Saturday, August 20, 2022

DCCC Chair: Democrats ‘Have A Likability Problem’ Tied To Their Use Of ‘Latinx,’ Focus On Pronouns, Gender

DCCC Chair: Democrats ‘Have A Likability Problem’ Tied To Their Use Of ‘Latinx,’ Focus On Pronouns, Gender

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair Sean Maloney repeatedly admitted that Democrats “have a likability problem” as he discussed whether his party is out of touch with voters.

The DCCC chair sat down for an interview with The New York Times editorial board on July 25, during which deputy editor Patrick Healy questioned Maloney whether he sees “any issues where elected officials are out of step with where voters are right now.”

“I’m wondering about immigration, or L.G.B.T.Q. rights, or another issue,” Healy asked. “What do you see? Where do you see them out of sync, out of step?”

Maloney responded by saying: “Well, the way I’ve often put this to my colleagues is to say, if our positions and our policies are so popular, why don’t they like us more? That is a good question.”

The New York Democrat said there is “broad agreement” within Democratic ranks “that we have a likability problem.”

“And my answer to that is that we move really fast and we are really passionate about the solutions we want to bring,” he said. “And we sometimes don’t give people enough time to understand what we’re doing and to bring them along.”

He continued: “I think sometimes we’re really clear on our own priorities, and we don’t ask, what are the priorities of the people we represent? If I’ve had any success in the Trump district, it’s because I try to take seriously the priorities of the people I represent, not just tell them about my own.”

Pressed for examples, Maloney said that Democrats could be more intentional about their work in “rural areas” or with farmers, veterans, and people “in communities that have not benefited from the global economy.”

“We could talk like human beings, we could build a relationship with voters,” he said. “We could be more comfortable on the factory floor — or at least as comfortable on the factory floor as we are in the faculty lounge, if it can sound that way. I think that most of the voters that we ask about this think that we’re out of touch, they think we’re elitist, we think we are better than they are. And they don’t like it.”

He added again, “And we have a likability problem.”

The way television hosts like MSNBC’s Chris Hayes speak is not how Maloney’s voters speak, the Democrat said.

“If I’m talking to a sheet metal worker in Pine Bush, he doesn’t talk about communities of color, he doesn’t use the word ‘rubric,'” Maloney said. “He doesn’t talk about — the first-generation folks working in Newburgh don’t use the word ‘Latinx.’ Most people don’t understand who are cisgender, why they need to put pronouns on their email signature.”

Maloney emphasized that his party has “good and valid reasons for why we believe things and care about things,” but noted, “I just find that we need to spend a little more time building a relationship with voters that is more respectful and more patient with where they are and to enroll them in the changes we want to make.”

“And I don’t have the luxury of not doing that, because I’m a gay guy with an interracial family — I’m raising my kids in Putnam County, which voted for Trump by 20 points,” he added. “It’s not an accident that — it’s not an easy thing to be the first gay member of Congress from New York in a Trump district. And it just requires, I think, a level of listening and humility that I think our party isn’t very good at.”

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