It’s not just Joe Biden, Jen Psaki, and Nancy Pelosi who are completely out of touch with everyday Americans on the issue of inflation and how it affects families. It seems that despite the efforts of one House Democrat, the rest of the House Democratic Caucus still doesn’t get it. Not only do they not get it; they privately shamed that member, Rep. Katie Porter, a single mother, to Politico after she told the caucus that she had to put bacon back on the shelf after realizing the price had risen to $9.99.
Unfortunately, when Porter gave her remarks to Politico, she thought some of her colleagues finally had an “aha” moment when she shared her personal story:
“Only after Rep. Katie Porter put bacon in her cart at her local grocery store recently did she notice that its price had spiked to $9.99 a pound. Reluctantly, she put the package back.
“When Porter gave an emotional speech about how inflation has been hitting her family for months during a private House Democratic Caucus meeting last week, she said it seemed like the first time the personal toll of high consumer prices had sunk in for some lawmakers in the room.
“’Too often, Congress recognizes issues too late,’ Porter, a top GOP target this fall in a swing district, said in an interview. ‘I had a colleague mention to me, ‘We’re not seeing it in the polls’ … Well, you don’t know what to ask.’”
That’s a very insightful answer from Porter, though not a difficult conclusion to draw. “We’re not seeing it in the polls?” Clearly these people don’t interact with any normal human beings, because it’s all you hear when you talk to normal human beings.
Porter has been frustrated with her party’s messaging abilities for awhile, saying that many simply use hollow rhetoric.
“Conveying is part of it. But first, you have to see it. Voters are very quick to be able to sense when something is hollow rhetoric,” Porter said. “It’s not about just switching up your talking points. It’s about seeing the issues.”
After the caucus’s shellacking in the 2020 election, numerous members admitted they’d have to do better with messaging – and with understanding what matters to voters in the first place. They’ll also have to find a way to connect with regular Americans, and that means not shaming them for having to live on a budget. As Porter says:
“There’s a lot of shame around having to live on a budget or having to put food back at a grocery store, and I’m not ashamed,” Porter said. “I’m doing the very best I can to make the choices financially for my family.”
It doesn’t seem that the lessons of 2020 have been learned by the caucus, which is a great thing for Republicans. It’s not so great for morale amongst their members, given the way anonymous (of course) meeting attendees spoke about Porter after she shared her story:
A few in the room during that Democratic caucus meeting said privately they were surprised by Porter’s emotional remarks about the price of food given her $174,000-a-year congressional salary. Porter’s annual pay is more than double the average American household income. But she’s also required to maintain homes in two of the most expensive areas in the nation: Washington, D.C. and Orange County, Calif. As a single mom flying back and forth across the country, that means the cost of child care, too.
But hey, they want to “create an authentic connection with voters” by using storytelling:
Inside the House Democratic Caucus, there’s been a concerted push for members to use the power of their own emotions and life experiences to galvanize support for policies in the Capitol. In February, for instance, Democrats took part in a session during the caucus’s messaging summit specifically around “storytelling” and “creating an authentic connection with voters,” featuring oral historian and StoryCorps founder, David Isay.
Instead of connecting with Americans on everyday issues that affect families daily, guess what topic Democrats think they can really gain ground on using storytelling? That’s right. Abortion.