We don’t need no education. We don’t need no thought control. No dark sarcasm in the classroom. Teacher! Leave them kids alone! Another brick in the wall Pink Floyd
Knock, knock. Who’s there? Your constituents. My constituents who? That’s what we’re afraid of.
Ever since November 9, 2016, in the aftermath of the cold water douche that was the election of Donald Trump, pundits have bemoaned the fact that the Democrats have no recognized single leader, and no coherent national message. Oh, noz! Who will tell us what to think and do. Full disclosure. I’m not a pundit, I can actually tie my shoes unassisted, and chew with my mouth closed. And the only problem I see is not the lack of a national message, rather the insistence on having one jammed down our throats.
Pop quiz! What has happened for the last 16 months, while we’ve been aimlessly floating around in a circle, without a coherent message? Lessee. Oh yeah, we’ve flipped 39 state seats from Republican to Democrat, and a US Senate seat in Alabama. Is there one person reading this that has not whined to coworkers how much better you could do your damn job if your boss would just keep his big, fat nose out of it?
In November of 2017, Democrats in the Virginia state election stepped up to challenge GOP incumbents in seats that had gone uncontested for so long that the “D” on the ballot was covered in dust. And a good number of them won. In many cases they beat the entrenched GOP incumbents by two or three to one in fundraising. And they did this while the DNC sat on its hands for the most part. Neighbors stood up, and their neighbors supported them. The same thing was true in Alabama, where the DSCC sat on their money so long, they got an interest statement from the bank.
Right now, the US congress is less popular than the Ebola virus, and the national parties are not faring any better. People hate congressional gridlock, and they hold the parties responsible for the rancorous partisanship that keeps anything from getting done. Having the very people they hold responsible for political carnage we have telling them who they have to vote for is going to fly like Icarus right now.
Washington has been broken for too many years, and is clearly incapable of fixing itself. As a result, ordinary citizens are stepping up to volunteer to take an industrial sized mop of Spic-N-Span to the place, and their neighbors are all for it. And their putting their money where their mouths are, chipping in to buy them a ticket to DC, and to pay the shipping for the mop and bucket.
This mood was on full display in the Texas Democratic primaries last night, in two different spotlights. In one, the top fundraisers in three highly competitive districts that the DCCC has an eye on flipping in November failed to even make the runoff elections. The DNC, and its two failing kidneys, the DSCC and DCCC, need to learn quickly that cash is no longer king. People are no longer being swayed solely by television and radio ads, they are motivated by specific, often local issues, and they are listening to what the candidates themselves are saying about fixing the problems, not sound bites about what despicable shits their opponents are. If Beto O’Rourke pulls off the upset of Ted Cruz, he is going to do it because he is showing up to listen to residents in towns that haven’t actually clapped eyes on a Senate candidate since Christ was a carpenter. In the current political climate, at least on the Democratic side, a DNC seal of approval can actually be problematic for a candidate, it connotes a connection to the very organization that people distrust.
The second spotlight was even more embarrassing. The DNC took a giant piss into the back of a running turbine engine, and now they’re looking for a good dry cleaner. The DCCC dumped oppo research into a race against one of their own candidates, Laura Moser, whom they felt would not be competitive in November. Moser came in a strong second, and will be in the runoff. I could have told Tom Perez that this was the wrong move to make if he had only asked me. In 2016, I did a candidate diary for the primary opponent of Debbie Wasserman Schultz in Florida. In the comments I was politely but firmly advised to keep my damn opinions to myself and let the constituents decide the matter. Even Trump and the RNC were given this message in Alabama when they tried to put their thumb on the scale for Luther Strange in the Senate primary runoff. If the Democrats want Moser to win the runoff, all they need to do is to keep dumping shit on her head, that’s just the way this works. See Judge Roy Moore for confirmation.
Look, 2018 is not a Presidential election, you don’t need a cohesive national message. You don’t even need to take potshots at Donald Trump. People already know that Trump is a brontosaurus sized turd, that’s why they show up in the streets with protest signs if he forgets to button his suit jacket in the morning. Democratic voters are creating their own motivations to show up and vote, and it’s not a national slogan on a bumper sticker. If the Democrats want to build a breakwater for the hoped for blue wave in November, all they have to do is to keep trying to channel where the water goes. You wanna take over the House? Let the constituents choose their own candidates in the primaries, free of interference. Then quietly ask the candidates what support they need, quietly provide it, and try to keep your national fingerprints off of it. Remember, Hey! Hey! Hey! Leave them kids alone!