Democratic Myth 3: Democrats are good at campaigns.
Democrats are not good at campaigns. They’re good at some things in campaigns, but not holistically. In the last decade, we took over 1,000 offices from the Democrats, not because of voter suppression or redistricting, or other excuses. Republicans won them because we recruited better candidates, raised more money, gave our candidates some policy latitude to win in blue and purple places, and out-hustled you. The GOP’s farm team is richer, and deeper.
Democrats should take a hard look at why they lost; part of it was putting too much faith in in the power of stunt-casting at the top. Yes, Barack Obama jacked black turnout into the stratosphere. Yes, Hillary Clinton was beloved by the floating world of elite money and media, but didn’t make the national campaign into a moment where women turned out in numbers over the mean. Those things are only marginally helpful to Democrat Jane Jones running for state Senate and less so in an off-year election.
If Democrats demand across-the-board ideological fealty to the red-state vote-repellent issues of gun control, abortion, and higher taxes, they’re boxing themselves out of dozens of potentially vulnerable seats. Making the best the enemy of the electable is a recipe for a losing ideological monoculture. Without some political flexibility for the Democratic candidate pool they’ll likely find that in swing states and districts that “we hate Trump, too” is necessary, but not necessarily sufficient.