When the New Democrat Bargain Fails

It’s very Faustian. Long-time readers will know that one of the big problems the Democratic Party faces is its consultant class. They typically foist non-progressive candidates on rank-and-file Democrats. The problem is, as Ryan Grim summarizes here, that they’re not very good at their jobs (boldface mine):

This week Rachel Cohen and I took a close look at House Democrats’ underperformance in 2020 and specifically at their poor showing among Latino voters. Almost always left out of that conversation is the role of campaign consultants, who make millions crafting messaging and running and analyzing polls and focus groups. It matters who those people are, how they make the rest of their income, and what their background is. Generally, they come up through the ranks of party committees like the DCCC or DSCC, then they leave and form a consulting firm. Next their deputy gets promoted to replace them, and the deputy sends business to the consulting firm, knowing that when they leave and found a firm, their deputy will do the same.

While this isn’t good news for progressive policy, there’s an argument to be had that, at least in competitive seats, preventing a Republican win is worthwhile. Unfortunately, they don’t win the close races (due to gerrymandering, if you have a lot of clients, many of your candidates will win, because you could nominate a pile of dogshit and it would win). Case in point, when Republican Rep. William Hurd retired, there was a chance Democrats could pick off that seat. So the Democratic Party consultants backed Gina Ortiz Jones, and emphasized that she’s a Latina.

Only problem is that Gina Ortiz Jones identifies as Filipina (and previously had referred to herself as Gina Jones). But she almost won, so 2020 rolled around and the DCCC went all in on her. One part of the strategy was to tie her Republican opponent to Trump. Again, another misstep: this race occurred in a district Trump won, so this was precisely the wrong strategy. This time Gina Ortiz Jones was crushed.

Did people lose their jobs after all of this? Of course not! The consultant behind this strategy wound up working at a consulting firm, where she can offer similar advice for more money.

And the congregation responds: This is yet another reason why we can’t have nice things.

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