Mollineau: For Democratic Presidential Hopefuls, a Trail Paved With Regret

Mollineau: For Democratic Presidential Hopefuls, a Trail Paved With Regret

 

Rodell Mollineau, the former head of Democratic super PAC American Bridge and now a partner in the strategic communications firm ROKK Solutions, agrees that voters are more forgiving on policy inconsistencies than we give them credit. “A media consultant told me something that I’ve always remembered,” Mollineau told me. “Americans don’t care if you flip as long as you flip in their direction.” What’s most important says Mollineau, is that a candidate looks and feels authentic in that apology. Another Democratic strategist agreed, saying that issues themselves aren’t what matter most to voters. Instead, it’s a candidate’s character and core convictions that are most critical. Telling voters that you are sorry for a vote you cast in the past bad only if it’s clear that: 1) you aren’t really sorry; 2) you are only doing it for political reasons.

A number of strategists, including Mollineau, argued that the current crop of apostasies (immigration, gay marriage, criminal justice reform…) are nowhere near as problematic for Democrats in the 2020 primary as the vote in support for the Iraq war was for Hillary Clinton in her run against Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary.

The 2018 election results also suggest that a proven ability to beat Donald Trump will be more of a top tier concern to Democrats than ideological purity. However, one party insider notes, that electability “means different things to different people..Everyone thinks their favorite candidate is the most electable.”