After pledging to compete everywhere ahead of the next election, multiple DNC members told The Daily Beast they have privately sounded alarms about the organization’s strategy heading into 2020, emphasizing what they view as Chairman Tom Perez’s inability to reach swing voters in Midwestern battleground states who voted for the president. A handful of Midwestern targets were critical to Trump’s general election success in 2016.
Jim Zogby, who co-chairs the DNC’s ethnic counsel, a group that represents people across different ethnic, racial, national origin, and religious identities, says he has been pushing Perez and other party leaders to expand its outreach to voters in the same areas that Trump successfully captured: Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and—a Democratic sore spot in post-2016 politics—Wisconsin.
The focus still seems to be on progressives while many within the DNC are screaming for outreach to get to general election independents. Identity politics seems to be backfiring.
“In Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, if we do events in those states that focuses on everyone else but them, that breeds resentment,” Zogby said. “That’s why [former Vice President Joe] Biden and [Sen.] Bernie [Sanders I-VT] do well, because they talk to those folks.”
Zogby’s chief concern—raised by several other current DNC members who spoke with The Daily Beast—is that the Trump campaign is already reaching swing voters while the Democratic Party is overwhelmingly focused on expanding their existing base.