Reviews | How Democrats Should Sell Themselves to Avoid Election Disaster

For the publisher:

Re “Can Democrats find a winning message?” (Column, Sunday Review, October 10):

Ezra Klein’s discussion of David Shor’s predictions of impending disaster for the Democratic Party in the upcoming Senate election was both fascinating and hopelessly incomplete.

On the one hand, he did not discuss the specific seats at stake and threatened in 2022 and 2024. Local issues and the attractiveness of individual candidates will certainly play a role in the outcome.

Second, if a decent part of the Biden agenda finally becomes law and the pandemic subsides, isn’t there a reasonable prospect that a significant part of the electorate will want to keep it going? We keep hearing how popular the long overdue infrastructure renewal and safety net improvements are.

Perhaps the ingrained drawbacks Democrats face in the electoral system can be overcome if people feel better about their lives. Messaging may well be less of a factor than Mr. Shor fears.

Larry Simonberg
Bronx
The writer was a spokesperson for Mayor Ed Koch of New York City from 1983 to 1989.

For the publisher:

I’ll tell you why David Shor is wrong, like many consultants I have met who often have a brand rather than a unique skill: 1) Focus groups and surveys are not real life. 2) Human beings are irrational actors and their motivations change in unpredictable ways. 3) Most voters don’t vote for issues; they vote for candidates who appear powerful, responsible and decisive.

Donald Trump explains all of these things. Most of the issues it highlights are unpopular in polls and focus groups, but it got over 70 million votes in 2020 and will most likely win in 2024. Democrats need passionate and vital candidates , no responsive data jockeys.

David Billotti
Rockville, Maryland
The writer is a communications consultant.

For the publisher:

The Trump base is not recoverable by the Democrats. Donald Trump exposed the undercurrent of anger, fear and racism that lurks in our country and made the expression of those sentiments acceptable within the Republican Party. Worse yet, he pushed this base to vote. And there is every reason to believe it will happen again.

Opinion debate
Will Democrats face a mid-term erasure?

The Democratic Party’s only hope is to appeal to moderate, traditional, and rational Republicans who have already abandoned Mr. Trump and his henchmen. Political communication alone does not hold the power David Shor thinks it does. Fulfillment is what is needed.

Democrats must rally behind President Biden’s agenda, ditch the hugely progressive wishlist, and embrace legislative initiatives on infrastructure and build back better. Then, and only then, will they have a product that the American people are ready, perhaps even eager, to buy.

Jay adolf
new York

For the publisher:

As a marketing and communications professional for 45 years, I think the message from Democrats over the past 10 years has been weak and chaotic. There have been no simple and consistent messages from the Democratic National Committee. In contrast, Republicans have had the discipline to do just that, albeit poisoned by lies.

Want a winning message to fight the Big Lie about the stolen election? Start a campaign with a catchy slogan like “Trump did nothing for you” and hammer out that message over and over again.

It is a battle for hearts and minds. These voters have been lied to, used as pawns, as dupes. It will take time, but once they figure it out, they will react with fury against Mr. Trump.

Randolph W. Hobler
Norwalk, Connecticut.

For the publisher:

Did I read this article correctly? Do Democrats have to hide who they are to win the election? What a damning and unintentional self-accusation.

Richard sybert
Seattle

For the publisher:

Re “120,000 children lost to follow-up due to Covid” (press article, October 8):

I am generally a fairly stoic person, but the tremendous pain reflected in the story of 120,000 children who lost a parent or guardian has shattered me.

To think that there are Americans running around screaming about the injustice of getting vaccinated or wearing a mask when the smallest shoulders among us carry the heaviest burdens, one really wonders what is happened to the soul of our country.

Have we become so callous and vicious to one another that a tragedy like this is not enough to bring us together so that we can fight this scourge as one man?

Michael scott
San Francisco

For the publisher:

Re “Unable to walk, she needed to run” (Science Times, October 5):

Elisabeth Rosenthal’s confession that her race is “more spiritual than pragmatic” struck a chord in my exercise ethics. As a longtime daily runner – three miles around the block with our fox terrier, Socks – I understand Dr. Rosenthal’s need to run, even after an accident.

After two hip replacements over a decade ago stopped my daily runs, I began to substitute another exercise. It doesn’t work – not the elliptical, cycling, or weight training.

The only close relative of running that I have found is aqua fitness classes. The lively music and the smiling compatriots of the water allow a mental escape from the daily grind and the anxieties of life. But this is a facsimile, not the real gold standard.

So I wish Dr Rosenthal a quick return to running and recovering the “emotional sustenance that running provides”.

Mary lake polan
New Canaan, Connecticut.

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