“We need New Politics because our current politics isn’t working.”
— Congressman Seth Moulton
In the 1980s, Patrick Caddell, pollster for Gary Hart’s presidential campaign, parlayed the idea of a “new idea” into one of the biggest marketing blunders of the 20th century: New Coke.
Pepsi, Coke’s sweeter cola rival, had been cutting into Coke’s market share, and after some bad market research, Coke executives ordered tastes tests for a new recipe for its signature soft-drink.
Trading on his work as a political pollster, Caddell got himself hired to survey the public on changing Coke’s recipe. His polling revealed that the new recipe was a winner, and in 1985, Coke abandoned its successful product for something more like its competitor.
Consumers rebelled. Shares dropped. Publicity was plentiful, negative, and vicious. The New Coke flopped, and Coke quickly reintroduced the old recipe as Coke Classic.
If Democrats and Republicans are the Coke and Pepsi of the political world, the Seth Moulton and Friends are the team that brought us New Coke: an unwarranted product created to solve a problem that really doesn’t exist.
Check out their reasons:
- The New Leadership Letter. Change for change’s sake.
Signed by Moulton and wingman Stephen Lynch, the says that Democrats campaigned on “a message of change,” and because voters want to see “real change,” and because they “promised to change the status quo,” Democrats need to dump Nancy Pelosi.
2. The Irony-Challenged Stephen Lynch. A new direction, or else.
“We risk losing the Democratic majority in the House. We risk having Trump elected for another four years if the Democrats don’t offer a new direction for the Democratic Party.”
The ever astute Lynch signed the New Leadership letter opposing Pelosi, and his prediction was laughably off as Democrats have picked up 40 seats in the House.
3. The Legislative Excuse. Pelosi an impediment to understanding gun violence?
“We should be legislating on things like privacy and social media,” says Moulton, “We need to deal with the automated workforce and the fact that our education system isn’t set up to respond to the demands of the automated workforce. And we need people who understand the tragedies of today, like gun violence.”
Really? We need a new speaker to address privacy and social media. Pelosi doesn’t understand the “tragedies of today like gun violence.”
Congressman Tim Ryan, Pelosi’s erstwhile challenger, was as profound in his opposition as Moulton and Lynch. “We need a brand change,” he said in 2016.
Also gunning for Pelosi is/was No Labels, a group of centrist nominalists so in touch with the current Republican Party that it thinks bipartisanship is a solution to our America’s political problems and, if we could just get rid of party labels, the body politic could expel the ideological parasite within and start to heal. Centrists tend to think they lack an ideology, and motivated more by temperment than belief, they are right to a certain extent. But temperment is not vision. And the majority of the country is guided by politics.
No Labels is a rogues gallery of unpopular Democrats and the Republicans that don’t generally foam at the mouth. Nancy Jacobson (wife of Mark Penn, whom even the Clintons now dislike) is a principal of organization. Joe Lieberman is also prominent. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) are honorary co-chairs, though Manchin had quit the organization in 2014 because it endorsed Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) over Mark Udall (D-Colorado). Proving that it is indeed hip to be square, No Labels commissioned rapper Akon to pen the No Label’s Anthem, which includes the immortal lines:
I wish they didn’t have no labels
There’d be more change with no labels
If New Coke is any guide to the Great Centrist Insurrection of 2018, we can expect a quick flameout. The Democratic Party will not party like it’s 1995 nor will the electorate. It’s a new century and a new world. And compromise means doing what the Republicans want, regardless of rules or fairness.