Sunday, May 19, 2024

Following Midterm Losses, DNC Releases “Autopsy,” Way Forward

Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democrat of Florida, speaks at the DNC's Leadership Forum Issues Conference in Washington, DC, on September 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGANMANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) on Tuesday released a 19 page report on the state of the Democratic Party calling for a “clear, values-based message” following the devastating 2014 midterm elections that have left the party infrastructure badly weakened.

While a similar effort dubbed the “autopsy” by the Republican National Committee (RNC) was conducted following the 2012 loss by former Governor Mitt Romney to President Barack Obama in the general election that focused on policy and voter outreach, the DNC’s effort, called the Democratic Victory Task Force, was more focused on communications, down-ballot re-structuring at the state level and leadership development as opposed to directional changes on party policy.

“We believe that we don’t need to change anything from a policy standpoint to win as Democrats,” said Maria Cardona, a Democratic strategist and principal with the Dewey Square Group who worked on the report. “What we need to fix is infrastructure.”

Echoing those sentiments was US Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the DNC Chairwoman, who said “we needed to do a deep dive about what structural changes we could make at the national party to address a broad range of things.”

The task force, led by out-going Democratic Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, highlighted some startling realities for the party.

In a statement Governor Beshear, who will be replaced by Republican Matt Bevins in the Governor’s Mansion, noted that as a party “we have to continue to be successful in winning presidential races but we have not concentrated enough at the same time at state and local races. The report backs up Beshear’s comments noting that “since the 2008 election, the Democratic Party has lost 69 House seats, 13 Senate seats, more than 900 state legislative seats, 30 state legislative chambers and 12 governorships.”

Added Beshear, “this sounds like Politics 101 and it is Politics 101, but we need a refresher course.”


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