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Democrats Divided Over New National Messaging

“One size doesn’t fit all,” one Democrat said when asked about his party’s “Better Deal” message.

Sanders Schumer Pelosi

Since national Democrats unveiled their 2018 messaging, “A Better Deal,” they received instant pushback, not just from reporters and Republicans, but from their own ranks.

Democrats mocked the cookie cutter approach, and several noted the 2018 messaging sounded a lot like the failed messaging of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

But now, some Democrats are saying they’re ditching the national messaging for a more state-specific variety.

“Just as there isn’t one kind of Democrat, there are not just one kind of message that works,” said California Rep. Jim Costa, a Blue Dog Coalition co-chair. “One size doesn’t fit all. We have an economically diverse country.”

It’s a harsh rebuke for Democratic Party leaders, Senate and House Minority Leaders Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who have come under fire for lacking a clear message that is more substantive than simply “anti-Trump.”

Rank-and-file Democrats were clear, however, that they would not be using the national messaging for the midterms:

While Democratic senators who are up for re-election in 2018 were briefed on the new message ahead of time, their campaign teams are unlikely to rely heavily on a line that ties them closely to their unpopular national party, said a number of strategists working on those races. A similar dynamic faces the party’s gubernatorial candidates: 27 of the contested seats are held by Republicans, including some in heavily conservative states where national Democrats are especially unpopular.

“If you’re not in the majority, there shouldn’t be a coordinated message,” said another Democratic consultant who is working on a wide range of 2018 races, acknowledging that arguing against a unified message is unfashionable at the moment.

After this squabble, and one over abortion that pitted the DNC and the DCCC on Twitter on Monday, it seems Democrats don’t agree on much these days.