Almost every time I log onto Twitter, messages from the GOP are at the top of my feed. First thing I see. I follow the Democrats too, but rarely see any messages from the Democratic Party. I see plenty from individual electeds and candidates, Kamala Harris, Ted Lieu, Eric Swalwell, Barbara Lee, Jeff Merkley and Andrew Janz, to name a few. But where the hell is the Democratic Party?
Now, after the Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination fiasco, the Republicans are flooding Twitter with this message: We defeated the Democrats’ attempt at mob rule. We’re the party that upholds the rule of law.
Not only did the Dems not get out ahead of this fallacious messaging, but where is the Party’s response? Not in my Twitter feed.
How can the Democratic Party that claims to represent the smart people in this country be so politically deaf, so unable to anticipate, or communication inept?
Well, maybe Twitter’s rigged in favor of the GOP and Dems’ messages just aren’t making it to my feed even though I follow them. So I checked @DNC and @TheDemocrats. Here’s what I see.
@DNC: Their profile reads ”News about the future of our party. Follow @TheDemocrats to see how we're fighting back against the Trump administration.” Their most recent tweet is from April 2 and it’s about the Nebraska Democratic Party. Other tweets are about getting out to vote and “thoughts and prayers” not being enough. So I went to @TheDemocrats as the DNC Twitter profile recommends.
@TheDemocrats: Their profile reads: “This is the official Twitter account of the Democratic Party. Follow us to get the latest info on Democratic news and issues. They have a recent tweet. One hour ago, they posted:
“Midterms matter. And with 30 days left until one of the most important elections of our lifetime, Tim Simons, from HBO’s Veep, has a really important message for us on why it’s so important to head to the polls like never before. Take a look.”
6 hours ago, they posted: “Thanks, @AFTunion for standing up for teachers, first responders and so many more.”
7 hours ago: “Thanks to all of the employers who are participating in National Disability Employment Awareness Month and recognizing the critical role people with disabilities play in our workforce.”
Looking down their timeline, there’s a mild slap at Florida Governor Rick Scott on October 5 and more entreaties to get out and vote and general claims that we’ve got your back and we’re in this fight, and we’ll hold them accountable.
This is what the national Democratic Party puts out in the face of Republican claims that Democrats are about mob rule and tried to skewer a good man in the Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination. In the face of Republicans claims that they are the party of law and order. Republicans know how to get messages to stick. This one, so close to mid-terms, could be devastating
How can the Democratic Party that claims to represent the smart people in this country be so politically deaf, so unable to anticipate, or communication inept? Whatever the problem is, I’m appalled! Not only does their Twitter feed fail to inspire confidence, it ignores salient current issues, as if the Democrats exist in a vacuum and all that needs to happen is enough people get out and vote and all will be well.
Twitter, like it or not, at least for now, matters in the court of public perception. I’m on it because it reaches individual elected officials or their staffs, something that’s not always easy or feasible to do in person. National media pay attention to it, often quoting tweets. The U.S. President uses it to communicate directly, and his tweets are official communiques. So, I repeat, national Democratic Party, where are you?
Another reason the Democrats’ unwillingness or inability to message, especially proactively, angers me is because grassroots activists put tremendous amounts of time and effort into understanding and promoting issues, protesting, vetting candidates and knocking on doors to get those candidates elected. And they do it for free, volunteering their labor and money. The Democratic Party gets financial contributions and has paid staff. But how is the formal, institutional apparatus, “the Party,” helping to distinguish and defend Democrats? How is it complementing grassroots efforts? It should be paving the way. Instead, it appears to be in hiding.