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Final postmortem

This is from Mike Lux, who worked with the DNC this cycle, and so i think it's heartening that he seems to get it. If this is his bid for a bigger role influencing DNC strategy in the future, he's earned my vote. I'll pull out some quotes, but ofc you should read the whole thing.

One of the things that had me worried throughout the campaign... is that we Democrats made this campaign too much about Trump.. Too many of the HFA ads were focused on how dangerous and outrageous and crude Trump was, when in fact those very characteristics were fundamental to his appeal as a change agent. But it wasn't just the decisions at the top: one of my biggest frustrations when working with our allies who have big Facebook pages, as well as progressive movement leaders in general, was that so much of their energy was around mocking Trump and trashing Trump and responding to every Trump outrage rather than talking about why Democrats and progressives had the better ideas for the country. At the DNC, we tried to change this dynamic by our platform promotion project, but it was hard to get much attention for it.
...as much as it flies in the face of modern campaign thinking, I think we are going to need to move away from candidates being so carefully scripted and lacking in spontaneity...[fnord: that's the modern thinking?]
The Republican suburban women strategy failed...

Especially painful given that so much of our messaging, including the campaign's closing argument ads and speeches in the last week of the campaign, were geared to suburban moderate women. HFA softened Hillary's message, losing any populist issue edge as we focused on the dangers and sexism of Trump, and we talked about bringing everyone together. Trump's closing message, by contrast, while an anti-Semitic dog whistle to his alt-right base, was also perfectly targeted to white working class swing voters, hammering on trade and the hardship they have felt in the last 10 years and giving him the edge in Rust Belt states he needed to win this race. [fnord: the ad was directly cribbed from a Sanders ad, with added images of evil Jewish bankers]

We have to accept the fact as a party that the partisanship in this country has become so deeply ingrained that no matter how horrible the Republican candidate is, we are just never going to pick up very many Republican votes... We need to understand as well that with upper-middle class Republicans almost completely off the table for us, that when we go looking for swing voters, they will come mostly from working class households (including in rural areas, by the way, where both Bill Clinton and Obama won far more votes than Hillary did) where the best message is actually the same kind of populist economics that fires up the Democratic base. Conventional wisdom says we have to pick between the base and swing voters, but that conventional wisdom is dead wrong.

Trump got almost the exact margin with white people that Romney had the election before, 21 for Trump vs 20 for Romney. But our margin was seven points less with African-Americans; eight points less with Latinos(!); 11 points less with Asian-Americans; five points less with young voters; 18 points less with voters who have a different religion than Christian or Jewish; ten points less with unmarried voters; and five points less even with registered Democrats. Our margin among poor people dropped 25 fricking points.
I would add as well that we didn't do a good job speaking to and motivating Bernie voters. Now speaking of blame games, there's a lot of Democrats who are saying it is the Bernie movement's fault that we lost- that Bernie stayed in too long and/or ran too tough a race, that Stein and Johnson protest votes did us in, etc. My view is that such thinking is not constructive if we want to look forward and figure out how to win: our party and our candidates need to win over voters, rather than blaming them for not coming our way. The polling I saw consistently showed that about 25% of Bernie voters were either undecided, thinking of a protest vote, or not sure whether they would vote at all, and Hillary's overall messaging (with some exceptions) was not designed to appeal to those voters- again, it seemed the campaign was forever in search of those Republican women in the suburbs, not the more populist Bernie voters.

Based on who he is, Lux is talking entirely in terms of messaging, whereas i think equal parts of the problem were 1) the past 8 years of very little real change (and yes, Republican obstructionism played a part in that, but it's not an excuse) and 2) Hillary Clinton not being a credible messenger regardless of which policies of Bernie's she belatedly and half-heartedly adopted.

The good news / silver lining is the in-progress attempted takeover of the local Democratic parties and the DNC by Bernie supporters.

By fnord12 | November 15, 2016, 10:04 AM | Liberal Outrage