Party leaders often see their role as cheerleaders, but Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), must be privy to some devastating internal polling because he’s issued a dire warning to his fellow Democrats.

“If [voters] agree with us on the issues, why don’t they like us more?” Maloney asked.

Maloney has an answer, too.

“They think that we’re divisive and too focused on cultural issues. They think that we’re preachy. They think that we act like we know better than parents when it comes to their kids in schools,” Maloney said. “The problem is not the voters,” he admits. “The problem is us.”

They say the first stage to recovery is admitting you have a problem, and Maloney is admitting that the Democrats have a problem. But like others in the party, Maloney seems convinced it’s a messaging problem, not a rejection of their radical agenda. Maloney said that voters “think that we act like we know better than parents when it comes to their kids in schools.” Does he not get why they think that? Was the lesson from Glenn Youngkin’s surprise victory in last year’s gubernatorial election a problem with messaging, or the fact that Democrats literally argued that parents don’t have the right to know what their kids are being taught in school?

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I’ll give Maloney some credit for taking a bold step by admitting the Democrats are the problem, but he doesn’t seem to understand the nature of the problem. If Democrats can’t concede that their agenda is unpopular, they’ll never crawl their way back to the center. When you come out against the rights of parents to have oversight of school boards and instead you treat them as domestic terrorists, that’s not a messaging problem.

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