All About that Bass (Base)

Focus on the base!

I’m all about the bass (base), no treble.

I was watching the June 1 episode of Real Time with Bill Maher  and noticed an interesting exchange that I think is worth commenting on.

The panel began to discuss the recent Georgia Democratic primary race for Governor.

Paul Begala, Political Consultant and Commentator, pointed out that Stacy Abrams, the winner, focused her campaign on the base.  Stacy Evens, Ms. Abrams’ opponent, reached out to the middle and former Trump voters, and lost.

The lesson from this race seemed to be that if Democrats want to win in November, they should focus on turning out the base.

But later in the conversation, Mr. Begala, stated, “a lot of those white people who voted for Trump voted for Barack Obama.  Democrats do have to go after them.”

So, which is it?   Focus on the base?  Or go after the middle, Obama voter turned Trump voter?  What should Democratic candidates do?

There is one major problem with the logic that, people who voted for Obama and then Trump, can be persuaded to vote Democratic in the mid-term.  The problem is that Obama didn’t run against Trump!

Obama ran against McCain and Romney.   Neither McCain nor Romney fanned the flame of racism as openly and intentionally as Trump.    Trump has polarized the nation.  While this polarized climate exists, reaching out to the middle is not going to work.

Now, to be accurate, the disappearance of the middle really started with the rise of the Tea Party after the first Obama election    Their effect was seen in the first Obama-era mid-term in 2010.   Democrats went after the middle, distanced themselves from Obama, and lost!

In my opinion, the middle has continued to become smaller and smaller during the Obama administration under a barrage of GOP character assassination campaigns.   (Death panels, Bhengazi, Hillary’s emails, etc).   The public either believed the GOP lies or saw through them.   The public chose sides, further eroding the middle.

The election of Trump has finished the job.  The middle is gone.

Another example is the recent elections in Virginia.  In Virginia over a dozen candidates aggressively pursued the base including a common stand on healthcare.  They won and now have pushed through Medicaid expansion which resulted in 400,000 Virginian being able to afford health insurance.

The lessons of the Georgia and Virginia are clear.  Focus on the base!


Sudhir Joshi

CCDP Communication Director