Lessons from Georgia’s 6th District

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The race for the 6th district Senate seat between Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff is over and it’s time to take stock. We are engaging in this exercise because many people see this race as a bellwether for future elections. I won’t make any statements about Republicans because I think they are more politically competent than Democrats. Here are the lessons Democrats should learn:

1. Spending more money does not necessarily result in winning elections.
2. News surrounding the Russia investigation cannot replace a winning platform.
3. You still have a deep communications problem. You still don’t know how to connect with everyday Americans.
4. Use of negative ads is not necessarily detrimental to a campaign.
5. Negative poll numbers for Trump will not necessarily translate to a loss for Republican candidates in local elections.
6. You don’t know southern voters. You must draft a strategic plan that is active between elections.
7. Democrats need to draft counter-legislation and reveal them at the same time as Republicans.
8. The Democratic party must become a legislative factory even if they cannot synchronize the release of the bills with Republican bills. Democrats must draft their own jobs bill, a revised healthcare bill, and a tax bill. They should have the CBO score each bill. Democrats should also draft a plan to arrive at a solution to the Syria crisis and ISIL. Democrats must present themselves as a viable alternative and give candidates in local races a platform of substance to run on.
9. Democrats should stop being corporate pawns. Democrats continue to do the bidding of corporations against the will of their constituents.

I waited to offer this evaluation until I heard from Democratic leadership. They reacted to the loss predictably. A number of them praised Ossoff’s gains, but didn’t take the blame. Democrats should take this as their loss. You are losing elections in the Trump era!


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