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The Democratic Party's messaging is still failing to convince voters, says strategist

Jul 10, 2017

The Democratic Party's stinging loss in the 2016 presidential election has led to much hand-wringing and talk about coming up with a better message that resonates with voters.

Jen Eyer, senior vice president at Vanguard Public Affairs, thinks the latest Democratic messaging attempts prove the party still doesn't "get it."

For example, take the new sticker campaign recently unveiled by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the campaign arm for House Democrats. One of the slogans reads: “Democrats 2018: I Mean, Have You Seen The Other Guys?”

“Democrats around the country are craving a real message,” Eyer said. “We’re not looking for jokes, we’re looking for a real direction for our party.”

Eyer said this failure to focus on the party’s own message is the reason Democrats saw such low voter turnout in 2016. National party operatives use the same cookie-cutter strategies for local race after local race, and it isn’t working.

“What you get is this very vague messaging that’s designed to appeal to everyone, and it ends up appealing to no one,” Eyer said. “There are no bold ideas because we’re trying to appeal to this or that corporate donor.”

The Republican Party has an inherent advantage in messaging, she said, because it has already mastered the way to present the moral explanations for its platform. But more than that, Eyer said the Democratic Party should remember the first lesson of elections: All politics is local.

“It can’t be one size fits all, can it? No, it can’t,” Eyer said. “Voters in Alpena are very different from voters in Ann Arbor.”

Eyer recently wrote a blog post on this topic. Check it out here.

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