Gov. Gavin Newsom On Democrats’ Messaging Problem

Back in June, after the activist radical Republican Supreme Court completed its most extremist term ever by overturning Roe v. Wade, reversing a fundamental constitutional right it had recognized for the first time in U.S. history, Ron Brownstein wrote at The Atlantic, The Democrats’ New Spokesman in the Culture Wars (excerpt):

On May 4, two days after Politico rocked Washington by revealing the draft of a Supreme Court decision to overturn the constitutional right to abortion, California Governor Gavin Newsom delivered remarks at a Los Angeles Planned Parenthood office—and triggered a small earthquake of his own.

Newsom pledged that, however the Court ruled, California would ensure legal access to abortion. But it was something else he said that really stood out: Republican-controlled states are moving not only to restrict or outlaw abortion if the Court allows it, he said, but also to ban books, restrict how teachers can talk about race, make voting more difficult, and target LGBTQ rights through measures like Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. In a sudden geyser of frustration, Newsom asked why Democrats at every level were not doing more to combat, or even call attention to, this sweeping offensive.

“Where the hell is my party? Where’s the Democratic Party? You guys paying attention to what’s going on?” he asked. “Why aren’t we standing up more firmly, more resolutely? Why aren’t we calling this out? This is a concerted, coordinated effort. And, yes, they’re winning. They are. They have been. Let’s acknowledge that. We need to stand up. Where’s the counteroffensive?”

In an interview at his office in Sacramento on Tuesday, Newsom told me he was surprised at how “resonant” a response he received from Democrats around the country to viral video clips of that moment.

Governor Newsom continued his Jeremiad over the Summer, and last night on MSNBC with Alex Wagner  continued to call for a more agggressive Democratic messaging strategy.

Politico reports, Newsom on Dems: ‘We have a messaging problem’:

Democrats have “a messaging problem,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday on MSNBC, less than two months out from November’s midterm elections.

“It’s not just a messaging problem, but a messaging problem has persisted in our party for years and years,” Newsom said in a recorded interview with host Alex Wagner.

“We allow these culture wars to take shape, and we are constantly on the back end.”

The discussion of Democratic ethos and strategy came just a few weeks out from November’s midterm elections.

While Newsom acknowledged the party has some substantive challenges as well, he said Democrats could do a better job messaging on issues like crime. For example, nearly all states with the top 10 highest murder rates are Republican-run, Newsom said, “and we’re losing that message.”

Asked whether President Joe Biden’s efforts to find a unifying national message was “a fool’s errand,” Newsom said, “I think the president’s learned that the hard way.”

“I mean, he’s hard-wired for a different world, but that world is gone,” the governor continued, saying of Biden: “He wants to find our better angels.”

Note: Abraham Lincoln spoke of “the better angels of our nature” in his first Inaugural Address, before engaging in a bloody Civil War against the treasonous Confederacy on terms of unconditional surrender. One can do both.

Newsom also addressed his recent ad buys in red states, characterizing the actions of Republican governors as frustrating and worthy of being challenged across state lines; he specifically called out Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for DeSantis’s recent flying of migrants from Texas to other parts of the country.

More from Crooks & Liars blog:

“I mean, there’s no doubt that states are on the front line of the rights — period, full stop. This Supreme Court has now made it crystal clear. — we focused ourselves more distinctly and that — we can argue, what are we doing in the conference on immigration reform, or on other issues, I’m not going to deny this stuff, the substantive challenges our party has as well, addressing those tough and pressing issues. It’s not just the messaging problem, but one that has persisted in our party for years and years,” he said.

Eight of the top ten states of the highest murder rates, all Republican states. How do Democrats not know that? In fact, it’s really eight out of ten. Georgia went for Biden because — it’s a clearly a Republican state … eight out of ten. and you’re losing that message? Crime is higher, as well as Texas here for the average citizen in Texas. It’s higher, crime is higher than in the state of California. 67% higher gun death rate in Texas. Why don’t we push back?”

Newsom said he was “optimistic” about our ability to turn it around.

“If we go on offense – that’s why I’m doing the billboard. That’s why I’m doing that. That’s why I’m doing the TV commercials in other states. Take it to them and take it to that damn social media. And whatever that thing is called Truth Social.

“I am talking to other governors. And some of them are my friends, some of them are becoming closer friends saying, ‘I wish I could do that. I really do like that you did that.'”

“What are they worried about?” Wagner asked.

He said they were concerned about their own reelection, their own issues.

“I get it, there’s different politics for me. But increasingly — or, ‘Let me just get through November. I really want to talk to you in the transition. Let’s go.’ I cannot tell you the number of elected officials in power — or positions that are soon to be — who are ready to go,” the governor said.

“The more you use pointed language against Republicans, the more you troll, and the more you take it to the doorsteps, I think that’s probably good for Democratic policies and priorities and politics. But what does it do to the ability of anyone to bridge the gap between left and right? Is that a fools errand?” Wagner said.

“At the moment, in my humble opinion. And I think the president has learned the hard way. I mean, he is hardwired for deferral. But that world is gone. And he has acknowledged that very publicly on multiple full occasions. You’re right, I think is very hard for him. Because it’s decency, his honor, his character, his moral persuasion. You have all those things, other tools in his tool kit. It’s who he is at its core. He wants to compromise. He wants to find our better angels. And he wants to find that sweet spot in terms of enhancing our values.

“But that’s not how the system’s design. That’s not what the Supreme Court represents right now. That’s not what these redistricting efforts represent right now. That’s not what — all the rights are being rolled back in real time — my mom was really upset with me. — she was, like you have to model better behavior. We’ve been doing that, and people are losing their rights. People are losing their rights! I can’t sit back — we have to push back. We have to hold them accountable. And yes we prepare ourselves for the great reconciliation. and that’s to come.”

He denied the intention behind those advertisements was promoting his profile ahead of an eventual future presidential bid.

“No, and then no, and then, no, no, no,” Newsom said in response.

Alex Wagner promised to play that clip back to him in every primary state in 2024.

Republicans are all about emotive performance politics, white grievance “own the libs” trolling. They have abandoned policy and governance. There has to be one responsible political party to do public policy and to keep the government running. Otherwise the country will descend into chaos. Americans should demand more than cheap theatrics and trolling from their elected representatives. This isn’t some damn reality TV show. There are real life consequences.

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