And interesting survey and report from Democracy Corp (James Carville's outfit) that confirms what I keep talking about.
Tl;dr lots of voters are dissatisfied, particularly younger voters. These "change voters" do not respond well to a simple anti-Trump message. Money quote:
"Clinton widening her lead and winning states and Democrats making gains in the Senate and House depends on the right strategy and messages for reaching these voters. We tested one on GOP extremism, one linking Republican candidates to Trump and one offering a positive Democratic economic message.
"Democrats, millennials and Democratic target voters are desperate to hear where the Democratic candidates want to lead the country. The message that consolidates Democrats more than any other tested in this survey is one that offers a clear positive economic agenda. It says that Democrats have a plan for the economy, and that to get these things done, we need a Democratic majority in Congress."
So what does this suggest:
1. The Hillary Campaign should ignore the news pundits and consultants and double down on her policy wonk. When linked to a specific stated goal (e.g., reduce student debt, enhance economic opportunity, build infrastructure), her wonkness is her strength, not a weakness. Ignore the sexism stuff and power through on this. Remember the Pareto rule: 20% of the population make 80% of the noise. Stick with the strategy past the first week and don't panic when you get negative feedback from talking heads.
"But the American people are stupid and don't understand policy, they want someone they can have a beer with." Dude, IT'S NOT 2004 ANYMORE!!! Srsly. Do you guys pay any attention to anything. Besides, I'm not saying bore 'em with a 30 minute power point. But emphasize your plans and show the endorsements of people who *have* read them. The distinction is between "I alone can fix things, but I won't tell you how" v. "I can fix things because I have an actual plan."
Yes, plenty of people will still want the Strong Man who can make them feel safe. Forget those voters. Focus on the voters who are "I want change so bad I'm willing to take a chance on the loudmouth because at least he promises to change things." Convince them you are a better change agent because you have real plans for change.
2. Stop rushing out adds about the awfulness of Trump. Rush out adds that talk about how you are going to change America. It's what you actually do best anyway. Ignore all the pundits and consultants who want you to focus "likeability." Your potential voters don't care about likeability nearly as much as they care about having a pit bull in their corner who is going to chew up their enemies and make them feel safe again.
And again, ignore all the people who will whine 'but Hillary does that and blah blah sexism.' You are never going to get the sexist people. Get over it. Barak "I can't look too angry I'm a black man" Obama is more popular than he has been in years now that he lets a little outrage show.
3. Run more ads with folks like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders who can excite the change voters. Have them emphasize the points of commonality. We're seeing this now when they speak and audiences are like 'oh yeah, I forgot I was all excited when the Convention announced our progressive platform with our shared goals and programs.' All the news coverage at the time of the conventions focused on the "Never Hillarys," but the reality is that Hillary's highest level of support followed the convention that laid out a positive economic agenda and had respected change agents like Warren, Sanders, Booker and Michelle Obama push Hillary as an agent of change.
Again, these guys are doing it and they are on the campaign trail, but you are not using them enough.
4. Consider the "Save the Day" ad everyone was all goey over last week. The message was primarily "be a hero and stop the train wreck." That does not work for people who think the status quo is *already* a train wreck. And no, lecturing them about how it will be a worse train wreck is not nearly as effective as explaining to them how Hillary is the real "change agent" who is going to get us out of this train wreck.
And yes, it's a tough balance to be both the "status quo" candidate and the "change agent" candidate. But they are not contradictory. Emphasize that change takes time, grit, determination, someone with a plan who will stick to it until the job is done -- not someone who will walk away when it gets too hard or when he loses interest. Again, play to the positive aspects of the stereotype about you and make them strengths, not weaknesses. You are all about the policy. You aren't "likeable," you are "aggressive." Make that work for you.
Carville and his outfit are not exactly a font of progressivism. If their data is coming up with "run on a goddamn progressive economic message about fairness and good jobs and investment in infrastructure" then you might really want to consider it.