Regardless of the rosy picture painted by Democratic leadership and the mainstream media, the Democratic Party has serious internal issues that were undeniably evident in the recent elections, though there are only a few Democrats who are willing to speak openly about them.
One of those few is Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) who said in a recent interview that the House-focused Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee desperately needs to change its messaging “overnight” if it has any hope of remaining competitive in the future, The Daily Caller reported.
That admission comes in the wake of the November elections in which Democrats had been broadly predicted to expand their control over the House but instead lost at least a dozen seats and will likely just barely retain a majority over Republicans.
It also comes as Republicans, led by President Donald Trump, performed far better than had been expected among Hispanic and Latino voters and other minority voting groups.
DCCC needs to change
Rep. Cárdenas is one of a pair of House Democrats in the running to replace outgoing DCCC chair Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL), who resigned following the dismal election performance.
In an interview with Axios on HBO, the congressman explained how “frustrating” it was to him that his party had seemingly failed to connect with Latino voters. “If we did a better message in Spanish and English to a community that communicates in two languages, we are going to get them to nod their head and say, ‘I like this Democrat. That person’s fighting for me,'” he said.
He continued, “You can’t talk to a community without having culturally competent people who are doing the messaging and getting the truth out to them. And you can’t message to them in the last few weeks … You have to develop a relationship with them on the truth, and get that back-and-forth as soon as possible. We didn’t do enough of that.”
With regard to his bid to run the DCCC for the next term, Cárdenas said, “I would like to see the DCCC change overnight, literally, to make sure that we have culturally competent, diverse staff, diverse vendors, diverse campaign consultants, diverse candidates all across the board.”
The current leaderless DCCC pushed back against the congressman’s remarks with a response that focused solely on the “diversity” aspect of the party — which has been their singular focus — while completely ignoring the failure in the messaging.
Warnings about messaging
Axios noted that Cárdenas isn’t alone in calling out his own party over their failure in messaging. A few other Democrats — including those who both won and lost their recent reelection bids — have issued similar warnings over slogans like “defund the police” or policy proposals that can be effectively labeled as “socialism,” something that proved particularly harmful with Hispanics and Latinos from Central and South America who know firsthand the results of socialism.
Former Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL), who lost in a stunning upset despite her seat having been labeled as “safe,” recently posted a lengthy Twitter thread in which she outlined what she believed had gone wrong. Similar to Cárdenas, she knocked the national party for treating Latinos as a “monolithic group,” for not adequately addressing the real fears of socialism, and for thinking “racial identity is how we vote” instead of all of the other issues that voters care about.
It remains to be seen whether the Democratic Party will heed the warnings from its concerned members or will continue to be oblivious to their failings and further drift toward electoral irrelevancy.