Posted by the perspicacious Doug Henwood on FB:
[This whole piece isn’t bad, but Lake’s comments are a highlight – Doug Henwood]
Celinda Lake, the renowned Democratic pollster, is very angry that her party failed to lay out an economic vision to contrast with Trump’s. During an afternoon symposium at Gallup’s headquarters in downtown Washington yesterday, where dozens of experts on public opinion gathered to discuss the lessons of the election, Lake noted that Clinton’s standing on questions about the economy kept slipping during the final weeks.
“Why would the Democrats stubbornly not have an economic message?” she said. “Sixty-seven white papers don’t make an economic message. Thirty-seven bills you’re going to introduce in the first 100 days do not make an economic message. What we as Democrats really have to deal with is the fact that we didn’t have an economic message. … Someone at a meeting I was just at said, ‘Well, this was the biggest con ever.’ Maybe. But one of the things we know in our business is that facts don’t matter. If the facts don’t fit the frame, people reject the facts – not the frame. … When we sound like we have a tin ear, we end up with Donald Trump as president.” (She also argued that racism and sexism worked against Clinton.)
Lake, who has worked for a long list of blue-chip Democratic clients, fretted that Trump will do a better job than Barack Obama at creating the sense of forward progress on the economy. She said one of her “everlasting disappointments” with the lame-duck president is that, “He didn’t do the Roosevelt thing. He didn’t engage in an ongoing dialogue about where we are and where we’re going. … In your deafening silence, you sound like you don’t get it. … Ironically, I think Trump might do more of that.”
“If Democrats don’t have something to offer on the economy, we’re not going to win elections,” she added. “That’s probably the single biggest thing we have to focus on. … You want to know who is going to win in 2020? Look at your crystal ball, and tell me who is ahead on the economy!”
There is irony that Trump won because of concerns about the economy and a yearning for change, the same mentality that in 1992 allowed Bill Clinton beat an incumbent who voters considered more qualified and experienced. Lake recalled a focus group that she conducted for Bill when he was president. She asked a voter in Los Angeles about a line he was using in his stump speech about how many millions of jobs had been created since he took office. “I know. I have three of them,” the woman replied. When Lake recounted that story to the president, he began stressing that more needed to be done to create good-paying jobs. “The candidates live in a pretty rarefied world. They don’t encounter real people that much,” she told the group of pollsters. “We provide a lot of that function.”