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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Bowers: Dems’ Message Must Confront Class Injustice

In his Daily Kos post, “Democrats’ message in Wisconsin recall: don’t cut safety net to pay for corporate tax breaks,” Chris Bowers finds their ad message promising for Dems, not only in Wisconsin, but nation-wide. Bowers explains:

The closing television ads from We Are Wisconsin, the labor-dominated coalition group coordinating pro-Democratic independent expenditures in the Wisconsin recalls, takes exactly the same angle we are taking in our closing online ads (which start running tomorrow). The ads argue that this election is fundamentally about Republicans cutting vital aspects of the social safety net for the working and middle class, such as public education and health care, in order to pay for tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy. For example, here is their closing ad against Sheila Harsdorf:

We Are Wisconsin is running the exact same ad, changing only the names, against Republicans Alberta Darling and Luther Olsen. As such, this message of Republicans cutting public services to pay off corporations appears to be the centerpiece of their closing campaign. As Greg Sargent notes, Scott Walker also features prominently in these ads, so the message is perhaps most accurately described as “fighting back against Scott Walker’s class war.”
Still, even if it is largely tied into an unpopular figure like Walker, it is notable that a group like We Are Wisconsin has chosen a class war themed message at all for its closing ad. By their very nature, umbrella organizations like We Are Wisconsin do not often take risks. If this is the message that they are closing with, then it must have proven, quantifiably, to be their most successful message during polling and voter contacts.
That’s the real story here: the strongest possible Democratic message right now is that they oppose Republicans who would take from the working and middle classes in order to give to the rich. Further, given that all six of the Republicans facing recalls won their most recent elections in 2008 despite the national Obama wave, if Democrats are able to defeat those Republicans using this message in 2011, then it will stand out as perhaps the strongest Democratic message in a generation.

Bowers concludes with a pitch for ActBlue’s Wisconsin support campaign and adds, “Democrats should run on this message, and not just in Wisconsin and not just in this electoral cycle. This should be exactly what we stand for as a party, both in elections and in terms of what we deliver when we are in governance.”

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