Dem Pollster to Dems: “Adopt Tea Party platform or lose in November”
That’s essentially the message Democratic pollsters Pat Cauddell and Doug Schoen send the Democrats in their Washington Post piece today. In fact that’s not “essentially the message”, it is the message. They begin by pointing out that Congressional Democrats have been deaf, dumb and blind to what is important to the American people. And, as they remind the Dems, it isn’t health care reform:
Recent polling shows that despite lofty predictions that a broad-based Democratic constituency would be activated by the bill’s passage, the bill has been an incontrovertible disaster. The most recent Rasmussen Reports poll, released on April 12, shows that 58 percent of the electorate supports a repeal of the health-care reform bill — up from 54 percent two weeks earlier. Fueling this backlash is concern that health-care reform will drive up health costs and expand the role of government, and the belief that passage was achieved by fundamentally anti-democratic means.
Put simply, there has been no bounce, for the president or his party, from passing health care.
Certainly no mincing of words there. Cauddell and Schoen go on to point out the present position of Democrats is precarious at best:
Monday’s Gallup report showed the president’s weekly job approval rating at a low of 47 percent. And as the Democratic Party’s favorability has dropped to 41 percent — the lowest in Gallup’s 18-year history of measuring it — this week’s Rasmussen Reports survey shows the Republican Party with a nine-point lead in the generic congressional vote. Moreover, independents, who are more energized than Democrats, are leaning Republican by a 2-to-1 margin.
So there, in a nutshell, is the hole Democrats have managed to dig for themselves in one short year. There are whispers going around of a 100 seat GOP turnover in the House being possible and Ron Paul – Ron Paul – is tied with Obama in another poll. Interesting times but not particularly good ones for the donkophiles.
The key to electoral salvation? Well it isn’t what you might expect, but it makes sense:
To turn a corner, Democrats need to start embracing an agenda that speaks to the broad concerns of the American electorate. It should be somewhat familiar: It is the agenda that is driving the Tea Party movement and one that has the capacity to motivate a broadly based segment of the electorate.
One small problem (and Cauddell and Schoen sort of acknowledge it) – the Democrats, to include many serving Congressional Representatives, have expended enormous time and energy in demonizing those who are in and identify with the Tea Parties.
Now certainly, what Cauddell and Schoen advise the Democrats to do isn’t unusual or bad advice. Co-opting the ideas of others is how the two-party system has managed to maintain itself without a third party being able to establish itself. But the Democrats have a very hard job ahead of them if they plan on suddenly playing nice-nice with the TP and adopting their agenda. It will, at this point, be seen as political expediency deployed reluctantly to help Democrats hold of the GOP hordes taking over the House.
But the broader message Cauddell and Schoen put out there is absolutely true. The way you win elections is to influence the “swing voters”, and to do that you have to tap into and support the issues that are important to them. The way to defuse the TP is to adopt their agenda – and as Caudell and Schoen lay it out, they feel that’s something the Democrats can do if they’ll just back off resisting the TP and embrace the following:
The swing voters, who are key to the fate of the Democratic Party, care most about three things: reigniting the economy, reducing the deficit and creating jobs.
These voters are outraged by the seeming indifference of the Obama administration and congressional Democrats, who they believe wasted a year on health-care reform. These voters will not tolerate more diversion from their pressing economic concerns. They view the Obama administration as working systematically to protect the interests of public-sector employees and organized labor — by offering specific benefits such as pension protection and tax reductions at the expense of all taxpayers.
Democrats must understand that voters will not accept seeing their tax dollars used to pay for higher wages and better benefits for public-sector employees when they themselves are getting higher taxes and lower wages.
So – economy, deficit and jobs and back off the unions now, unions forever perception (i.e. tell organized labor to keep a low profile).
Yeah – not going to happen. The Dems have absolutely no idea of how to stimulate economic growth or create jobs – at least none that fits their ideology. Tax cuts, a settled business environment that isn’t concerned about the impact of pending legislation, etc. In other words, lower the cost of doing business as much as possible from the end government controls. Instead we see money pumped into extending unemployment benefits and thereby worsening the second important concern of the TP – deficit. Democrats are now focused on regulating Wall Street which does not settle the business environment and or stimulate job growth.
And, of course, Obama in the White House and a Democratic Congress in session equals unionized labor’s promised day. And their priority is “card check” – another priority which doesn’t address the big three TP concerns (and three concerns I think it is safe to say most Americans would put at the top of their list).
Cauddell and Schoen conclude:
Winning over swing voters will require a bold, new focus from the president and his party. They must adopt an agenda aimed at reducing the debt, with an emphasis on tax cuts, while implementing carefully crafted initiatives to stimulate and encourage job creation.
Democrats can avoid the electoral bloodbath we predicted before passage of the health-care bill, but in one way: through a bold commitment to fiscal discipline and targeted fiscal stimulus of the private sector and entrepreneurship.
It was at this point I began to laugh. Not at Cauddell and Schoen – they’re right. But at the spectacle of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid pushing fiscal discipline, tax cuts and stimulating the private sector and entrepreneurship (while deserting unions and public-sector employees) is so outlandish that it provoked my involuntary outburst of laughter.
If what Cauddell and Schoen say is correct (and I think it is), Democrats are screwed in November.