With No Message, Democrats Struggle To Compete In State Races

With crucial 2018 midterm elections quickly approaching, including dozens of key gubernatorial races, Democrats are finding themselves increasingly desperate with no message on which to build their comeback following heavy electoral losses in recent years. A new report by the Washington Post highlights how Democrats are “struggling” to come up with a strategy for the midterm elections and “still don’t agree on how to best to approach them.” As their party remains plagued by growing divisions that threaten its chances of unifying for victory in 2018, Democrats are quickly running out of time to get their act together and reverse their recent misfortunes in state races across the country.

The Washington Post reports:

“Locked out of power in Washington, Democrats have turned their attention to trying to win back clout in the states. But they have a lot of ground to make up, not a lot of time to do it, and are running into a roadblock: themselves…

… instead of crafting a comprehensive strategy to win back dozens of seats before it’s too late, Democrats are struggling with how to balance the rush of attention from national groups that want to play in this field.

The most prominent newcomer on the scene is a super PAC launched by Obama campaign alumni and backed by superstar Democratic consultants. First reported on by Politico, Forward Majority says it wants to raise a ton of money, play in state legislative races Democrats normally don’t, and test the latest political tools and messaging strategies on state politics. And it had floated raising $100 million to do it.

To which Democrats already chest-deep in state legislative politics say: We appreciate the attention, but that sounds like a waste of time, money and resources.

National consultants often don’t understand what it takes to win at the state level, where there are 50 sets of campaign finance laws, 50 sets of finance regulations, filing deadlines and political landscapes. In fact, when money gets dumped into states without a strategy, it could backfire.

‘Top-down, one-size-fits-all approaches to state legislative races never work,’ said Dave Griggs, the chief political officer for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, or DLCC, Democrats’ main political arm for state legislative races. ‘It’s highly inefficient, and it ignores the political and legal reality in states…’

And that’s all building up to 2018, when most state chambers and 35 governors are up for reelection. Pile on the threat of redistricting, and it’s not hyperbole to argue that nothing short of the Democrats’ future or the next generation is on the line in the next two years of statehouse elections.

‘I consider 2018 to be of — I can’t overstate it — it’s critically important,’ said Brian Weeks, political director for the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees.

In the Trump era, almost all Democratic political operatives agree that the next two years’ worth of statehouse elections could make or break their party. But they still don’t agree on how to best to approach them, and the clock is ticking.”