As the nation gears up for November’s elections, Kerry Eleveld at the DailyKos writes a striking article directed at Democrats. Eleveld’s message: don’t go wobbly on us, Dems. The Republicans are desperate and on the attack, but don’t be distracted or defensive. They are attacking immigrants, Pelosi and “liberals”– and none of this garbage is going to work if Democrats remain fearless, disciplined and on offense.
The article is excerpted below and available here:
As has been widely reported, House Democrats need to win 23 seats to regain control of the lower chamber and they have some 69 target districts that are less red than OH-12 and ripe for the picking. And yet there’s some scary myth out there that Pelosi’s too establishment and Ocasio-Cortez is too progressive and their mere presence is killing Democratic chances this fall.
Seriously, is this a joke? Just take note, they’re both women and supposedly they’re both the death knell for Democratic success this fall. The New York Times reported last week, for instance, that calls to “Abolish ICE,” partly led by Ocasio-Cortez, had “many Democrats fretting in competitive races.” In the meantime, reporters can’t seem to get enough of perseverating over some 50 Democratic House candidates who say they won’t back Pelosi for speaker if they’re elected or re-elected—something she actually encouraged them to do. Wow, it turns out Democrats truly have the big tent Republicans had been lauded for in theory for decades, but now that conservative advantage has morphed into a liberal liability and Democrats are doooomed!
Republicans have realized that they have no positive message whatsoever to run on because their tax giveaway to the rich isn’t doing much for anyone who isn’t a multi-millionaire (i.e. 90-plus percent of voters). What they have left is nativism/racism and misogyny—otherwise known as immigrants and Pelosi. That’s all, folks. We know it because anti-immigrant fear mongering is the message GOP candidates have pushed in every must-watch election since Donald Trump took office: the 2017 gubernatorial contests in Virginia and New Jersey, Alabama’s special election for U.S. Senate last year, and this year’s special elections in Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district and Ohio’s 12th. And in every instance but one, that message was a loser. Only in Ohio did Republicans likely manage to eke out a win with the narrowest of margins by clinging to Trump’s demonization of immigrants.
Republicans want to run on immigration, you say? Okay, bring it. The Trump administration’s cruel and inhumane family separation policy has been nothing short of a slow rolling disaster. Even as I write, news outlets continue to run pieces about some 500 un-reunited children who the Trump administration ripped from their parents’ arms and caged in detention centers while deporting their parents from the country.
In July, the polling outfit Latino Decisions tested out how well the policy was playing to registered voters in some 60 districts deemed most competitive by electoral outfits like Cook Political Report and Sabato’s Crystal Ball. Fully 73 percent of voters in those swing districts said it made them “angry.” Additionally, the most recent Quinnipiac poll found voters said the issue would weigh heavily in their choices this fall, 64–34 percent.
Democratic candidates don’t need to be beholden to one set of issues dictated from on high when issues abound. It’s the 2017 Virginia model, where a bunch of Democrats running in districts the party normally takes a pass on ran campaigns that were profoundly district specific. Then-gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam ran a fine campaign alongside them but didn’t necessarily provide an overarching top-down message that knit them all together. Instead, the strength of localized campaigns helped increase turnout statewide and drive the party to historic wins on election night.
And importantly, don’t play defense on anything. Forget about the media spin. Forget about the desperate Republican attacks on Pelosi and liberals. Regardless of what arrows Republicans sling, there’s a better message for Democrats to either tout in a positive sense or sling back in a negative sense.
To borrow the words of a liberal icon who ushered in an era of historic change: Democrats have nothing to fear but fear itself.