Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Beyond The Slogan The Democrats Stole From Papa John's Pizza...


Monday morning's NY Times had an OpEd, A Better Deal For American Workers, by Senate minority leader Little Chucky Schmucky, the non-presidential candidate politician who's taken the most in bribes from Wall Street, a cool $26,601,840 as of this morning. "Americans are clamoring for bold changes to our politics and our economy," he began. "They feel, rightfully, that both systems are rigged against them, and they made that clear in last year’s election. American families deserve a better deal so that this country works for everyone again, not just the elites and special interests. Today, Democrats will start presenting that better deal to the American people." Bold changes, unrigging the system, taking from elites and special interests to make things more equitable for ordinary working families... if that doesn't equate with Chuck Schumer in your mind, you're not alone. A less credible messenger for economic populism could never be found anywhere, ever. How comfortable are you with a crooked Wall Street whore like Schumer mouthing a Bernie message? "The wealthiest special interests can spend an unlimited, undisclosed amount of money to influence elections and protect their special deals in Washington. As a result, our system favors short-term gains for shareholders instead of long-term benefits for workers." Schumer is exactly who they're spending money on to influence the country's politics he's bemoaning. And, again, in unsell-aware self-description, he declares that "for far too long, government has gone along, tilting the economic playing field in favor of the wealthy and powerful while putting new burdens on the backs of hard-working Americans."

Schumer seems to have absorbed complaints progressives have been making about him and his kind for over a decade, writing "Democrats have too often hesitated from taking on those misguided policies directly and unflinchingly-- so much so that many Americans don’t know what we stand for. Not after today. Democrats will show the country that we’re the party on the side of working people-- and that we stand for three simple things."

I'd rather have this message than a reactionary message or no message at all, but it's going to take a lot more than an OpEd to persuade me that corrupt corporatists like Schumer mean a word of it:
First, we’re going to increase people’s pay. Second, we’re going to reduce their everyday expenses. And third, we’re going to provide workers with the tools they need for the 21st-century economy.

Over the next several months, Democrats will lay out a series of policies that, if enacted, will make these three things a reality. We’ve already proposed creating jobs with a $1 trillion infrastructure plan; increasing workers’ incomes by lifting the minimum wage to $15; and lowering household costs by providing paid family and sick leave.

...Right now, there is nothing to stop vulture capitalists from egregiously raising the price of lifesaving drugs without justification. We’re going to fight for rules to stop prescription drug price gouging and demand that drug companies justify price increases to the public. And we’re going to push for empowering Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices for older Americans.

Right now our antitrust laws are designed to allow huge corporations to merge, padding the pockets of investors but sending costs skyrocketing for everything from cable bills and airline tickets to food and health care. We are going to fight to allow regulators to break up big companies if they’re hurting consumers and to make it harder for companies to merge if it reduces competition.

Right now millions of unemployed or underemployed people, particularly those without a college degree, could be brought back into the labor force or retrained to secure full-time, higher-paying work. We propose giving employers, particularly small businesses, a large tax credit to train workers for unfilled jobs. This will have particular resonance in smaller cities and rural areas, which have experienced an exodus of young people who aren’t trained for the jobs in those areas.
If there's one thing we should have learned by now, it's that if policies are important as follow-through, rhetoric, narrative, and emotional signifiers are at least as important to voters. For one thing, the Democratic Party should focus, in some meaningful way, on changing the way it does business. There was a lesson the Democrats should have learned from the Wasserman Schultz scandal. They still haven't. Thankfully, Schumer's messaging is coming from Bernie and from Elizabeth Warren, not from the Clinton wrong of the party but unless someone has a PhD will they even understand what he's talking about? As Claiborne Deming, who helped start SumOfUs.org and is the current VP of Impact.College, explained yesterday, "In order to define an 'us' we have to define a 'them,' and that 'them' must be larger than Donald Trump. When talking about monopolies, Schumer first speaks about antitrust laws, and then says, vaguely, that they'll break up corporations 'if they're hurting consumers.' That puts the focus on policy and an economic framing. It's wonky. It has no 'them' aside from some ethereal policy failure, removed from the lives and lived experience of actual Americans. It's cautious language, designed not to offend. I would take it a step further and blame the collusion of big corporations and big government, and then name names. Point out that a Verizon lobbyist leads the FCC. If we force the GOP to side with cable companies, we've won. Instead of speaking of the opioid crisis as a natural disaster, name the companies that pocketed billions of dollars from hooking millions of Americans on drugs. Name Wall Street banks and the problems of runaway financialization. Don't be afraid to make enemies."

