Spurred by recent electoral results in Virginia and elsewhere, a Democratic pollster is urging the party to fix its “national branding problem,” or risk losing more elections.
After Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin’s triumph over Terry McAuliffe last month, Third Way, a Washington D.C.-based think tank, tasked pollster Brian Stryker with figuring out why Virginia had gone red in a state President Joe Biden had won by 10 points.
- Stryker’s findings, culled from focus groups made up of Virginian Biden supporters who had gone over to Youngkin in November, were concerning.
- In a memo that has since circulated widely among Democrats, Stryker identified a series of national challenges, including a “weak national brand” and a sense that the party is too focused on social issues.
- He also warned that a failure to right the ship could lead to disaster in the upcoming mid-term elections.
“We’re realistic about our ability to message our way out of this problem. People aren’t feeling good, and they’re always going to blame the party in power for that,” Stryker and his co-author, Oren Savir, wrote. “But if people don’t think we’re tackling economic issues, are putting government + closures before parents on schools, and only want to make the election about Trump, we’re only amplifying the natural dynamics of a midterm election.”
On Thursday, The New York Times published an interview with Stryker, in which explained “what he learned from the voters and the course correction he believes Democrats must take.”
Education: Stryker said the Virginia governor’s race became a place “for all of these frustrations for these suburban voters, where they could take out their Covid frustrations in one place.”
The Democrats have a “national branding problem.”
It’s hard being the party in power.
The economy trumps social issues, even for Latino, women and Black voters.
Making elections referendums on Donald Trump doesn’t seem to work.