In an interview published with the NY Times, Brian Stryker, a Democratic pollster is asked what he would tell a Democrat candidate running for office.
Q: So if you’re advising a Democratic client running in 2022, what do you tell them?
A: I would tell them that we have a problem. We’ve got a national branding problem that is probably deeper than a lot of people suspect. Our party thinks maybe some things we’re saying aren’t cutting through, but I think it’s much deeper than that.
Q: What is that branding problem, in a nutshell?
A: People think we’re more focused on social issues than the economy — and the economy is the No. 1 issue right now.
Q: What drives this perception that Democrats are fixated on cultural issues?
A: We probably haven’t been as focused on the economy as we should be. I think some of that is voters reading us talking about things that aren’t economic issues. Part of it is just a natural reaction, too: We’re in an economy they feel is tough. It’s hard for them to think we’ve solved problems when they see so many.
Q: How do Democrats balance a commitment to core constituencies while at the same time addressing economic issues that voters are confronting every day?
A: The No. 1 issue for women right now is the economy, and the No. 1 issue for Black voters is the economy, and the No. 1 issue for Latino voters is the economy. I’m not advocating for us ignoring social issues, but when we think broadly about voters, they actually all want us talking about the economy and doing things to help them out economically.
Stryker also warned Democrats trying to link other Republicans to Trump didn’t work in the Youngkin race and likely won’t work again.
He said ” The thing that these people disliked about Trump was that they didn’t like Donald Trump the person; it wasn’t Donald Trump the constellation of policies. That may very well have been the best message that McAuliffe had, but if we are in that position again, we’re going to lose a ton of races. We’ve got to have something better.”