Deming goes on to point out that Americans' confidence in institutions is at historic lows. "Look at that list and see what Republicans are against-- the press, with an approval rate in the mid-20s, government, with approval rating in the mid-thirties (presidency and Supreme Court) or low teens (Congress). What is the Democratic Party against? None of those, really. What is the GOP for? The military and police, the two groups with the highest confidence. And organized religion, in the low forties. What are Dems for? Government and schools, in the mid-thirties. And unions, in the mid-twenties. IMHO, Dems need to be very aggressive about being for small business (70% confidence) and against big business (20% confidence). We need to explain why Congress (12% confidence and likely lower by the end of the year) is broken (big money, gerrymandering, corporate lobbying). We should be against big banks (32%)."

He believes that the Democrats' effort yesterday is "a decent start" but that they're "still committing the same errors we've seen from wonky politicians that have had difficulty connecting with Americans emotionally (Hillary, Kerry, Gore). Obama had charisma and 'hope' at the right moment. Bill Clinton had charisma, 'I feel your pain'... We'll need candidates who can connect with Americans where we are emotionally and really side with our worldviews, not merely try to lecture at us that we should rationally choose their policies. It's when people believe that the candidate is really on of them that they will do their utmost to get that person into office. And you do not get there by trying to be inoffensive and appeal to everyone at once."

That sound like the perfect definition of @IronStache-- Randy Bryce, the progressive iron worker running in Wisconsin against Paul Ryan, someone who has authenticity and a brand the DCCC has never been able to help one candidate create init's entire miserable history of abject failure and loss. His message is more credible than Schumer's or Pelosi's. The House Dems chose Rhode Island moderate David Cicilline, NYC corporate liberal Hakeem Jeffries and far far right Blue Dog corruption monger Cheri Bustos, a Rahm Emanuel protégée, co-chairs of the House Democratic Policy & Communications Committee, to deliver their messaging message (in an OpEd for CNN. "Washington Republicans," they wrote, "are unable to uphold the basic bargain they made with the American people when they were elected: to fight to create new good-paying jobs and support sustained economic growth. The simple truth is the economy isn't working the way it should; incomes and wages are not keeping up with the cost of living. Wage stagnation, underemployment, the exploding cost of a college education and the erosion of pensions are leaving many without hope. From rural towns to inner cities, millions can no longer achieve the American dream. Meanwhile, Washington special interests and powerful corporations have acquired more and more wealth." What reader wouldn't then ask himself or herself if the Democrats did more or would do more?
Through A Better Deal, we will create opportunities for those who need them most, not just those at the very top. We'll make government responsive to all hardworking Americans, not just a select few. And we'll make certain that if you work hard that you can support your family, that you can retire with the security and dignity that you've earned, and that your children can get the skills and knowledge they need to secure good-paying jobs in their hometowns.

For Democrats, this is our collective vision. This is not a slogan. It's who we are and what we intend to accomplish for the American people.

First, our plan starts by creating millions of good-paying, full-time jobs by directly investing in our crumbling infrastructure-- and putting people back to work building our roads and bridges. To help our small businesses thrive, we will prioritize entrepreneurs over giving tax breaks to special interests. We will fight for a living wage-- so parents don't have to work three or four jobs just to pay rent. And we will keep our promise to millions of workers who earned a pension, Social Security and Medicare so they can retire with dignity.

Second, we will lower the crippling cost of prescription drugs and the cost of an education that leads to a good job with a college degree or a technical skill. And we will crack down on monopolies and the concentration of economic power that has led to higher prices for consumers, workers and small businesses-- and make sure Wall Street never endangers Main Street again.

