Democrats are in control of the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives for the first time in a decade. But to the new chair of the Democratic National Committee, it’s clear that the party’s brand is broken in a large swath of America.
“I think what we have to do as a party is battle the damage to the Democratic brand,” Jamie Harrison, the former senate candidate, tells Molly Jong-Fast in the latest episode of The New Abnormal. “I experienced it on my own race, Lindsey [Graham] and his crew of dark money effectively labeled me as somebody who believed in defunding the police. My grandfather on my stepfather’s side was in the Detroit police department for 40 years. So I don’t believe in that. But they were able to do it because the Democratic brand had been so tarnished in South Carolina that people would believe anything. If they said, ‘Jamie kicked a puppy the other day,’ they would have believed it.”
“It’s not even just with Republicans, the Democrat brand with some of the folks who are core at the base of our party is not the greatest,” Harrison continues. “And so I want to spend a lot of time, energy, and effort understanding why the brand is where it is, what it is and how, and what we can do in order to improve it.”
Especially in rural and red-state America, Harrison says: “We have to take credit and claim the things that we will have gotten done over the course of this next two years. We’re going to do a lot for rural America. The American Rescue Plan has so much in there for rural communities across this country. And it will have a huge benefit, this infrastructure plan, when we get this done. The broadband component in it alone will totally transform rural America.”
“Those communities are also just as diverse as urban communities. We also need to make sure that we’re listening to them,” he adds. “And then, in the end, we’ve got to deliver and I believe we can do those things. Not only will we grow our base, but I think we also persuade a few other folks to take a look at us.”