He was asked first, but while the 116th Congress is preparing to take power and as an indeterminate number of people make decisions on the presidential race in 2020, the questions are more relevant than ever: who will speak for the Democrats and what they will do ? you have to say?
There is no shortage of voices or messages in the aftermath of the mid-term elections last month. The challenge for the democrats will be to produce someone whose voice eventually elevates above the others with a message that unifies a contagious and, more importantly, part that offers some hope of starting to break up some divisions in a truly divided country.
The question of the message arrives in several parts. A part is the substance, both in the type of bold features that are missing and in the refined details that distinguish their proposals as credible and feasible. Many Democrats argue that they are not so divided on issues, that their differences are overestimated by both their Republican opponents and the media.
Perhaps this will prove to be the case. Perhaps the elected democrats will find their substantial balance and consensus without rancor. Perhaps they will come to the center-left rather than to the extreme left, as some democratic establishment believes, even if the center-left position will be more liberal than a considerable margin compared to what it meant the last time they won the White House.
If that consensus finds popularity and enthusiasm among the progressive roots it is part of the testing process that is coming. If the last few years have shown anything, it is that politics today is played both within and outside party organizations. Many grassroots progressives who are not at all comfortable in exercising their political instincts within the party will try to see where the newly promoted congressional democrats and the presidential aspirants come down.
Another, and equally important, is how to deal with President Trump, rhetorically and stylistically, at a time when presidential politics in particular concerns personalities, celebrities and other intangible assets.
Do Democrats want a fighter, who will assume the president directly as he has faced all his opponents and critics? Want a guerrilla who can get under the skin of the president without engaging in a constant Twitter war with Trump? Or do they want a conciliator, who leaves Trump to be Trump and looks for an ambitious and affirmative message, with the risk of being punched by a president who has shown the ability to diminish every rival who has come to him?
In the next few months, the main voice of the Democratic Party will be Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), Who is on track to return as a spokesperson for the House, presuming he can overcome a last obstacle when the full House will take its leaders to January. Assuming that you become a speaker, you will be at the center and center of the nation, because the party's energy will be hosted for the time being in the new Democratic majority in the House.
Hairy can be displayed in two ways. It is a party leader, whose favoritism among the Americans is negative, polarized at the national level as skillful as an internal player. Secondly, she is a person who has been the target of millions of dollars in negative ads during the mid-term elections that seems to have almost no impact on the overall result. The Republicans tried to defeat the Democratic challengers by demonizing Pelosi and it did not work.
Pelosi, however, will not even be the only voice among Democratic MPs. There will be new committee chairs to listen to, now with big platforms to make news and define their own party. They can raise the party or they can embarrass her.
Beyond those elected democrats in Congress with seniority and power, the new 2018 Class is large, diverse and robust and a probable new force. The newly elected democrats are starting to decide where to focus their collective energies, but they are determined to leave their mark on the Assembly, on the party and on the country.
Within this new class, there are progressives such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, who have clear substantial priorities that may not mesh with the leadership. She is an expert in the arts of social media and has already shown ability to draw attention to progressive messages and causes. The voice of Ocasio-Cortez and that of some of his colleagues excite and resonate with the progressive activist throughout the country, eager to move the left-most party and hungry to embrace a new generation of democratic leaders.
The Democrats won a big electoral victory last month, more than some have predicted and bigger than it seemed to be the case of election night. They won in no small part because Trump gave energy to many voters, especially women in the suburbs, who woke up after the 2016 elections, surprised, upset, depressed and decided to get out of the margins and be more directly involved and actively than ever before in their lives.
They also won, many of them believe, because the candidates of the Chamber focused on health care – especially on the question of pre-existing conditions, on which many incumbent Republicans were vulnerable because of repeated but unsuccessful attempts to repeal 39; Affordable Care Act – and on political reform; both themes are on the agenda of the Democrats in the next Congress. But without the control of the Senate and the Oval Office, they do not have the power to turn these ideas into law.
For a while, the new House controlled by the Democrats will define the party. But the legislative branch has rarely been the best platform to produce a clear and coherent message for a party.
Soon the Democratic presidential contenders will begin to come forward, and they will be competing with the party's congressional wing for attention. The field will be great, although in the end maybe not quite as big as some of the handicap lists might suggest. Remarkable last week was the announcement of two Democrats on those lists that they would not run.
One was Michael Avenatti, the lawyer who represents the adult film actress Stormy Daniels and who drew the attention of some grassroots Democrats when he suggested that he could run like a bully they wanted, that he would go to blows with Trump. The other was someone whose style is the antithesis, the former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, whose approach has always been lower and edifying.
If Democrats want a fighter like Avenatti, there will be others to choose from. If they want someone like Patrick, there will be others of that mold. If they want age and experience, they will have it. If they want youth and perhaps inexperience, they will have that too. If they want someone in color, they will have choices. If they want a woman named after them, they will have choices.
So there will be many choices, and what will separate the candidates from one another will be not only how much money, but also how they cleverly develop a message that can excite the activists of their party and also be credible and attractive to the general elections. The question is: what is the message they want for the summer and the autumn of 2020, what is the message that sounds good in January and February of 2019?
Those that may seem easy choices will all be, since candidates evaluate appeals to specific constituencies – which will have competing priorities – as they draw a path towards the majority of an electoral college, not just a popular victory.
Many would like to believe that this is relatively simple, that it can be all things for all voters, who can easily bridge the activist centered base on the coasts or in large cities with other voters in other places. The reality could be very different.