Try as they might, Democrats can’t even break through Trump fever.
This week, top Democrats released their revamped agenda and it barely received any media coverage. It was the snoozer story of the week because the Democrats’ “Better Deal for American Workers” lacks the innovation and boldness needed to win over many working-class Democrats and independents who voted for President Trump because they were in search of real change in Washington.
The Democrats announced their repackaged agenda and slogan at Berryville — a Virginia town located in a swing district. They are hoping to gain momentum and win House seats in the midterm elections. They talked about unfair trade and more federal support for apprenticeship programs.
Sounds familiar: Mr. Trump has been focused on renegotiating trade agreements from his first day in office and Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta has already announced the administration’s commitment to apprenticeship programs.
The Democrats are stuck in the past, plagued by stale leadership, stale ideas and an unhealthy tendency to dwell on the 2016 debacle. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton will soon release her book, no doubt hashing out the many ways she was blew the election. The list of suspects no doubt includes former FBI Director James B. Comey, Vladimir Putin and a sexist electorate. The party’s inability to get over the election and accept blame is inhibiting them from forging a bold agenda.
In a recent Washington Post-ABC News Poll, 37 percent of Americans said that the Democratic Party “currently stands for something,” while 52 percent said it “just stands against Trump.”
The “resistance” movement is flailing and the “Better Deal” agenda amounts to a compilation and repackaging of President Trump’s ideas mixed with President Obama’s legacy. It lacks conviction and innovation and fails to help the Democrats in rebranding their image.
The Better Deal for American Workers is not the best deal for the working class. Beyond jobs, the Democrats’ overall agenda remains focused on a single-payer health care system, higher taxes and limiting educational choices for our children. It’s more government intervention, harming middle-class families and limits economic opportunities for the low-income families.
Democrats see an opening as Republicans seem unable to unite and pass significant legislation in Congress. They see a White House dealing with infighting and lack of message control. While the Better Deal fell flat in the media circles, Republicans have no ground for complacency. The GOP needs to get its act together and pass real health care reform (the “skinny” version won’t cut it) and tax reform.
Mr. Trump himself would greatly benefit from an end to the constant infighting in the White House. His message is getting lost when the White House staff themselves become the headlines. Leaks, multiple messages, and infighting between the top staff damage the presidency, and the soap opera is exhausting for The White House staff.
The Democrats celebrate with each dramatic story and are thrilled with GOP remains divided. Their Better Deal might not win them future elections, but the GOP just might.
• Mercedes Schlapp is a Fox News contributor, co-founder of Cove Strategies and former White House director of specialty media under President George W. Bush.
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