The Democrats new motto is met with giggles

Matt Bai:
The slogan, which apparently took months of focus-grouping to perfect, rather than the five seconds of idle thought while doing the laundry that you would think it required, evokes — yet again — memories of the Roosevelt and Truman administrations, which remain powerful in exactly two places in America: nursing homes and Democratic leadership meetings.

Critics of the plan were quick to point out that it wasn’t really a plan at all — more like a collection of greatest hits like public infrastructure spending (1984), job retraining (1992) and monopoly busting (1896).

But the more profound and more overlooked problem with this “Better Deal” proclamation isn’t actually about its language or its gauziness. It’s more about the underlying philosophy, which misreads in some fundamental way the core appeal of Trump’s campaign.

Democrats are trying to do a couple of things with this new marketing push. One is to answer this question of what they actually want to achieve, aside from impeaching the president. In announcing the new slogan, Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader, lamented that “too many Americans don’t know what we stand for” before boldly declaring: “Not after today.”

Because nothing redefines a party in the public mind like a slogan unveiled by congressional leaders at a podium. That’s always worked before.

The other and perhaps more urgent objective is to co-opt some of the populist fury that’s simmering right now in the Democratic base, before it overwhelms the party establishment in the same way that Trump toppled leading Republicans. Schumer and his compatriots are trying to convincingly adopt the ethos of the anti-corporate politicians who appeal most to their activists — namely Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
According to the latest data from the indispensable Pew Research Center, about 55 percent of Americans are frustrated with the federal government, and only 20 percent say they trust the government to do what’s right most or all of the time. The partisan divides here shift from year to year, but the pervasive sentiment is remarkably constant.

This, at least among a lot of independent and less ideological voters, is what Trump tapped into last year with his silly red hat. Sure, he mouthed a lot of platitudes about setting Wall Street straight (and then hired the top echelon of Goldman Sachs to work in his White House). But it was his indictment of government generally — and the establishments of both parties — that ultimately washed away the Clintonian argument for faith in the governing class.
There is more.

Since Democrats are the party of ever growing government and regulations they are poorly positioned to take advantage of this indictment of government.  In fact, they are resisting the very thing that voters want most.  It is one of the reasons why all their attack on Trump may have dragged down his popularity but it has not enhanced their own.  I have not seen any Trump voters who now think the Democrats are right on the issues that matter to them.


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