Vot­ers would be worse off with Democrats’ wan ‘bet­ter deal’

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Mercedes Sch­lapp

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 work­ing­class 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 sin­gle­payer 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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