There’s this idea that the Democratic party has a ton of infighting that makes it difficult to maintain a winning coalition. 538 recently put out data stating that the Democratic party is perceived by all voters as too liberal by 45%. Compare that to 37% of the Republican party being perceived as too conservative. Reminder that these are not partisan views, but are aggregate views from the general population. However, can this be used to solve the problem of how to unify the Democratic party?
The general population views the Democratic party as too liberal more often than it views the Republican party as too conservative.
The common refrain that the Democratic party needs a more unifying message is seldom accompanied by an example of what that message might be. Is it Universal Basic Income? Roe V Wade? Is it universal health care? Is it a “at least we’re not Republicans” approach? The Democratic party has the capacity to outvote the Republican party every election of every step of the way at the national level. It seems that the Democratic party is not firing on all cylinders. They are refraining from activating certain components of its electorate that would otherwise turn out to vote.
What is the Unifying Democratic Message?
Is the Democratic party holding back? Is there a message they could they produce that would be unifying but they are too scared to utilize?
The actual governing policy of a lot of the Democratic party is something like “A stable and accessible platform for success.” Politicians like Biden want to have a stable regulatory landscape that allows individuals and companies to make good predictions about the future business environment. This helps to create prosperity from good ideas that benefit that future. They generally want to make it so that the country doesn’t penalize immutable individual characteristics like race/gender/sexuality/disability. To the extent that government can enact programs to improve stability and increase access, they want to do it. To the extent that government can be the most efficient/equitable/beneficial actor in an economic sector, they will try to support it. Typically this should be incrementally as to not upset the balance of the economy.
Progressives can tend to want more intervention. Their desire for quick action is at odds with even a philosophy that aims for stability and incremental beneficial change. So I’m not sure that the party itself can create messaging that includes both desires.
How To Unify The Democratic Party
The national Democrats should 100% campaign on stability and incrementalism. A huge mass of people are only casual political observers. They mostly want the government to not mess with them or upend their expectations about their place in the world. Who can blame them. No one wants to feel uneasy.
For the Democratic party to make gains in our current political landscape, they need to adjust their rhetoric. They should take an incremental approach and frame the issues in a lens of economic practicality with social/environmental justice. They should start with free Pre-K, then trade schools, and then eventually college. Start with free preventative healthcare and then move on to specialized care/elder care. There are multiple ways of meeting certain policy goals without an all-or-nothing approach