Democrats acknowledged in the party’s autopsy report of the 2014 midterm election that the party must win back white voters, particularly white Southern voters, after getting walloped in midterm elections that saw Republicans regain control of Congress.
Amnesty legislation is not mentioned in the DNC autopsy report though opposition to President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty threat helped Republicans take back control of Congress. Obama even delayed his executive amnesty until after the midterms after Democrat incumbents in red states begged him to give them a better chance of winning reelection. One poll of the midterm electorate found that 75 percent of voters rejected Obama’s executive amnesty and 80 percent did not want foreign workers taking jobs over Americans and legal immigrants already here.
The report, put together by a task force created after the 2014 midterms, was released during the Democratic National Committee’s Winter Meeting on Saturday. Democrats also conceded in it that because the party is seen as a collection of special interest groups, Democrats have also “suﬀered devastating losses at all levels of government since 2008 including,” 69 House Seats, 13 Senate Seats, 901 State Legislative Seats, 30 State Legislative Chambers, and 11 Governorships.
Nowhere have the party’s losses been more “devastating” than in the South. After Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) lost her reelection bid to Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) last year, the New York Times, in an article title, “Demise of the Southern Democrat is Now Nearly Complete,” observed that “in a region stretching from the high plains of Texas to the Atlantic coast of the Carolinas, Republicans control not only every Senate seat, but every governor’s mansion and every state legislative body.”
“In order to win elections, the Democratic Party must reclaim voters that we’ve lost including white Southern voters, excite key constituencies such as African American women and Latinas, and mobilize the broadest coalition of voters possible to not only recapture state houses but also Congress,” the report concludes. “In order to better understand how to bring this large coalition together, the Task Force recommends — in tandem with the National Narrative Project — that the DNC’s research delve more deeply into the barriers that keep people from identifying with, and supporting, Democratic candidates. This also includes working to better understand drop oﬀ and independent voters.”
But issues that “excite” key constituencies like amnesty legislation may ultimately turn off white voters even more. Gallup polling has found, for instance, that Obama’s approval ratings with working-class whites has hit a record low after the midterms while white voters are, on the whole, aligning themselves more solidly with Republicans. But Americans opposed to illegal immigration may not feel completely at home in a GOP that called for comprehensive amnesty legislation in its autopsy report of the 2012 presidential election.
To combat the “current GOP stranglehold on state houses, governorships, and congressional seats,” Democrats must, according to the report, “develop – and accelerate – programs at the state and local level to ensure that the next redistricting and reapportionment projects encourage Democratic growth” so Democrats can “reclaim state houses, win governorships, take back the House and Senate and protect the White House.” More detailed recommendations are expected in another report in May of 2015.
The report acknowledges that Democrats have a branding problem and the party’s lack of a “cohesive narrative” impedes the party from making more inroads with voters.
“No area of this review caused more debate or solicited more ideas than the belief that there is no single narrative that unites all of our work and the issues that we care about as a community of Democrats. It is strongly believed that the Democratic Party is loosely understood as a long list of policy statements and not as people with a common set of core values (fairness, equality, opportunity),” the report reads, acknowledging that Democrats are a collection of salad-bowl special-interest groups. “This lack of cohesive narrative impedes the party’s ability to develop and maintain a lifelong dialogue and partnership with voters.”
The report recommended creating “a National Narrative Project to work with party leaders,activists, and messaging and narrative experts to create a strong values-based national narrativethat will engage, inspire and motivate voters to identify with and support Democrats.”
The report opens by quoting the late Rep. Barbara Jordan (D-TX), but the late Texas Democrat’s views on immigration may be more reflective of the party’s problems with working-class white voters and inability to find that “cohesive” national narrative. In Congress, Democrats have been united in putting Obama’s executive amnesty over homeland security. They have united to filibuster a Homeland Security funding bill that would defund President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty while funding everything else.
Jordan, the late Texas Congresswoman who said that “deportation is crucial” for America’s immigration laws to be taken seriously, said that “it is both a right and a responsibility of a democratic society to manage immigration so that it serves the national interest.”
“Credibility in immigration policy can be summed up in one sentence: those who should get in, get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out; and those who should not be here will be required to leave,” Jordan said during a Congressional hearing in the 1990s when she chaired the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform. “The top priorities for detention and removal, of course, are criminal aliens. But for the system to be credible, people actually have to be deported at the end of the process.”
Perhaps because working-class Americans of al backgrounds are linking unchecked immigration to wage stagnation, a Paragon Insights poll recently found that a majority of Americans, including a majority of Hispanics, want tougher laws against employers illegally hiring illegal immigrants. A Gallup poll recently found that a majority of Americans are dissatisfied with the country’s immigration levels, and just seven percent of Americans even want more immigration.