Yesterday, I made a request that supporters of Michael Arcuri listen to the kind of language that they use, and reflect upon the ways that the things they say are provoking resentment and anger among Democrats in the 24th District. Arcuri supporters have been spending almost as much time belittling progressive Democrats in the 24th District as they have been spending attacking Ray Meier's position or promoting what little there is of Arcuri's positions.
In response, an Arcuri supporter complained that progressives are just upset "because he didn't come to your afternoon brunch at the coffee house."
Again, I ask Arcuri supporters to listen to the kinds of things they're saying to make Democrats in the 24th District lose trust in the Arcuri for Congress campaign.
Elsewhere, an Arcuri supporter wrote the comment: "We already have the fringe voters. We need to concentrate on the mainstream people to win."
Let's translate this supposedly pro-Arcuri statement, shall we?
First, the anonymous writer who supports Mike Arcuri categorizes progressive Democrats as "fringe voters" - once again repeating language that Michael Arcuri has used to attack liberals himself. When Arcuri supporters tell us that they "already have the fringe voters", what they're trying to say is that they think they have the support of progressive Democrats in the 24th District all sewn up.
Second, when the anonymous Arcuri supporter says that the Arcuri campaign needs to concentrate on "the mainstream people", that's translated as non-progressive Democrats and non-Democrats. Here again, the suggestion is that progressive Democrats are not in the mainstream, but that right wing Democrats, Republicans and independents are in the mainstream, and that the Arcuri campaign needs to speak their language.
This argument unravels fairly easily. First of all, Michael Arcuri does not have the support of progressive Democrats all wrapped up. The reason? Arcuri's campaign has not made an effort to earn the support of progressive Democrats. Yes, that support has to be earned. It is not enough for a candidate to be a Democrat in name only. That candidate also has to be a Democrat in deed. It would have been helpful if Arcuri had gained the appearance of legitimacy by winning a Democratic primary. Instead, we now have the situation where most Democrats in the district still don't even know who Michael Arcuri is.
Many of the most politically active Democrats in the 24th District were looking forward to a primary campaign, so that there could be a discussion about what kind of Democrat should serve us in Congress, and so that Democratic voters would have the chance to select their candidate for themselves. Now, 24th District Democrats are being told that Arcuri is "our" candidate "whether we like it or not".
Arcuri's campaign has made the mistake of assuming that progressive Democrats will turn out to vote for Michael Arcuri simply because he is running as a Democrat. The weak level of financial and volunteer support, that even Arcuri supporters admit is coming from our district's Democrats, shows how unfounded that assumption has been.
Michael Arcuri still has not earned Democrats' support, so please, let's not join in the rush to encourage Arcuri to lean toward the right wing in order to convince Republicans to vote for him instead of for their own candidate. Arcuri can only win this race by showing how the right wing is wrong.
If Arcuri embraces the Republicans' right wing agenda, or tries to avoid being specific on the issues in an attempt to avoid making Republican voters angry, he will continue to antagonize Democratic voters. The result will be more of what we've already begun to see. Democrats will not write checks to a right wing Democrat or a mushy politician who tries to avoid the issues. Democrats will not volunteer for such a candidate. And, come Election Day, if Mike Arcuri does not strengthen his appeal to Democratic voters in the 24th District, many Democrats who would have ordinarily turned out to vote will simply stay home.
I'm not saying this because I want it to be true. I'm saying it because Michael Arcuri's campaign is making a series of grave miscalculations that need to be corrected.
The pathetic fundraising performance of Mike Arcuri's campaign on ActBlue compared to other Democratic candidates for Congress has been noted by one of this blog's readers. Here's today's updated ActBlue fundraising numbers for a few Democratic congressional candidates here in New York State:
John Hall: $162,088.00
Eric Massa: $$117,073.14
Kirsten Gillibrand: $9,123.06
Michael Arcuri: $470.89
I'm not making these numbers up. The Arcuri for Congress campaign is in serious trouble because it's neglecting the Democratic base. The solution is simple:
#1. Shake up the campaign staff
#2 Convince Arcuri supporters to stop attacking progressives
#3. Begin a concerted effort of outreach to progressive Democrats in the 24th District - online and offline