What extraordinary sights: From coast to coast and border to border, hundreds of thousands of Americans came together. The signs that folks were carrying conveyed different messages; e.g anger, support for Planned Parenthood, protection of equal rights for members of the LGBT community, concerns for the environment, to name just a few that were notable as the tv cameras followed crowds in New York, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Houston, San Francisco, Seattle and Los Angeles. But, in spite of that diversity, there was the common bond that all shared a very different vision for our country than the one set forth by Putin’s poodle during his presidential campaign. It was truly a “moment” of E pluribus unum – out of many, one!!!
The hope here is that Congressional Democrats took heart from these rallies and HRC’s 2.8 million popular vote majority, and will not go into “wimp mode” just because they are in the minority. Indeed, how much better if they actually went on the offensive and brought forward constructive, proactive proposals that align with what the majority of poll respondents have already indicated they want.
An overarching strategy
It should be understood from the outset that House and Senate Republican majorities will vote down every Democrat proposal. What is more, they are just as likely to eschew any degree of conciliation or willingness to negotiate. For the Democrats to simply accept that state of affairs and become defeatist is completely unacceptable. It is a proactive alternative that is needed. To that end, in the sections that follow, three major areas will be identified wherein well thought out Democrat legislative proposals can be aligned with what the majority of polled citizens want. These need to be made public and constantly contrasted with what Congressional Republicans are intent on passing. The effectiveness of this approach will be as dependent on compelling messaging as it is on the contents of the proffered legislation.
Recent polls have shown that respondents do not want the ACA repealed , something that conservatives have been hellbent on doing since the Act came into being. Now that Obamacare has been up and running, its’ flaws have become identifiable and can be fixed, creating a better alternative to its elimination. So, rather than conservatives’ “repeal and replace”, the watchword would be “Improve and promote.”
Job creation through infrastructure upgrades
What is needed here is a Public Works program akin to the one used by FDR to help lift the country out of the Great Depression, a bit of history that should be a part of the Democrat’s messaging. For example, airports can be modernized, roads repaired and bridges brought into compliance with safety codes.
A multi-part project of this magnitude is apt to come with a trillion dollar price tag. That means that a message-friendly mechanism must be found to generate such a sum. That should include a reduction in government spending elsewhere in the budget, revenue enhancement in the form of a higher tax rate levied against the upper 1%, and the floating of government bonds to raise additional cash.
Protecting Social Security
Back in 1987, then-President Reagan brought together a bipartisan group of members of Congress and charged them with the responsibility of improving the System’s solvency. The same thing can be done again with the same result and it would require only some small “tweaks” in a handful of select variables; e.g. increase the age of eligibility, increase the penalty for early withdrawal of funds from the SS Trust, and increase the cap on the contributions made by people paying into the System.
The immediate future
As is well known, Cabinet confirmation hearings are now underway in the Senate. While the Democrats in that chamber are working hard to insure that the poodle’s nominees are properly and fully vetted, that is a task with a short shelf life. By the middle of next month, that effort will come to an end. At that point, Democrats will be faced with the alternatives cited much earlier in this blog; i.e. act defeatist and shrink into the background, or become proactive with a legislative agenda of their own; one that is advanced with a full-frontal messaging campaign that harmonizes proposal particulars with existing poll results, and draws sharp contrasts between them and what the Republicans are up to.
As already noted, these efforts will be defeated. Use every one of them to build a narrative that speaks to the need to return every incumbent Democrat to Congress, and to unseat every conservative who is seeking (re-)-election.