A new ABC/Washington Post poll asked 1,000 Americans a simple question: “Do you think the Democratic Party currently stands for something, or just stands against Trump?” The responses, though not too terribly surprising, will probably not be welcomed in the halls of the DNC.
Only 37% of those surveyed said that they believed the Democrats actually stood for something while a whopping 52% said the party had become a force for the anti-Trump movement and little else. That kind of image might keep the ratings afloat in the Democrats’ favorite media outlets (like the two that conducted this poll) but it doesn’t bring people out to the voting booths. Certainly not in 2018, where Democrats have some pretty serious delusions about taking Congress back from the Republicans. And likely not in 2020, seeing as how Hillary Clinton ran on an anti-Trump message and completely fell flat on her face.
Speaking of voters, that gives the Democrats even worse news. When you narrow the poll’s results down to those who are registered, 35% think the party stands for something while 54% think they only stand as obstructionists to the Trump agenda.
Is anyone really going to go through the trouble to vote for candidates from a party that’s all about “We hate Trump” and nothing more? Probably not. They might flick over to MSNBC in the evenings for that kind of talk. They might eagerly read the latest op-ed in the New York Times. They might even renew their subscription to the left-wing magazine of their choice. But when it comes time to vote, people want to hear a message that speaks to them personally. How will this person improve MY life? If the message isn’t there, neither is the vote.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY) said the party was crafting a mission statement that could attract voters back to the ranks.
“That message is being worked on,” said Crowley, who is one of the top-ranking Democrats in the House. “We’re doing everything we can to simplify it, but at the same time provide the meat behind it as well. So that’s coming together now.”
Oh, we can’t wait!
Some analysts think the Democrats will still do just fine in the midterms; historically-speaking, the party in the White House tends to struggle when these elections come around. And yes, that may be the case next year, especially if Republicans keep bungling things like the Obamacare repeal effort. We’ll see.
But the fact remains that the Democratic Party is in ideological shambles, with their voters pulling the politicians in (at least) two directions. And that’s not even counting the hundreds of thousands of Rust Belt Democrats who decided last year that they’d had enough of the party altogether. Democrats are focusing on an anti-Trump message because it’s the one thing that unites most of their voters…but unity and motivation are two different things.