To win in 2012, Democrats must rebrand themselves. Country music lyrics could help.
After the "shellacking" Democrats suffered in the midterm elections, many political consultants urged the party to revamp its communication strategy.
Better talking points are essential in modern politics, but they are only as good as the underlying convictions. That's why so many voters – including independents – favored Republicans this fall. They responded favorably to the GOP's simple, emotional pitch.
Democrats know why they lost. They know Americans do not trust their politicians very much, that they want more jobs and less government. They see that the tea party capitalized on these sentiments and, like a new red shirt in a load of whites, continues to bleed into electoral districts across the country. Ratifying the new START treaty and repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, though important, do not change these fundamental dynamics.
The main problem Democrats face in the next two years is not Republican obstructionism, but rather their own lack of identity. They desperately need a shared purpose, one that will lend coherence to their policy platform and help communicate their vision more effectively to voters of all stripes.
The longstanding challenge for Democrats is to figure out how to convince more Americans that a vote for the GOP is usually a vote against one's own economic self-interest. Democrats met this challenge in 2008 by running on "change" from unpopular Bush policies, but times are harder now and many are tired of the blame game.