In a Tuesday appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” former Obama campaign manager Jim Messina blamed Democrats’ under-performance in the 2020 elections on their lack of an economic message.
Messina explained to host Joe Scarborough why he believed down-ballot Republicans over-performed in states that President-elect Joe Biden won handily, and what he thinks Democrats should take from the experience. (RELATED: Obama’s Campaign Manager Takes Top Job With Conservative Prime Minister)
Scarborough asked Messina why he thought President Donald Trump lost the presidential race despite Republicans “wildly” over-performing in House and Senate races. An example of such a race would be the Maine race between incumbent Republican Sen. Susan Collins and Democratic challenger Sara Gideon. Gideon was polling ahead of Collins for months before losing by nearly 10 points.
“What — 60 plus days later, what conclusions have you drawn that Democrats need to take into the next session of Congress and the 2022 campaign?” Scarborough asked.
“First of all, the economic message,” Messina responded. “If you look at the people who voted in the election, if the economy was their most important issue, and it was for plurality of voters, they went Republican. Democrats didn’t have an economic message.”
Messina then said Trump had “dominated” the election cycle and drawn the party’s energy away from developing the “forward-thinking message” it needed to deliver. He then praised President-elect Joe Biden for doing precisely what he said is necessary.
“That’s why what Joe Biden is doing is so important,” Messina continued. “Doing an infrastructure bill, taking his party back to the coalition by focusing on the issues that voters actually care about.”
He closed with a warning to Democrats, saying they need a “wake-up call.”
“I think in the elections in November you had much bigger turnout than the models suggested on the Republican side, and then Democrats tanked on some of the key issues, and then Trump became the first to win the undecided vote, and the party won the undecided vote because people went back to his economic messaging,” Messina explained. “So my party needs to have a wake-up call to say how do we move the voters or we’ll lose the congressional majorities in November of 2022.”