Democrats Must Change the Narrative
To be successful, Democrats must find a way to change the narrative from identity politics to explaining how progressive policies are superior in providing Americans with opportunities for upward economic mobility. The political strategy that Republicans have accused Democrats of for years is being embraced by Donald Trump to incite division, anger, resentment, and racial scapegoating. It is up to Democrats to take control of the narrative by changing it from race and immigration to growing the economy from the inside out.
Democrats Must Make their Ideas Public
Republicans control both houses of Congress and the majority of State legislatures. This makes it difficult to have progressive ideas and policy proposals debated. However, just because the ideas can’t be debated in chambers does not mean that they have to be silenced. Much of the public would like to see Democrats explain how their policies will benefit Americans. This may mean going public, taking ideas to media outlets, and working with moderate Republicans. Even if the GOP led Congress will not bring their bill proposals to the floor, Democrats should seek to have their bill proposals evaluated by the CBO and nonpartisan economic think tanks.
At some point, Congress will have to work together. The nexus is developing policies and budgets that eliminate waste, incentivize worker productivity, and incentivize, thru tax credits, investment in wage growth, infrastructure, and education. These policies, objectives of both the right and the left, would naturally increase opportunities for upward economic mobility. As long as their is something positive for most people affected, bipartisan bills should be considered. Sometimes compromise is necessary in order to avoid a crisis. Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray led an excellent demonstration of bipartisanship. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/10/17/sen-lamar-alexander-says-deal-set-insurers-cost-sharing/772757001/
Issues Democrats Can Focus On
Any tax breaks that disproportionately favor the wealthy should be contingent on job creation, or investment in education and infrastructure. A better-trained, more productive work force would demand higher wages, stimulating the economy for everyone. This is a more reliable strategy than assuming that investors will spend tax savings to hire more people or increase wages. That fallacious assertion is nothing more than a selling point. If investors decide to spend the money on something else, which has happened more times than not, the deficit will increase and conservatives will continue to call for cutting social programs. The consequence is continued growth of income inequality, a lower probability of upward economic mobility, and continued shrinkage of the middle class. The trickle-down philosophy undermines the American dream. GOP leaders divert attention from these issues by emphasizing inner-cultural antipathies.
The Divide and Conquer Strategy
The divide and conquer strategy has been used by Donald Trump and his allies to appeal to anger and fear. Trump controls the narrative and steers conversations away from policy by getting people to focus on his bizarre conduct and outrageous comments. This includes using language with racial, xenophobic, or religiously intolerant overtones. The use of this strategy is the reason for Donald Trump’s reluctance to criticize White supremacists, Nazi groups, and confederate sympathizers. It is a deliberate appeal to the latent prejudices of people. A troubling effect is that it has caused people to lose focus of important issues that affect all Americans. While people are focused on race, religion, immigration status (xenophobia), or gender identity, they are less likely to unite and focus on how economic policies affect all people. The divide and conquer strategy threatens to move us backwards. https://realinfo2action.com/multicultural-nation
Donald Trump-led Republicans, when practicing identity politics, strategically conflate issues of stagnant wages, the issue of illegal information, and a loss of manufacturing jobs. This xenophobic, racially divisive strategy consists of blaming Mexicans, Chinese, Affirmative Action, globalization, etc. for the economic stagnation of working class whites. When people focus on racial antipathies, cultural issues, and xenophobic concerns, it distracts them from recognizing that the policy proposals of Trump’s billionaire-led cabinet are not in the best interests of working class people. Scapegoating has allowed Trump and his allies to redefine themselves as protectors of the working class.
How GOP Proposals Kill the American Dream
The brand of conservatism that is being pursued by Paul Ryan is one that lacks empathy, compassion, and equality. The policies suggested by the GOP are indifferent to the needs of the most vulnerable citizens. They are proposing cuts to programs that are lifelines or programs that contribute to opportunities for upward economic mobility. These cuts are being made to provide tax cuts to investors. They claim that these tax cuts will result in the creation of jobs. There is no data that indicates investors will spend the money they receive thru tax breaks to hire more people. The stagnant wages and the increase of Americans living in poverty over the last 30 years is proof that this strategy has not worked for the working class.
Democrats Strategy Moving Forward
Democrats have to energize their base and appeal to some independents. This is done by generating excitement and explaining how progressive ideas will benefit working class people. I am seeing a troubling pattern of organizations trying to raise money by saying how bad Donald Trump is. This strategy did not work in 2016 and it will not work in future elections. Raising money is just one part of elections. Money is an important tool, but energizing voters is the most important aspect. You just can’t say how bad the other guy is, you have to offer a contrasting vision while castigating him. The Donald Trump-led Republican party has its 37% support. It is a guarantee that they will unconditionally support his agenda. It’s like he said in his campaign: “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.”
Uniting the fractured party is necessary to win future elections. There was a lot of resentment and apathy among Bernie Sanders’ supporters when it was exposed how unfairly he was treated by the Democratic establishment. Blaming him or his supporters for Hillary Clinton’s loss in the 2016 election exacerbates the divide. The real problem is that the prioritization of establishment ideas coupled with the condescension of progressive ideas has fractured the party and prevented Democrats from developing a unified message that clearly explains how Democrats are advocating for working class Americans. Many working class and young people, voters Democrats have to attract to win, have demonstrated fealty for Bernie Sanders. The 2016 elections have shown that party divisions, caused by condescension of progressive ideas, may cause this important block to abstain or vote for third parties.