Dems Should Campaign On Trade And Jobs, Not On Being Like Republicans

Dave Johnson

Watch this video of a smart politician who knew how to campaign in the Midwest. He know what people were thinking had his finger on the pulse of what people wanted to do about it:

Democrats Campaigning As Republicans?

A recent Politico story, “Running as a Dem, sounding like a Republican,” says that many Democrats are campaigning by trying to “appeal to more conservative voters.” They are talking about cutting back on spending, tax cuts for businesses and going after immigrants.

Some Democrats also argue that, with so many Republican candidates — pushed by tea party forces — staking out positions further and further to the right, there’s room for Democratic hopefuls to appeal to centrist Republican voters who feel alienated.

Republicans have moved so far to the right that there is room for Democrats to move to the right? What?

What’s the old Republican saying? “When I vote for a Republican, I want the real thing. I accept no substitutes.”

What’s the old Democrat saying? “If I can’t find a real Democrat to vote for I guess I’ll just stay home.”

An Alternative: Offer A Plan To Fix The Problems That Are Costing So Many Jobs

Voters — especially Democrats (and there are more of them) — don’t really want to vote for Republicans who aren’t so far to the right. They want to vote for people who are offering a real, honest plan to provide what voters want. Republicans, on any part of the spectrum, never do that.

What voters want is jobs. Democrats should campaign on trade, manufacturing, investment in infrastructure and on their own strong, comprehensive “Make It In America” plan.

The Populist Majority website populistmajority.org has several polls that show a path to election victory that uses trade and manufacturing:

  • 65% consider outsourcing, rather than a potential shortage of skilled workers, as the reason for a lack of new manufacturing jobs.
  • 73% favor offering companies a tax break for every job they bring from overseas to the US. (Republicans filibustered this in July.)
  • 72% believe the Trans-Pacific Partnership will help large corporations, while 64% think it will hurt America’s small businesses.
  • 79% support enforcing trade agreements.
  • 79% cracking down on unfairly subsidized imports.
  • 77% support tax incentives for manufacturer investments. (Republicans filibustered this in July.)
  • 84% support a concerted plan to make sure that economic, tax, education and trade policies in this country work together to help support manufacturing.
  • 60% say the US needs to “get tough” with countries like China in order to halt unfair trade practices, including currency manipulation, which will keep undermining our economy.
  • 71% support increasing government investment to build and repair roads, bridges, high-speed rail, smart electric grid technology and other infrastructure needs.

A 2012 poll found absolutely overwhelming opposition to these trade agreements

A May 2012 Angus Reid Public Opinion poll found that U.S. respondents who believe that the United States should “renegotiate” or “leave” NAFTA outnumbered by nearly 4-to-1 those that say the country should “continue to be a member” (53 vs. 15 percent). Support for the “leave” or “renegotiate” positions dominated among Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike. Just 1 in 3 U.S. respondents thought that NAFTA benefitted the overall U.S. economy, and only 1 in 4 saw the pact as having benefitted U.S. workers.

“Clues”

Savvy political insiders have a word for poll results like this: they are called “clues.”

The public gets it that our NAFTA-style trade agreements have sucked jobs out of the country. They get it that we need a national plan to restore our manufacturing ecosystem. They get it that we need to invest in maintaining and modernizing our infrastructure. Republicans are on the wrong side of all of these.

The reason the public is so opposed to these trade agreements is that they can see what these agreements have done to them. Go for a drive around Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana and any other area where manufacturing used to provide good jobs with good pay and good benefits.

Here are photos from my 2010 trip to Lorain, Ohio, when I was traveling around the region :

P1000784 P1000802 P1000791 P1000795 P1000789 P1000787
What town in the Midwest doesn’t look like Lorain? This is what the trade deficit is doing to manufacturing areas.

Make It In America

House and Senate Democrats have been pushing a series of Make It In America bills. Why aren’t Democrats making this the centerpiece of their campaigns?

Dems Push A New Round Of Make It In America Legislation, “This week Democrats added 23 new bills to the comprehensive Make It In America plan. These new bills are not like the usual Republican “giving tax cuts to rich people fixes everything” nonsense. These bills contain real substance, and represent a great deal of hard work by representatives and their staff.”

Big New Senate Push For Manufacturing Jobs,

Senate Democrats announced Tuesday a major “Manufacturing Jobs for America initiative.” A few local news outlets actually even reported it.

The Manufacturing Jobs for America initiative is a package of 40 bills. (Go ahead, click through. It won’t bite. It’s a summary, and it even has pictures.) The bills range from the “Adult Education and Economic Growth Act” to “increase investment in adult education coupled with better coordination and integration of adult education with occupational skills training and postsecondary education” ; to the “Green Energy Technology Manufacturing and Export Assistance Act of 2013,″ that will “establish a Green Energy Technology Manufacturing and Export Assistance Program to, among other things, promote policies to reduce production costs and encourage innovation, investment, and productivity among businesses in the United States that export green energy technologies or related services and implement a national strategy with respect to the exportation of green tech,”; to the “Rebuild American Manufacturing Act (S. 544,)” which will “require the President to establish a national manufacturing strategy every two years, and submit that strategy to Congress.” There are 37 others.

Democrats Plan Makes Jobs In America, “This is a set of specific, detailed, targeted bills that clearly create jobs and restore our economic competitiveness, beginning with a national strategy for manufacturing. This is very different from the vague, sloganeering, lobbyist-written plan offered by Senate Republicans.”

A Clear Contrast — Republicans On The Wrong Side Of All Of This

Not only have they been pushing these bills, but Republicans have been obstructing them (as part of their general strategy of economic sabotage and obstruction), giving Democrats an opportunity to draw a sharp contrast between Democratic and Republican priorities.

House Republicans Blocked Critical ‘Make It In America’ Bill, “These bills contain real substance, and represent a great deal of hard work by representatives and their staff. These people are dedicated to governing and making things better for American workers.”

July, 2012: Republicans Filibuster Bill Ending Tax Breaks For Shipping Jobs Out Of Country!

JuLy 2014: Republicans Again Filibuster Bring Jobs Home Act.

January, 2014: GOP Economic Sabotage Continues With Filibuster of Jobless Benefits.

Campaign On Fixing Trade, Making It In America, Infrastructure And Jobs

Campaigning on fixing trade, Make It In America, infrastructure and jobs and general Republican obstruction and economic sabotage, especially in the Midwest and other areas hit hard by the loss of manufacturing jobs, is a winner.

Note – The Democrat’s Middle Class Jump Start 100-day action plan is a good start to this approach. (Click here)

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