Following Jon Ossoff’s lackluster performance in Georgia – considering the massive financial and media investments that were made – the Democrats are wondering where they go from here and how to start using their supposed grassroots outrage to win local elections. So far, it hasn’t happened yet.
From Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman Tom Perez’s perspective, Jon Ossoff is in a much better position than Republican Karen Handel. He said that Ossoff is going into the June 20 runoff with 48 to 49 percent of the vote. That might be true, but if you look at all the Republicans’ support collectively, they had about 51.9 percent.
When asked about strategy going forward, Perez just kept saying, “Organizing, organizing, organizing.” Here’s an exchange between him and a Washington Post writer:
EUGENE ROBINSON, “WASHINGTON POST”: Hi Tom, it’s Gene Robinson.
PEREZ: How are you, Gene?
ROBINSON: So what are you doing? What is the Party doing on the grassroots level around the country? The Democrats have lost 2/3 of state legislatures, 2/3 of governorships. The future stars of the party have to come from the grassroots.
ROBINSON: What are you doing at the grassroots?
PEREZ: Absolutely. Organizing, organizing, organizing. We’ve got to get back to basics, Gene, you’re absolutely right. We need a 50 state strategy plus the territories. And that’s why we’re building a Democratic National Committee whose mission is not simply to elect the President of the United States; we are here to elect people from the School Board to the Senate.
And one of the best ways to do that is to build strong parties. And to have an organizing presence 12 months a year. Joe knows very well — down in Florida after 2012 they built an organizing presence on the Republican side, 12 month a year, four years straight. They found about 130,000 Republican voters who were off the political grid. And that made the difference in 2016.
That’s exactly what we’re doing as Democrats. Getting out there, getting back to basics. Talking to voters, registering voters, working with candidates. Working with partners like Emerge who are recruiting female candidates at a remarkable clip, helping them to train candidates. That’s what we have to do, the basics of party building, the basics of organizing.
When you get back to basics you do well.
The Democrats are in need of an extreme branding makeover. The Democrats are the essence of the Washington insider. Whether Trump is an actual ‘outsider’ now or not, he won on Americans’ perception of him as an anti-establishment outsider. People are sick of plastic establishment types (from both parties), and it doesn’t make sense for Democrats to be anything but insiders.
Perez was the one who exclaimed at a recent event that “Republicans don’t give a s*** about people!” That kind of messaging doesn’t appear to be working.