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When being anti-Trump is not enough, Dems re-brand

By Clarence Page, Tribune Content Agency on

To give wavering voters something to get excited about, Schumer offered a new three-point agenda and a new slogan: "A Better Deal." It sounded like a combination of Franklin D. Roosevelt's "New Deal," Harry S Truman's "Fair Deal" and Papa John's Pizza's "Better ingredients. Better pizza. Papa John's."

The party's three-point agenda, also announced by House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California, pledges to increase pay by pushing for a $15 an hour minimum wage, reduce "everyday expenses" such as rising prescription drug and transportation costs that eat away at family incomes, and use tax credits and other incentives to encourage job training and hiring in a constantly changing job market.

My first impression of this rebranding effort: It brought to mind a song from "All That Jazz" to mind: "Everything Old Is New Again." That's not a bad thing. Democrats have won national elections over the past half-century or so when they have offered agendas like this with a sense of clarity and conviction and, most of all, a sense that the party is on the same side as ordinary people who are struggling to make ends meet.

Bill Clinton and Barack Obama won the presidency by promising empathy ("I feel your pain") and assuring swing voters that they were not in the hip pocket of the party's left wing.

Today I am reminded that Obama won more than 200 countries twice that later voted for Trump. I also am reminded of how Clinton quite likely could have won Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania, as Obama also did twice, had she only visited them more and beat back the notion that she was only the candidate of women, minorities and transgender bathroom issues.

In giving those constituencies someone to vote against, Democrats have received a valuable assist so far from Donald Trump. But, as their new slogan suggests, they need to offer a better deal, even if they don't have a better slogan.

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(E-mail Clarence Page at cpage@chicagotribune.com.)

(c) 2017 CLARENCE PAGE DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.
 

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