006, 04:25 PM
They could try this one, but I don't know if people will buy it:

"We're not stupid anymore. Promise."

If only the public would keep repeating that mantra to themselves before November every other year, the Dems might actually have a chance.

But, alas, the public continues to be sucked in by pandering to bias and fear and by cynical, yet insignificant, appeals to their pocketbook.

The republican "lip-service" party knows exactly what to say to get elected. The problem is that they don't believe it. The other problem is that the democratic "martyr" party trips over itself trying to say what it really believes when they know it will hurt their cause by playing into the hands of the "lip-service" party. It's time to tighten things up all around.

Mr. Kotter
06-08-2006, 04:33 PM
...But, alas, the public continues to be sucked in by pandering to bias and fear and by cynical, yet insignificant, appeals to their pocketbook...Already setting yourself up for a letdown, because the party leaders continue to be as blind as you are choosing to be? Heh. ROFL

"The public is 'sucked in by pandering to bias and fear.....[and the selfish bastards only care about] their pocketbook'...."....and are too stupid to know any better.

And some wonder why the party has failed so much in the past 40 years. :rolleyes:

penchief
06-08-2006, 04:45 PM
Already setting yourself up for a letdown, because the party leaders continue to be as blind as you are choosing to be? Heh. ROFL

"The public is 'sucked in by pandering to bias and fear.....[and the selfish bastards on care about] their pocketbook'...."....and are too stupid to know any better.

And some wonder why the party has failed so much in the past 40 years. :rolleyes:

Keep twisting. I think pocketbook issues are important. My problem is with the lip-service approach of this administration.

They say they want to cut our taxes and they do so. The only problem is that they cut our taxes a couple dollars a paycheck and they cut their wealthy cronies a few million. Then they proceed to eliminate our jobs, cut our wages, get rid of our overtime, do away with our health care while lessening the environmental standards of our communities, and casting a cloud of fear and resentment over us so that we will support them while they fight to defend us from immorality and those who want to destroy the "American way." Add to that, increases in the basics such as heating fuel, gasoline, and education and your scenario doesn't hold water.

I'd say that those couple dollars we save in taxes doesn't make up for the decline in income, benefits, health care, education, lifestyle, or peace of mind. A net loss is a net loss no matter how much they promise to cut taxes. It's time for a few more people to pull their heads out of the sand.