In the aftermath of their midterm electoral defeats, Democrats have done a postmortem on how they spent their money and what they need to do differently going into the 2016 cycle, Politico reported.
Top donors and operatives convened last week at a meeting of the Democracy Alliance and came up with five key ways they hope to improve in the next round of campaigning.
Deliver a cohesive, national message
Democrats tried to localize their messaging during the 2014 campaigns, but believe the approach was misguided. In the next cycle, operatives say that campaigns and outside groups need to coordinate a national message.
"Even though Democrats touted their strategy throughout the cycle, in the end, none of the messages were powerful enough to break through to a broad enough audience," Politico said.
Sources told Politico that the message will likely be focused on the economy.
Avoid spending on lost causes
The top 10 Democratic outside groups, including party committees, spent at least $280 million on all federal races in 2014, but some believe too much was spent on losing races, such as Arkansas and Kentucky.
It was thought that outside groups should have focused on a few races where the party had better odds of winning, such as North Carolina.
"Senate seats are all important, but realistically at some point you have to focus on the races that are really still in play," one operative told Politico.
Hire more minorities
There was a belief among party insiders that more minorities should be hired as consultants to reflect the racial make-up of the party.
"Given that 45 percent of Democrats are people of color, the party has a shockingly low level of expertise in how to campaign in a racially charged electorate," Steve Phillips, a San Francisco lawyer and major donor, told Politico.
"The party needs candidates and consultants with expertise in navigating the racial minefield that is U.S. politics."
More focus on state-level races
Republicans won three new governorships and more legislative chambers than at any time in history, Politico noted, and Democrats believe they need a better focus on state-level races.
A new organization to boost electoral results in statewide races was unveiled at the meeting. The State Innovation Exchange, or SiX, hopes to raise as much as $10 million per year to dedicate to state campaigns during the next cycle.
"Overall, there's a growing understanding — at least at the Democracy Alliance level — that state and local races matter," one operative told Politico.
Improve outreach to minorities and young voters
Operatives and donors also concluded that the party needs to do a better job of turning out minorities and young voters who were the backbone of President Barack Obama's electoral victories.
The focus of spending will likely be on TV ads and online platforms and as opposed to direct mail since those constituencies are less inclined to read mail.
"The ability to contact the coalition that elected the president is a nut we have to crack," Mitch Stewart of 270 Strategies, told Politico. "There's a general openness to testing among Democrats, but we need to continue to find the next advantage."
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