Blue Wave Requires Democrats To Have an Economic Message

First, the Republicans said they would win the 2018 midterm elections because they would “repeal and replace” Obamacare and everybody would be happy.  But that strategy didn’t work out so well, and most Americans are unhappy with the costs of healthcare, as well as the lack of universal coverage.  And most people still blame Republicans for this.

Then, the Republicans said they would win the 2018 midterm elections because of their great tax cut bill passed last December.  But that hasn’t worked out so well either, as recent polls show that average Americans do not feel that they are benefiting from the tax cuts, which they perceive as primarily benefiting rich people, super-rich people, and big corporations. In fact, in some special elections (such as the one in Pennsylvania won by Conor Lamb) the GOP candidates completely stopped talking about tax cuts.

So now, according to many recent media reports, Republicans are saying they will win the 2018 midterm elections because of “the economy.”

A recent report in The Hill said:

Democrats are growing worried that the strong economy, and President Trump’s messaging about his economic stewardship, will help Republicans in this year’s midterm elections and have an even greater impact in 2020.  Even as signs point to Democrats winning back the House, the party is concerned that their hopes of a blue wave could turn into something smaller if Trump and the GOP are effective on their economic messaging ahead of November.

Interviews with more than a dozen Democrats suggest a number of people in the party are worried that Democrats aren’t doing enough to provide a counterargument.  “It’s a very big concern,” said Democratic pollster Celinda Lake. “The economy is the No. 1 issue out there for people and right now Trump has a very aggressive economic message that seems to cross traditional party lines to voters.”

What this points out is that Democrats must focus on bread and butter issues, and the #1 bread and butter issue is the economy.  And in politics the reality is not as important as the perception.  Democrats must create a perception in the minds of voters that they will do a better job with the economy than Trump and the Republicans.

The truth is that Republicans have kept wages stagnant while inflation is increasing, with rising costs for housing, healthcare, college education, and now gasoline.  The good economy started under Obama and Trump is lucky that it has continued despite his actions of exploding the deficit and raising interest rates and inflation.

Trump may have perceived victories in foreign affairs, such as the North Korea summit, which won’t yield any lasting benefits for the average American.  Trump’s scandals have dragged down America’s image all over the world, and his policies of “America First” have destroyed our position as a world leader in diplomacy and human rights.

According to Lake,Trump’s historically low approval ratings will not necessarily translate into votes for Democrats.  Voters focused on the economy as their top issue won’t necessarily want the Democrats to take back control of Congress.

“We tend to just assume that people will view us as better on this issue and they don’t, and you can’t win elections when you’re behind on the economy,” she said. “To produce a real blue wave, you need to have an economic message.”

One of the leading political analysts in the country, Charlie Cook, says that Democrats still hold the advantage and have a good chance of taking back control of the House this year.

Cook recently wrote:

“It’s not clear that Democrats fully understood why they lost the last presidential election and why their congressional gains were so paltry. I met last week with leaders and members of a manufacturing union that was still livid over the Obama administration’s ‘war on coal’ that they believe put many of their members out of work or cut their hours.”

“A bit of self-reflection rather than just scapegoating might be in order.”

This is a year of great opportunity and great potential for the Democrats, if they can capitalize on the opportunity and realize their potential.  Nothing is sadder than wasted potential, and nothing would be sadder than Democrats blowing their chances in the 2018 elections because of their failure to come up with a strong economic message that voters can relate to and believe in.