Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Playing fair with the American people

A revised and condensed version was published in the Sky Hi News August 7-8, 2018

The other day  my son asked," I know the Democrats  are against Trump, but what are the Democrats for?   I can run off Trump's campaign slogans by heart, but I can't think of one for the Democrats."  My first response," I can't name what the Democratic Party stands for either."  Even worse, I opined, Democrats, are about to blow a blue  wave if they get themselves tied up in this progressive v liberal v socialist stuff . Whatever they do, we do not want to make the same mistake the Trump people are doing,  only appealing to a narrow  base and hope they can frighten, fool voters with false facts, and bully the middle.  The overall message can have a theme, but the the message should be broad, positive and flexible enough to be tailor made and adapted to individual legislative races, since each district has its own particular makeup.

Giving it some thought, I noticed the issues supported by Democrats all have something in common: treating people fairly:  "Playing fair with the American people" could  meet those criteria I set up for myself.  It is not only the underlying foundation of Democrats' thought, but being fair is a better angel of American nature, a positive value  in sports and in life. Democrats should fight for fair and secure elections, promoting  economic policies that improve standards of living and quality of life for many, not a few, fairly complying with the rule of law and being truthful in  communications,   promoting opportunity and respect for others, and a foreign policy that is fair to our own national security interests, not others'.

While the nation is waiting for Mueller to finish his investigation and make his recommendations, this is a good time to formulate a message. Like it or not, the next two years will be determined by the Mueller findings, and if indeed what he finds about Trump himself  is no there there , where will the Democrats be? On the other hand, voters like to compare and make choices, too,  and if they find what the Democrats propose to be worse than what they have with Trump, that may lose elections.. The current Democratic party slogan, "A better deal", is absolutely non inspiring when no one knows what the deal will be or can even repeat it in a few words.. A deal that is nothing but a shopping list  to appeal to certain demographics and special interests is no inspiration.  The Democrats need to have a theme that puts their message in a context that is easy to grasp by the 60% who have been left out in the cold  and harmed by Trumpism.

 What is a given is that  the economy is appearing indeed strong in spite of storm clouds on the horizon of inflation, fall out from trade wars that will ripple across all sectors, and the debt that was increased to feather the nests of  the already rich and powerful. The beneficiaries have been spotty and the middle class is wising up they are not the ones who benefit and find they are paying more for health care and education, eating up  any minor gains in take home pay. For many, the impact of the tariffs is and will be felt from construction, manufacturing, and agriculture..   Resentment is already building  as shown in some key  state polls. Eleven days before the November elections will be the release of the third  economic quarter report and we are not sure what impact that will have. One thing is sure, the benefits of the economic growth have not been distributed fairly.

(Two points added to the Sky Hi News  published version that do not appear in this version published above on the blog;"There is an attack flipside to the slogan, too. For example: It "isn't fair" the President lies about the facts to persuade you he is right. It "isn't fair" he makes our health insurance more expensive and wants to make pre-existing coverage unaffordable. It "isn't fair "he drives us into debt by giving tax breaks to those who do not need it. Donald Trump claiming it isn't fair that media criticizes and fact checks him is the cry of a wannabe dictator, not the cry of someone concerned about fairness."....
"There is a looming danger for Democrats, too, Democrats, are about to blow a blue wave if they get themselves tied up in this progressive v liberal v socialist knots. There is no better way to shoot themselves in the foot and there is no better way for the GOP helped by Russian interference to pull the trigger than to stir the pot of Democratic divisions. Democrats need to emphasize what binds all factions of the party while respecting there are various ways to achieve the same results."

 Here is an example of   stump speech that might work.

The campaign slogan: Playing fair with the American people.: Democrats  will fight for ....

1. Fair and secure elections
        ( free from foreign manipulation; American elections for Americans
         hardened cyber and voting systems
         end political gerrymandering
         make it more convenient  for voter participation
         respect press freedom)
2. Fair economic policy  to improve  standard of living and quality of life for many, not a few
        ( affordable quality  health insurance
         protection of medicare, medicaid and social security benefits
          science based environmental protection policies
         tax policy that directly helps the middle class;
         wage increases
         trade policies that help, not hurt Americans
          relief for student loans
         affordable access to post high school education and  career training )

3. Fairly promote opportunity for all
        (civil and human rights
         humane immigration policy
         respect  women and their choices
         comprehensive immigration policy reform while securing borders)

4. A Foreign policy and national security that is fair to  American interest  but does not enable competitors or antagonists' interests.. It is not fair to Americans to go it alone without support of allies and alliances.
       ( Strengthen alliances
        support our intelligence services
        wise use of defense dollars)

5. Playing fair with the rule of law and being truthful in communications
      (Not fair to claim to be above the law but others must comply,  or obstructing justice, or lying to the public when facts are politically inconvenient)


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