DCCC advice to Dems for the midterms: Don't 'sound like a jerk'

House Democrats are holding a retreat in Philadelphia today, trying to come to an agreement on how best to sell themselves to voters in the coming midterm election. NBC News reports that rather than uniting Democrats behind a common plan, the meeting seemed to emphasize their disagreements. Progressives think their best hope is to pass the Franken-BBB bill so they’ll have something to run on. Moderates think they just need to stop talking like preachy progressives.


Asked whether Democrats need to pass a Build Back Better-like bill to keep the majority, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, or DCCC, replied: “No.”…

Maloney’s advice? “Talk like real people.” Don’t “sound like a jerk.” And “be a human being in relation to your voters.” Or put more simply: Be “real people.”

It may not sound like Maloney is being very pointed but in context sounding “like a jerk” is a reference to some recent DCCC polling which found that “battleground voters think the party is ‘preachy,’ ‘judgmental’ and ‘focused on culture wars.'” So sounding like a jerk means sounding like a squad progressive. One squad-adjacent progressive seemed to agree with Maloney:

“We need visionary, historic leadership and new conversations that are smart and engaging with the entire American people instead of the dumbing down [of issues], and the way we’re framing these issues is worrisome,” said Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.). “We’ve got to trust the American people to be able to receive and engage in and guide us on what needs to be done.”

That actually sounds like a smart approach even if it is also an attempt by a far left congressman to hide a far left agenda. The leader of the progressive caucus had a different view of how Demos could win over voters:


Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, offered a different path: improve the lives of voters by passing parts of the Build Back Better Act, a smorgasbord of popular promises from President Joe Biden that cleared the House and stalled in the Senate over opposition from Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

“We will not talk about he who shall not be named or that which shall not be named — Build Back Better,” Jayapal told reporters Thursday. “It’s like Voldemort. We just don’t say those words. But we continue to work on the pieces of the legislation.”

The reality is that this likely has no chance of passing in the Senate. Just last week the Hill reported House Dems were once again frustrated with Sen. Manchin:

Manchin is proposing that his colleagues choose one 10-year program to focus on and devote the other half of revenues raised from tax reform and prescription drug reform to deficit reduction and fighting inflation.

He is suggesting limiting new spending to climate programs instead of an array of social spending initiatives that he says would likely get baked into the federal budget baseline for years to come.

Again, that was last week. You can probably guess what Manchin is thinking today after the latest inflation numbers came out. But for Rep. Jayapal, actually getting something passed isn’t the point.  “Give us bigger majorities and see what we can do,” she said.


Meanwhile Maloney is claiming Democrats have a better chance that most people expect this fall. That sounds like happy talk to me. Democrats have already had 30 members either retire or leave to run for some other office. If they really had a good chance of retaining power, that wouldn’t be happening. Unless inflation disappears between now and November, I think they’re in big trouble.

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John Stossel 5:30 PM | July 13, 2024