June 6, 2015

Let's just say I'm glad David Brooks is not Hillary Clinton's campaign manager. While discussing her push for early voting in every state and for opt-out, universal voter registration, Brooks called the move "cynical," of course, and offered Clinton some advice on how to get her poll numbers back up.

JUDY WOODRUFF: So, meanwhile, David, Hillary Clinton, the front-runner, is out talking this week about voting rights, naming her Republican challengers one by one. Is this a smart tactic?

DAVID BROOKS: Yes. [...]

DAVID BROOKS: You know, I think Hillary Clinton, it’s a good issue for her. It’s an issue that mobilizes a lot of people, especially in the minority community. She’s clearly trying to reorganize the Obama coalition. And to do that, she really has to get the — at least similar turnout levels among African-Americans, among Latinos.

And so this is a good issue for her. I would say that it’s still problematic in this one regard, that her last campaign suffered because it didn’t have an overarching theme. It had a bunch of series of targeted policies toward specific constituencies. And sometimes you can pay so much attention to the polls and pick out this issue to get that — people and this issue to get that person, and that you lose an overarching theme.

And I say, now that she’s dropping in the polls kind of significantly now, at least for right now, that she needs some big, imaginative overarching theme to offer a new narrative, to counter the things that are dragging her down right now. And microtargeting in what looks like sort of a cynical way is not necessarily the way to get there.

JUDY WOODRUFF: I want to get to the Republicans, but what about this voting rights that Hillary is talking about?

MARK SHIELDS: I think David is right. It works politically.

But I think she’s right on the issue, Judy. I mean, we talk about American exceptionalism. Our founding fathers limited the right to vote to white male property owners. Over the next 176 years, it was expanded to include free black slaves, male, and then eventually to women, and then eventually to African-Americans, and 18-year-olds, and we have expanded democracy.

And one of the great frauds that Republicans have perpetrated over the past generation has been this idea of voter fraud, that people are showing up, 31 cases in 14 years, Judy, of people stealing identity or voting improperly.

So, I think she’s absolutely right. It is our responsibility to make voting available to as many people as possible who want to vote.

JUDY WOODRUFF: So, maybe she can get some traction on that.

Heaven forbid don't push for anything that's popular with the voters. We can't have that. I'd like for Brooks to give us an example of what that "theme" is supposed to look like and how it will make Republicans and the media stop attacking her, which is what's brought down her poll numbers.

Can you help us out?

For 18 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.