David Sirota

David Sirota is the Director of Strategic Communications at the Center for American Progress and the American Progress Action Fund. He formerly served as chief spokesman for Democrats on the U.S. House Appropriations Committee.

Recent Articles

Divvying Up Ohio

If elections are ugly things, primary elections are downright hideous, especially on the Democratic side. Ronald Reagan's famous Eleventh Commandment -- paraphrased as, "Thou shalt not speak badly of a fellow party member" -- is rarely respected, no matter how much it is publicly venerated. Few argue that these primaries weaken a party's ability to ultimately win the seats it is aiming for. Primary candidates spend months publicly beating one another up and spending money that should otherwise be hoarded for use against the other party. Meanwhile, incumbents rise above it all, using their public office to run a Rose Garden-like campaign, stressing their credentials as statesmen above the odious partisan sniping taking place on the other side of the aisle. Already in the 2006 election cycle, Democrats face two potentially nasty primaries in eminently winnable U.S. Senate races. In Montana, state Senate President Jon Tester (D) and state Auditor John Morrison (D) are both running to...

Watergate's Lost Legacy

Upon the news this week that Watergate source “Deep Throat” had come forward, CNN's Judy Woodruff waxed nostalgic about the golden era of muckraking journalism. "It is so hard, I think, for young people we know who work here at CNN and other news organizations to even imagine what Watergate was like," she said. "To have a White House come undone, an administration come undone, because of some news reporting." Coming from a lead reporter at one of America's largest cable networks, it was truly a sad commentary. First and foremost, it was sad because she was right -- American journalism today has lost its confrontational, hold-their-feet-to-the-fire attitude that gave it a reputation as our government's fourth check and balance. Young reporters can't imagine what that kind of reporting really is because they've never experienced it. Certainly there was Whitewater and the Monica Lewinsky scandal, but those were cheap attempts by journalists to recreate Watergate without actually doing...

The Democrats' Da Vinci Code

As the Democratic Party goes through its quadrennial self-flagellation process, the same tired old consultants and insiders are once again complaining that Democratic elected officials have no national agenda and no message. Yet encrypted within the 2004 election map is a clear national economic platform to build a lasting majority. You don't need Fibonacci's sequence, a decoder ring, or 3-D glasses to see it. You just need to start asking the right questions. Where, for instance, does a Democrat get off using a progressive message to become governor of Montana? How does an economic populist Democrat keep winning a congressional seat in what is arguably America's most Republican district? Why do culturally conservative rural Wisconsin voters keep sending a Vietnam-era anti-war Democrat back to Congress? What does a self-described socialist do to win support from conservative working-class voters in northern New England? The answers to these and other questions are the Democrats' very...

The Democrats' Da Vinci Code

As the Democratic Party goes through its quadrennial self-flagellation process, the same tired old consultants and insiders are once again complaining that Democratic elected officials have no national agenda and no message. Yet encrypted within the 2004 election map is a clear national economic platform to build a lasting majority. You don't need Fibonacci's sequence, a decoder ring, or 3-D glasses to see it. You just need to start asking the right questions. Where, for instance, does a Democrat get off using a progressive message to become governor of Montana? How does an economic populist Democrat keep winning a congressional seat in what is arguably America's most Republican district? Why do culturally conservative rural Wisconsin voters keep sending a Vietnam-era anti-war Democrat back to Congress? What does a self-described socialist do to win support from conservative working-class voters in northern New England? The answers to these and other questions are the Democrats' very...

Debate School

Perhaps no candidate in the last 20 years has had so much riding on the presidential debates as John Kerry does. Bludgeoned by merciless attack ads and a well-oiled right-wing spin machine, Kerry is still a virtual unknown to many Americans, with few having a clear picture of who he is or what he stands for. This din of distracting issues and cheap personal attacks has also, by design, deprived voters of a crisp and cogent case against the current administration. Yet, as testament to George W. Bush's inherent weaknesses, Kerry still remains neck and neck with the incumbent in the polls. That means that the upcoming debates represent his best chance yet to go from undefined challenger to legitimate alternative. To get there, here are the top 10 things he must do: 1. Make your Iraq vote an indictment of Bush. Bush has ridiculed Kerry for having a nuanced position on Iraq, but the bottom line is undeniable: Kerry has been consistent in saying that his vote was to give Bush the authority...

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