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Have the Democrats finally found their voice?

Viewed my Twitter profile sports big blue wave iconI feel guilty for what I’m about to say: Democrats are idiots when it comes to messaging.

The Supreme Court has gone rogue. Inflation has made grocery shopping a painful experience. And mass shootings have become routine.

Who is to blame? Well, former President Donald Trump filled the Supreme Court with justices who reneged on their promise to uphold established civil rights law. At the height of soaring gas prices, Republicans in Congress voted against a bill aimed at preventing price gouging by oil companies. And the GOP’s opposition to common-sense gun limits has made assault-style weapons readily available to killers as they plan massacres.

So why am I so mad at the Democrats? Any substantial policy failures aside, Democrats are painfully weak at touting their accomplishments and defending themselves against an endless series of GOP attacks. For example, Democratic leaders have been widely criticized for supporting far-right candidates in primary elections. What needs to be said is, “The political strategy isn’t pretty, American democracy is hanging by a thread, and we have a better chance of winning the general election against crazed extremists.” Instead, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) offered a watered-down defense: “The policy decisions that are made there are made for the purpose of winning the election.”

Polite, well-measured commentary may win out in a law school debate, but it comes across as dull political rhetoric that leaves the Democratic base uninspired.

When the Supreme Court struck down 50 years of a woman’s right to an abortion, Rep. James Clyburn (DS.C.) – referencing the previously leaked opinion – said the actual decision was “anticlimactic”. We needed fire and brimstone, and a Democratic civil rights icon barely struck a match.

A big part of the problem is that Democratic leaders — like President Biden (79), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (71) and House Speaker Pelosi (82) — are aging, and the The agility required for impassioned speech is apparently less available. for them. Compare the geriatric guard to congressional Democrats like Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) or Rep. Katie Porter (D-California), who can not only say the right words, but make them compelling.

Beyond that, Democrats’ bipartisan efforts seem oblivious to the stark reality that we’re in a two-way battle for America’s soul and the other side doesn’t just want to rule us, they want us. switch off. That miscalculation left Democrats afraid to fully commit to the fight lest they appear too partisan.

After Republicans stole a Supreme Court seat by denying President Obama’s nominee a Senate hearing — under the absurd claim that a president shouldn’t appoint a judge in the last year of his presidency — the GOP pushed Amy Coney Barrett for a court seat just days before the 2020 election. congratulated Republican Committee Chair Lindsey Graham (RS.C.). Feinstein cooed about bipartisanship and hugged Graham — reportedly for a successful GOP Supreme Court heist. This decision made my stomach turn and infuriated other Democrats.

When Republicans falsely claim that Democrats support the killing babies after birth, are pedophile “groomers” and are responsible for school shootings because they uphold the separation of church and state, it is demoralizing for Democrats to see their leaders respond with lukewarm denials. We want to see a fire in the bellies of those elected to lead the charge against outrageous Congressional Republicans and their Tiki Torch base who want to replace American secularism with Christian nationalism.

A few Democrats have stepped up and gone on the offensive in a way that many in our party yearn for — one that resonates in the world of soundbites of short attention spans and 140-character limits on social networks. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-California) is leading the charge. When the Speaker of the Mississippi House said 12-year-old incest victims should not be allowed to terminate their pregnancies, Swalwell tweeted: “This. Is. Who. They. Are. MAGA Republicans want your young children to have government-mandated pregnancies. And as gas prices began to fall, Swalwell took the opportunity to criticize Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for abandoning his constituents last year in the midst of an ice storm that destroyed the Texas power grid: “Gasoline prices are so low that Ted Cruz canceled his flight and flew to Cancun.”

On the state front, when Michigan Democratic state senator Mallory McMorrow was falsely accused by a fellow senator of being a ‘groomer’, McMorrow delivered a scathing speech that annihilated her then accuser. that it was going viral with over 8 million views in 24 hours. . And California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom recently ran a TV ad against Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Republican conservative culture. Both Democratic and Liberal newspapers rejoiced. Good for Newsom, but bad for a party in which someone who’s “ready to proactively throw a punch or two” is so unusual it’s making headlines.

The past few weeks have teased a shift in the ever-boring Democratic message. The ‘normally stuffy’ White House Twitter account pounced on Republican members of Congress who complained about Biden’s student debt forgiveness, cataloging defaulted PPE loans given to GOP officials . It sent a jolt of joy to many on the Democratic base who called on their leaders to fight the fire with a torch, not a garden hose.

And in a series of speeches, Biden attacked the MAGA wing of the Republican Party, calling them “semi-fascists” who threaten American democracy. Clutching their pearls, the fake Fox News scandal machine claimed that Biden had declared war on half the country, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) called on Biden to stand down. excuse. Better not.

It’s not just the Democratic leadership that needs to change if we’re going to have any chance of surviving the midterms. The Democrats foolishly made a few of their own pearl tussles when Hillary Clinton called the most extreme part of Donald Trump’s base “deplorable.” We cannot demand a more aggressive approach from our leaders and then punish them when they comply.

Democrats need to stop getting sucked into the GOP guilt trip. It is a ploy that hurts the Party by turning Democrats against each other. Instead, let’s collectively quote a hungry Oliver Twist, who raised his empty bowl to the powers that be: “Please sir, I want more.”

Michael J. Stern served as a federal prosecutor for more than 24 years with the Detroit and Los Angeles Department of Justice, prosecuting high-profile crimes, including conspiracy cases related to international drug trafficking and organized crime. He has since worked on the indigent defense panel for federal courts. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelJStern1.