The Democratic House of Representatives needs to “go bold” with their communications to consolidate their gains for the 2020 elections.
Choosing Nancy Pelosi to be the Speaker of the House is a necessary but transitional step that needs to be accompanied by a Democratic Party leadership development plan. This may entail some aging committee chairmen to cede their public statements to younger committee members. It may also require message discipline among Democrats to stay positive, stay on issues, and state what’s possible. This will minimize the old, angry men of the Republican Party who lack constructive ideas and legislative principles.
The Democratic Party must not allow the tired old methods of communication to continue. The old method has, for instance, Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer standing at a podium with dutifully silent and somber fellow legislators in a half-circle behind them as props. The Republicans do the same thing. How many times have we seen Mitch McConnell at the microphone flanked by Wyoming’s Senator Barrasso, Missouri’s Roy Blount, Texas’ John Cornyn, and others? It’s just old. It’s weak. It’s stifling.
The Democratic House leadership should hire a Press Secretary to issue public statements and hold press conferences regarding legislation. Consider it the truthful, not-angry alternative to Sarah Huckabee Sanders and White House messaging.
It is understood the Democratic House Leadership Press Secretary does not speak for all members but that person could, at the very least, give the status of legislation, acknowledge differences being negotiated in committees, state the objectives of the legislation, and honestly shine disinfecting light on the political process. For example, if Democrats want prison sentencing reforms and pass legislation, the House Press Secretary could apolitically state how the legislation is being held in the Senate and state the Democrats hope the Senate will also pass the measure. This lets the media and public know about health care reform, deficits, immigration reform, education, banking protections, and matters near and dear to us.
A professional Press Secretary could keep the Democrats message positive, non-political, and show the public that Democrats are the legislative adults in the room. This kind of coverage of legislation and the legislative process has not been done and would be a refreshing change from the pall cast by Pelosi, Schumer, McConnell, and soon-to-be appalling McCarthy and their semi-circles of sycophants.
The Democratic legislators would be encouraged to communicate to their constituents and appear on talk shows but, on a national level, the Press Secretary could transform the national political narrative from anger, entrenchment, obfuscation, and pettiness to something better – civil dialogue.
I believe the person best suited to pioneer the new Democratic House Leadership Press Secretary would be Josh Earnest. Look him up. He’s President Obama’s former press spokesperson. He’s familiar and friendly with the media. He’s relatively young and positive. In a phrase, he’s everything the Republicans are not. It could transform Democratic and governmental communication. The country is ready.