July 25, 2017
They've had nine months to think about it, but Democrats are still clueless about what cost them the election. In April, they proved how little they'd learned, walking back an official DNC endorsement when they discovered their mayoral candidate was pro-life. That hard ideological line didn't play well with voters in Nebraska -- any more than it resonated with the American people the previous fall.
Despite the tongue-lashing from Democrats who want to roll back the party's over-the-top extremism on things like abortion and religious censorship, party bosses like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) seem intent on following the same failed path that cost them the White House. In a desperate attempt to reboot their movement, the duo unveiled what they hoped would be a new chapter in Democratic messaging with their "Better Deal" vision for America. "When you lose an election with someone who has, say, 40 percent popularity, you look in the mirror and say what did we do wrong?" Schumer said, speaking on ABC's "This Week" Sunday. "And the No. 1 thing that we did wrong is... we didn't tell people what we stood for."
Actually, Schumer is mistaken. The problem is that Democrats told the people what they stood for -- and it disgusted them. From her shameless support of taxpayer-funded abortion to her elevation of groups that illegally sell baby body parts, Hillary Clinton was determined to make November's election about an extreme social agenda that's increasingly out of touch with women. And she paid dearly for it. With Planned Parenthood cheering her on, Clinton rushed to embrace the "abortion-ization" of the Democratic Party without any regard to the political consequences. Which, on November 8, were many.
For the first time in history, the DNC platform called for overturning the Hyde and Helms amendments, demanding that federal taxpayers fund abortion-on-demand at home and abroad. (Not only did DNC leaders want abortion to be a routine medical procedure, they wanted Americans to pay for the entire world's!) That in itself was a crystalizing moment for the country, which could only marvel at the sharp contrasts between the two parties. Then, there was the eight-year legacy of faith-based hostility, which the Left seemed intent on continuing -- along with a side helping of LGBT radicalism that culminated in the president opening school bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers up to kids of both genders.
"The focus starts on economic issues," Democrats said. "That's where the American people are hurting." But the economy isn't where the Left lost voters -- values are. Calling half the country a "basket of deplorables" for their conservative roots, liberals proved they were anything but the tolerant party they claimed to be. Ultimately, the agenda went off the rails, and Midwest voters didn't stick around for the crash. If you ask the Democratic base in the Rust Belt, they'll tell party bosses exactly where they went wrong. In the aftermath of the election, local party chairmen and union bosses were repulsed by the direction of the campaign. "Look, I'm as progressive as anybody, okay? But people in the heartland thought the Democratic Party cared more about where someone else went to the restroom than whether they had a good-paying job," Ohio's David Betras complained. As even the Washington Post pointed out, "The local chairman feels very strongly now that Clinton could have won Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan if she had just kept her eye on economic issues and not gotten distracted by the culture wars."
Persuading the American people that the Democratic Party has changed will take more than a pizza slogan. But don't take our word for it. Even the Left is mocking Pelosi and Schumer's campaign. MSNBC's Chris Jansing mocked the Democrats' new message -- "better jobs, better wages, better future," insisting it "doesn't roll off the tongue." According to Breitbart, "She agreed with critics that the Democrats' new message also does indeed sound like 'the better ingredients, better pizza' slogan that Papa John's Pizza uses." Meanwhile, the GOP had a field day with the strategy, even plastering Pelosi's face on pizza boxes. Making matters worse, MarketWatch calls the idea a "dud." "Democrats will have to do better than this if they want a hit with American voters," analysts said.
Step one? Rejecting the failed social agenda that got them here in the first place.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.