Inflation’s biting. Roe’s fraying. Dems are still trying to connect with voters.
Democrats in Congress are rolling out ways to tackle inflation. But they’re struggling on another front: Talking about it with the public.
Only after Rep. Katie Porter put bacon in her cart at her local grocery store recently did she notice that its price had spiked to $9.99 a pound. Reluctantly, she put the package back.
It was a dose of reality that Porter, a California progressive and single mother of three, has long understood. But she’s not sure all of her Democratic colleagues share her interest in connecting to average Americans’ experiences outside the Beltway.
When Porter gave an emotional speech about how inflation has been hitting her family for months during a private House Democratic Caucus meeting last week, she said it seemed like the first time the personal toll of high consumer prices had sunk in for some lawmakers in the room.
“Too often, Congress recognizes issues too late,” Porter, a top GOP target this fall in a swing district, said in an interview. “I had a colleague mention to me, ‘We’re not seeing it in the polls’ … Well, you don’t know what to ask.”
For Porter, the episode revealed how much work Democrats still need to do to assure voters they understand everyday anxieties, particularly inflation’s strain on family budgets. She’s not alone: Some Democrats have warned for months their party is falling short when it comes to communicating to an increasingly exasperated public.
But Biden also spent much of his time explaining the causes of inflation — using policy-heavy rhetoric that some Democrats who watched the speech compared to an economics lesson more than a political rallying cry. He echoed, as he did earlier this week at a private fundraiser in suburban Maryland, how little his administration can do to immediately fix the situation.
As one Democratic aide put it bleakly, on condition of anonymity: “If you’re explaining, you are losing.”
Inside the House Democratic Caucus, there’s been a concerted push for members to use the power of their own emotions and life experiences to galvanize support for policies in the Capitol. In February, for instance, Democrats took part in a session during the caucus’s messaging summit specifically around “storytelling” and “creating an authentic connection with voters,” featuring oral historian and StoryCorps founder, David Isay.
Let this sink in.
A Democrat Congresswoman discovered that inflation is terrible when it hits her right in the pocket book.
She tells her Democrat colleagues that their heads are too far up the Beltway polling asshole and that real people are having real problems.
They decide the problem isn’t that their policies are dog shit that are making things worse but that they are not communicating their strategy effectively enough.
“Yes, instead of curing your cancer we cut your arms and legs off, but you’re not understanding the message of how that’s actually better for you.”
These people are so fucking terrible at their jobs it boggles the mind.