Third, we will offer new tax incentives to employers to invest in their workforce through training and education. To make sure our country stays on the cutting edge, we will bring high-speed Internet to every community in America and offer an apprenticeship to millions of new workers. We will encourage innovation, invest in advanced research and ensure start-ups and small businesses can compete and prosper. By making it possible for every American to get the skills, tools and knowledge to find a job or to move up in their career, we'll not only improve individual lives, we'll also stay competitive in the global economy.
Juan Williams, writing for The Hill Monday, pointed out a Washington Post/ABC News poll that found 51% of registered voters say Trumpanzee won't be a factor for them in their 2018 decisions and that only 24% say they plan to vote in opposition to Trump-- countered by the 20% who say they will go to the polls solely to support congressional Republicans backing Trump.
That split-- a 4-point deficit for Trump-- is smaller than the 10-point disadvantage for President Obama going into the 2014 midterms or the 14-point disadvantage for President Bush going into the 2006 midterms.

“A majority of Americans see the Democratic Party as ‘just standing against Trump’ rather than presenting a coherent alternative-- a stance that may not be enough to get voters to the polls next year,” according to an ABC News report on the poll.

...The new plan presents Democrats as the party creating jobs; offering job training; keeping healthcare costs low while making college affordable; and pushing higher wages including a hike in the minimum wage. The plan is called: “A Better Deal-- Better Skills, Better Jobs, Better Wages.”

This is the “strong, bold, sharp-edged and common sense economic agenda” Schumer promised in a television interview last month.

Sen. Sanders (I-Vt.), who is the most popular national politician with a 57 percent approval rating, has been calling for this kind of clear, Trump-free branding to convince voters that Democrats are “on the side of the working class of this country.”

But what about the thrill that comes from fighting Trump? What about the blood sport of responding to his bullying tweets and his name-calling; and giving attention to the ongoing probe into his campaign’s alleged ties to Russia in the 2016 race?

That fight is a “fool’s errand,” according to Steve Phillips, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.

Writing in the New York Times, Phillips argued Democrats are never going to win over Trump voters. He sees only a waste of time in trying to win “support from conservative, white working-class voters susceptible to racially charged appeals.”

Phillips favors a focus on getting Democrats who voted for Hillary Clinton last year to come out for the midterms-- with specific attention to black voters whose turnout rates dropped in 2016. He also wants to win back Democrats who opted to vote for Jill Stein of the Green Party or Gary Johnson, the Libertarian nominee.

The opposing view calls for Democrats to reach out to Trump voters.

Democrats have to “move to the center and reject the siren calls of the left, whose policies and ideas have weakened the party,” according to Mark Penn, who served as chief strategist in Clinton’s 2008 run for the presidential nomination.

This debate about the right message and the right audience for congressional Democrats going into 2018 extends to uncertainty about the right candidates to run for president in 2020.

Who would be on the perfect ticket for Democrats to keep Trump from a second term in the White House?

  Following the National Governors Association meeting this month, two Democratic governors-- Montana’s Steve Bullock and Rhode Island’s Gina Raimondo-- are getting a lot of attention in Washington. [Note: Raimondo defines Democratic political corruption, so of course hacks like Cole reflexively push her.]

They are not political firebrands like Sanders or Warren. They don’t go on liberal political talk shows. [Note #2: No, they-- or at least Raimondo-- hang out with lobbyists and Wall Street vampires.]

But they have established themselves as solution-oriented politicians able to win with Democrats while attracting support from independents and Republicans.
Solution-oriented? In reaching out to Wall Street and more elites who are loathed by voters? The Democrats don't need corrupt conservatives; that's what the GOP is for. And they don't need announcement of slogans; they need Democrats showing how to work for principles and values, men and women like Bernie and Elizabeth Warren, as 3ell as Ro Khanna, Ted Lieu, Barbara Lee, Jeff Merkley, Pramila Jayapal, Marek Pocan, Jamie Raskin, Judy Chu, Alan Grayson, Tammy Baldwin... Best advise for Democrats I heard all day: "don't just talk about it, be about it."

Ro Khanna is a member of the Budget Committee. This is what he told his constituents in the South Bay last week: "Once again, House Republicans think the best policy solution is giving a massive tax cut to the wealthy while leaving working families left to fend for themselves. First it was with health care, now it’s with the entire federal budget. The draft GOP budget resolution is an extreme case of putting special interests first. Instead of strengthening programs that help people get back on their feet, ensure regulation of the financial industry, and improve benefits for workers, the GOP is placing more than $200 billion of this funding on the chopping block. All to hopefully introduce an unfair tax reform plan. A budget should reflect the values of our nation, and I will work with my colleagues on the Budget Committee to make sure the version that goes to the House floor does just that."

