Democrat Critics Blame Party Problems on Messaging Issues

FILE - In this Nov.13, 2019 file photo, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., listens during a House Intelligence Committee meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington. House Democrats picked moderate Maloney on Thursday to lead their campaign organization into the 2022 elections, choosing him over a Hispanic rival after last month's …
Alex Brandon / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Democrat critics blamed the party’s problems on their lack of messaging less than a week after vulnerable House members showed their frustration with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and the “leadership” of chairman Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY).

Democrat critics are pointing fingers at the poor strategy and messaging from President Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr.’s administration, according to a report from the Hill. The report came after the administration had not been able to keep campaign promises like passing Biden’s “marquee legislation” — the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act (BBB) — which was the second part to the Democrats’ partisan infrastructure agenda. The legislation was effectively killed by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) over the weekend when he told Fox News Sunday he could not vote for the bill. At the same time, Biden is also facing rising inflation — a rate not seen in nearly 40 years.

Bill Galston, a one-time policy adviser to former President Bill Clinton who is now a senior fellow of governance studies at Brookings Institution, said, “I do think that the White House should go back to the drawing board and figure out, really think it through, what they want to say between now and next November.”

The former Clinton adviser also wondered what overall message the administration is trying to communicate with the American people: “What overall message do they want to convey? Not details of this or that but the overall message because that’s certainly gotten lost.” He added that “messaging is not a response to a crisis,” but “part of a strategy,” which is something that the White House needs to work on fixing.

Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons said that Biden’s vision on where to take the country seems to be lost, while the administration is in the middle of trying to fix multiple crises: “I don’t think America fully understands where Democrats want us to go.”

“The broader challenge is that Republicans have a narrative about the country and they’ve identified liberals and Democrats as the villains. The Democrats need to be more about the villains,” Simmons added, noting that Democrats need to talk about the country and “talk more about the people standing in the way.”

Regarding the economy, Democratic strategist Max Burns said, “Democrats haven’t really put together any kind of unified message on the economy that highlights any of the real gains we are making.”

“The White House’s answer to concerns about inflation has largely been to argue that Biden’s sweeping climate and social policy package will lower healthcare, childcare and other costs for American families,” the Hill noted.

Last week, vulnerable Democrats expressed to Politico Playbook their frustration of potentially losing in the midterm elections with the DCCC and Maloney in charge. When the committee reportedly “asked vulnerable Democrats to send [Politico] Playbook positive statements about Maloney,” they instead questioned the committee’s and Maloney’s messaging judgment:

[T]he member argued that the messaging from the committee is terrible, referring to Maloney and the committee targeting former President Donald Trump and blasting Republicans, instead of addressing “pocketbook issues,” which is what happened in Virginia.

However, some vulnerable Democrats claimed that the DCCC’s messaging problem goes further than Trump and attacks on Republicans. Another vulnerable Democrat argued that the committee should stay away from abortion rights as a campaign issue, noting abortion is “a lightning rod” in that member’s district. Meanwhile, the DCCC has previously sent countless press releases attacking Republicans on the issue.

In reality, vulnerable members told Playbook, they imagine Maloney could be using his DCCC chairmanship to elevate his political profile to climb the leadership in the Democrat party, even though it could be at the expense of other members’ political futures.

One of the vulnerable members also criticized Maloney. “I think Sean Patrick’s ‘leadership’ — and please use air quotes on that — at the DCCC is the reason why we should not have elected colleagues running that organization.” The member explained that when elected colleagues like Maloney are in charge, it’s a “vanity project.”

Jacob Bliss is a reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter.

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