Jim Messina was the White House Deputy Chief of Staff of Operations under President Obama from 2009 to 2011. Senior Advisor to the president, Dan Pfeiffer, called Messina “the most powerful person in Washington that you haven’t heard of” in 2012. The Obama veteran is a mainstay in Democratic circles. If the column ended here, you’d look at my title, shake your head, and mutter something about Paste being too hard on the Democrats again (we do it because we want them to win, by the way). But alas, it is 2017, and five years is plenty of time to ruin a reputation. Walker Bragman wrote a piece in Paste on June 14th of this year titled “Is Jim Messina the World’s Worst Political Consultant?”
The U.K.’s special election marks the third political battle Jim Messina has been on the losing side of recently. As The Financial Times reported, the consultant was paid £276,000 by David Cameron’s anti-Brexit Remain campaign, and €400,000 by Italy’s former Prime Minister for help with his constitutional reform effort. Incidentally, those defeats were so embarrassing they both resulted in the resignation of his employer.
The answer is a resounding yes, and yesterday’s referendum in Catalonia voting in favor of statehood stacked another L on top of Messina’s impressive streak. From June 2016:
Just under 90% of voters (42.3% turnout) backed the push for Spain’s richest region to declare independence. Prime Minister Rajoy responded by sending police to polling stations, where they injured hundreds of people while trying to stop them from voting.
So Jim Messina traveled across the pond to help keep the UK in the EU (narrator: he didn’t), tried to aid Italy’s constitutional reform (haha nope), then backed conservative candidate Theresa May in the UK—whose call for an unnecessary election and subsequent blowing of a 25 point lead to Jeremy Corbyn solidified her as the modern image of hubris. His lone winner in the major European centers sent police out to injure hundreds of his citizens yesterday, all in the name of restricting their right to vote. If you’re still wondering how the Democratic Party lost to Trump, these European defeats—and Jim Messina himself—are instructive.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.