Watching Morning Joe today was somewhat amusing because Joe and all his pundits spent their time portraying the current race as a huge set-back for Democrats — which requires a reckoning within the party and, of course, the rejection of any progressive ideas or candidates within the party. The chatter was sparked in part by reporting on a recent House Democratic conference call, where some moderate and progressive Democrats purportedly clashed with each other over the lack of expected Democratic gains in Congressional races.
This all seems a bit misguided to me for two reasons:
- Democrats will win the presidency, the House and still possibly the Senate, although they may fall two seats short in the Senate. Only Democrats could spin this success as a failure.
- Today’s Morning Joe was also a perfect representation of another phenomena: only Democrats are supposed to change their approach, fight internally and revamp policies when the country is fairly evenly split between the two parties.
In other words, why — particularly given these election results — is there no talk about how Republicans have to re-think their message and policies, or how Republicans “have to learn” how to win in cities or with non-White voters?
Democratic leaders need to calm down, enjoy the tremendous success of this election, and project confidence and success to the electorate. Then follow that up with responsible governance — the true hallmark of the Democratic Party.
There will be time — as there always is — for Democrats to explore and debate some of the internal, but narrow, divisions within the party.
For my two cents, I still think the principal deficit for Democrats lies in its messaging skills. For example, I always thought that it was a mistake to wrap up the worthy, nuanced subject of police and criminal justice reform with the slogan “Defund the Police.” But that is an argument about rhetoric, not substance. We don't need to act like we are a party in disarray — particularly when we just won the presidency, the House and still have a chance at the Senate. That doesn't sound to me like the Democrats have a set of losing policies.