So the DNC issued a nine-page report of “preliminary findings” from a “Democratic Victory Task Force” that acknowledges the terrible outcome in 2014 and identifies “a number of areas for further study.”
The DNC thing ain’t all that, but if I were a Republican, I don’t think I’d spend too much time reminding people of the 2012 “autopsy report,” since Republicans have spent a good deal of time ignoring if not defying its findings on non-technical, non-money issues, especially with respect to outreach to minority voters. There’s this famous passage, for example:
If Hispanic Americans perceive that a GOP nominee or candidate does not want them in the United States (i.e. self-deportation), they will not pay attention to our next sentence. It does not matter what we say about education, jobs or the economy; if Hispanics think we do not want them here, they will close their ears to our policies.
The GOP as a party has promptly moved in the direction of embracing forced deportation as an alternative to self-deportation. But whatever….
The one nugget in the DNC report that I found both valuable and amusing is this:
It is strongly believed that the Democratic Party is loosely understood as a long list of policy statements and not as people with a common set of core values (fairness, equality, opportunity). This lack of cohesive narrative impedes the party’s ability to develop and maintain a lifelong dialogue and partnership with voters.
The Task Force recommends creating a National Narrative Project to work with party leaders, activists, and messaging and narrative experts to create a strong values-based national narrative that will engage, inspire and motivate voters to identify with and support Democrats.
I’m amused because I spent about a decade conducting “values-based messaging” training for state and local elected officials in a majority of the states. This was a program of the DLC that none of its critics much noticed, and that in the dozens of sessions I was involved in, never once elicited accusations of ideological heresy or “Republican Lite” tendencies, even among initially wary or even hostile groups. It basically taught people how to develop a message rooted in widely shared values and their own more specific, party-differentiating policy goals, in part to fight the tendency among Democrats to talk about programs first, not last. I’ll never forget one week in 2005 when I did training for state legislators in Alabama and Vermont, and both groups seemed to benefit equally.
Glad the DNC has caught up, though I hope they don’t think “values-based messaging” just means coming up with homey “narratives” of “real people.” Values-based messages are worthless if they aren’t authentic, so ultimately they have to be self-developed, not issued like military rations.