We asked the two progressive stalwarts campaigning for congressional seats in Illinois, Geoffrey Petzel, who is running for the Chicagoland seat Peter Roskam is holding on it, and David Gill, who is running for the downstate seat held by sad sack Paul Ryan rubber-stamp Rodney Davis. Geoff:
Goal Thermometer"Every day I talk with voters. The unified message that I hear is that people are angry-- angry at the Trump mess, angry at Republicans for trying to take away healthcare, and angry at Democrats for doing nothing.The Democratic Party has a problem. They aren't listening to the people. They don't have a unified solution on healthcare, or minimum wage, or the big banks... or anything. For Democrats to be successful they need to be unified around progressive ideas and push to implement them. In our district, voters want elected officials to make their lives better (or at least, not make them worse). People want a healthcare solution, they want adequate environmental protections and they want a level playing field. That is why I advocate for a single payer healthcare system. I talk all the time about implementing a tax system that imposes fees on power plants that emit greenhouse gases and provides tax breaks for wind and solar investments. I advocate for breaking up large banks and large corporations that monopolize markets and prevent small businesses from having a fighting chance at success and I strongly support increasing the minimum wage. In my District, people want a Congressman who will fight for them and their families and ignore the special interests that have over run our political system."
Dr. David Gill's message on this is kind of personal, related to the career that he's been engaged in all of his adult life-- health care: "Voters are looking for politicians who actually care more about the well-being of ordinary citizens than that of insurance companies, arms manufacturers, Wall Street banks and oil and pharmaceutical companies. As a physician, I have been providing CARE to people from all walks of life for nearly 30 years. I openly criticize the corporate ownership of our politics and our government. By putting people first, both in my professional career and in my political aspirations, I have been able to perform far better than other Democratic candidates in my congressional district. I intend to keep pushing my message of single-payer healthcare, tuition-free public universities, and a $15 per hour minimum wage, and I have little doubt that this message, delivered by a demonstrated caregiver, will succeed next November."

Blue America is enthusiastic about two candidates running in the CA-45 Orange County district Mimi Walters technically represents, even though she lives in a fancy mansion on the beach in a neighboring district. One is former Sherrod Brown staffer Kia Hamadanchy. He was very frank in his assessment of the Democratic Party messaging and re-branding assault yesterday.
Personally I'm not really looking to the national party when it comes to messaging  and how we move forward as a party. One- because it's an area where we completely failed as a party and I don't think there has been a real examination as to why. Two- because we need a new vision for the Democrat party and that vision is going to come from the grassroots and from candidates all over the country who represent a new generation of leadership and the kind of different thinking that we need.

A lot of what is in the Better Deal plan is clearly designed to attempt to appeal to Trump voters in states like Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. However I'm sure that when it comes to Orange County the advice I'll get will be the complete opposite and that I'll be told I need to run as a centrist Democrat to have any chance of winning. Frankly I think that's plainly wrong and if we don't strongly for progressive values in this election, we'll lose. People have to be inspired and you have to give them something to believe in and a reason to get out and vote. And that's not by running a cookie cutter campaign that doesn't resonate in any way shape or form. The biggest problem we face as Democrats right now is that we don't fight for working people anymore. And the only way to fix that is by being very clear about where we stand not just in where we are in the issues but with how we go about communicating that to voters.

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At 8:24 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

The party truly does need a rehaul if The Establishment were smart, which they're not they would go the Populism route & go bold on policy issues instead of this go to the center garbage & right now i trust the people more to take over the party then the status quo establishment. Better Future is ok but we've got a long way to go.

At 10:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scummer is pandering, pure and simple. He treats voters like the total retards they are, so it still may work. But the lase election kind of indicates that a lot of us/US are becoming wise to his horseshit.

Scummer and Pelosi are irrelevant now. So they can say and propose any goddamn thing they think voters like. But if they win in '18, they'll be forced to choose between the horseshit they've shoveling and their big donors who won't allow any of that shit to stain their Italian loafers.

And their loafers shall remain pristine. Anyone who believes otherwise deserves the cluster fuck their lives will become.

Watch what they DO, and don't pay attention to what they SAY, especially when they are impotent to Do what they SAY.


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