Democratic Party leaders just don’t get it



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Cliche Post Mortem

There have been so many op-eds complicating the 'angry/anxious white man deserves more attention' narrative this is trying to push. I guess you missed them. The Rust Belt Guys that HRC lost by a sliver have been the guiding light of this party forever. What this piece reminds me is that white male progressives have led the Left for long enough. The dudebro political traditions Nancy Pelosi is supposedly spurning should not be the center of our party focus. It is time we guarantee women candidacy through party quotas like the rest of the democracies of the world. 1 in 5 legislators are female here, embarrassing. All our citizens deserve representation. If we are going to solve the many issues we face out there we need new non-straight-white-male ideas. Not more of this one dimensional analysis.

Martha Rule 109 days ago

Democrats in Congress have nothing to do with it

Democratic leadership in Congress has nothing to do with the problems the Democratic Party is currently facing. What did Democrats in Congress do to make the Democratic Party of Wisconsin a joke? What can they do to make it less of a joke? Nothing and nothing. Democrats do need new leadership, but at the national party level. Specifically, they need a full-time chair dedicated to rebuilding the state and local parties, many of which are floundering. Democrats already serving in Congress can do nothing to assist that effort other than raising money.

John 109 days ago

Wrong again.

The future of the Democratic Party is not in Ohio but in the West, meaning California (Pelosi), Washington, Arizona etc.
You tell us a lot about Tim Ryan except where he stands on issues. Isn't that important? Ryan is rated 10% by NARAL, indicating a pro-life voting record. Not surprisingly, he has a poor record on gay rights too. He's big on stricter criminal punishments. Plus, Ryan never votes against an expanded military. This is the alternative you want us to embrace? No thanks.

Ryan is conservative on women's rights issues (and that's not where the electorate is) and was pro life until recently. 110 days ago

What racial identity politics?

I think the Democrat's biggest problems were Debbie Wasserman-Schulz, Donna Brazile, and messaging tailored more for Baby Boomers and Mondale/Ferraro voters in a repeat of the 1984 election. Hillary ran an amazingly tone-deaf campaign while pulling a lot of strings to manipulate the mass media in her favor, and didn't realize that the mainstream media is becoming less and less relevant to more and more people across the political spectrum. The truth about the corruption of the DNC came out (for which the Democrats blamed the Russians???!!) and it became clear that no messaging or massaging could erase the obvious fact that the Democrats were continuing to say one thing and do another. Are you then saying that Democrats should just be better messengers and massagers?

What I'm curious about, Dave, is this whole notion of identity politics, which you've now mentioned in two articles without being specific about what you mean. I say this, because "identity politics" to me sounds like a a lot like the "special interests" that President Reagan liked to deride. He inverted that phrase so that instead of referring to the corporate interests that the phrase had previously referenced, he used it to talk about people of color, women, public aid recipients, and other people whom he felt didn't belong at the table.

Granted, Hillary's "basket of deplorables" was a clueless comment that was bound to backfire. But beyond that, just how prominent was this "identity politics" in Hillary's campaign? What are some concrete examples of this? It seems to me that you are hammering on something that didn't exist in the first place. If the Democratic Party had not been cozying up to the corporate sector for the last quarter century and faking left while lurching right, the party would not have had to worry about losing the white blue collar vote in the first place. But any person of color will tell you that economics isn't the only cause of marginalization, and that's clearly more true now than ever before. Will you just say that you're not a racist or are you going to take take an actual stand against racism?

After telling people to be "realistic" and admit that Bernie had no chance, you then "admitted" that you were "feeling the Bern." Are you still saying that Bernie Sanders is the future of the party?, Or do you want to court white blue collar voters under the auspices of a party still funded by the likes of Goldman Sachs?

I ask you this because you were once mayor of one of the most racially and economically segregated cities in the U.S. Where will you be when the ICE agents start engaging in SWAT-style raids on your neighbors homes? Will you be by their side or telling people to cool down on the identity politics rhetoric?

Haven McClure 111 days ago


This analogy between Clinton vs. Sanders and Pelosi vs. Ryan is weak. Moderate Tim Ryan is no Sanders. Tim Ryan's only case for himself was he was a Democrat from a Rust Belt state, plus the party just needed a change, so why not? Well, the reason why not is because it's not clear what advantage there was in appointing him as Minority Leader. Call me crazy, but I don't think legions of Trump voters were impatiently waiting for an Ohioan to rise to the top. Besides, the Democrats didn't lose quite as badly as Cieslewicz suggests. Clinton lost the election, but the Democrats still gained senate and house seats and Clinton won the popular vote by, according to the latest count, 2.67 million votes. It's not clear either what Pelosi did to the party that so discredits her. The rout of 2010 was blowback for the passing of the Affordable Care Act, which was a risky move indeed for Democrats but was worth the loss because it got 22 million insured. The electoral costs were a chance Pelosi was willing to take because passing the ACA was an incredibly rare opportunity. As I'm concerned, that makes her more deserving of her leadership, not less. As for the party's embrace of so-called identity politics, I say that if the Democrats abandon their commitment to fighting for racial justice, equal pay for equal work and LQBTQ rights, the party can expect to lose as many votes as it gains in picking up working class whites in the Midwest. Do the Dems need a change? Absolutely. While issues that concern women, POC and other minorities must stay in the game, the party could do a lot more to bridge those causes into an overarching message for economic and social equality. The party needs bolder, less wonky policy ideas than Clinton's exhaustively researched, tiresomely detailed policy platform. Democrats need to stop relying on wealthy corporate donors and adopt a mission of grassroots-level engagement that is sustained year in, year out, not just once every four years. Tim Ryan, however, was not the change the party needed. Until we have a more worthy group of party leaders to step in, let Pelosi stay.

Nathaniel Cohn 111 days ago

Pretty Superficial Assessment

Nancy Pelosi was one of the most effective speakers of the house in recent history, pushing through raftloads of legislation in the two years she had to function. To focus on her as the reason the Democrats suffered historic losses is simplistic in the extreme. The issues faced by the party do need to be faced and assessed in a very careful way, but they are complex and require a lot of soul-searching. To be sure, it's easy to look at Trump's victory and forget that dozens of governors and state legislatures, not to mention congress and -- sad to say -- eventually the supreme court, will now lean far right, making any future strategy for the liberal party a very long-term one indeed. Yes, there needs to be a top-to-bottom look at the party and hopefully people with more insight than Dave Cieslewicz will lead that discussion.

John 111 days ago

Mayor Dave is spot on

Couldn't agree more.

Liz Dannenbaum 112 days ago


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