For such a party of know-it-all wonks, Democratic candidates are incredibly timid when is comes to educating the voters. Instead of using polling data as a guide to information gaps, Dems treat weak areas like quicksand and won't go near certain subjects. As Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy points out, that's exactly the wrong approach -- and it's why lots of them lost. Via the Daily Beast:
If his fellow Ds want similar results in the wake of a bloodbath of an election that was the 2014 midterms, Malloy says: “They can’t run as Republicans. Democrats can’t run away from what they have done. If there is a message out there, it is that we failed to embrace our successes because we thought that it would remind people that we are Democrats. Well, guess what? I am a Democrat. And I ran as a Democrat.”
Too many Democrats, in the face of national headwinds, ran as Republican-lite, Malloy said. And now many of those Democrats are heading home after long careers in public life, with some losing easily winnable races.
“The other people are the people who want to make the rich richer and, quite frankly, if that makes the poor poorer, that is OK with them. And if you don’t point that out, don’t be shocked that people get confused.”
“What I think happened is people underestimated the ability of the voting public to put things in context,” he said. “If you are going to have a contest and it is going to be about who is the grayest, then Democrats lose. But the world is more black and white than it is gray, and if you fail to point that out, then don’t be surprised that you lost.”
In Connecticut, Malloy was saddled with underwater approval ratings since his first year in office, when he instituted the largest tax increase in state history. As the campaign season heated up, his opponent hammered away on the issue. Malloy was unconcerned, he says.
“I always felt that when we got to a serious contest in October, we would be OK as long as we stayed true to our principles and talked about what we accomplished,” he said. “Tom Foley wanted it put out that there we raised taxes. And he talked about it month after month after month after month. But once people started to pay attention, I pointed out what we did with the money, which was lower the crime rate, increase graduation rates, invest in infrastructure, create a Housing Department, create an Energy Department, create a Department of Aging. We did all of these things. It was the right policy, and ultimately people came around.”
Democrats elsewhere, he says, were scared of making contrasts, of owning up to their record and saying, “This is why we did what we did.”
“You didn’t point out the difference between who you are and who the other people are,” he said. “Because the other people are the people who drove the economy into the ditch. The other people are the people who want to make the rich richer and, quite frankly, if that makes the poor poorer, that is OK with them. And if you don’t point that out, don’t be shocked that people get confused.”
Malloy also campaigned with Obama and won. Why? Because he's not apologetic and defensive. People smell desperation and they don't like losers.
This guy was born with severe dyslexia and motor problems, but look what he's done. With that kind of story, he should be on somebody's VP shortlist.