Over the weekend, Paul Ryan’s now deleted tweet about the woman in Lancaster, PA whose extra $1.50 per week will cover her Costco membership got a fair amount of attention (here and here, for example). I know this went pretty far and wide, since my daughter showed me that it was showing up on her social media feeds, which (unlike mine) aren’t all (or even mostly) politics. So “the millenials” know that Ryan is a clueless twit and that his party’s “tax cut” isn’t enough to pay for one night of drinks at a cheap bar.
The logical follow up to this is a few simple, straightforward words about what Democrats will do differently. How does this sound: “Once we have Congress and the White House, we will roll back the Trump tax cuts on the 1% and give that money to the middle class.” I think it sounds pretty good, but I’ll be god damned if a mainstream Democrat can say it without a bunch of mealy-mouthed qualifications.
So, in 2018 and 2020, are we going to run on something people care about – cutting their taxes, giving them more services (including Medicare for all) and making the rich pay for it? Or is it going to be another year of 100 page position papers with 50 different little proposals that nobody can understand?
That’s an honest question, not a rhetorical one. And, if you’ve seen some good Democratic messaging from one of the many good candidates who’ve stepped up for 2018, please tell us about it in the comments.
Why must you constantly attack the democrats for failures that haven’t happened, reflecting a clumsy political approach that exists only in your own mind? You do realize that when Democrats–such as Pelosi–argue that they are going to do great things for the middle class the fucking berniecrats and ankle biters of the left begin howling and wailing that if any attention at all is paid to taxpayers/voters it is because the democrats are a scummy neo-liberal bunch of liars and oligarchs?
It sounds like …pandering. How about: “We’re going to roll back those tax cuts,and use that money to provide good government.” Or has it become impossible in a nation of selfish cheapskates to argue that taxes are a good thing and that they’re necessary to a civilized society? If “pie in the sky” is the only economic platform Americans will stand for, then there’s no hope — we are all doomed to become either trumpsters or the victims of trumpsters.
Spinoza Is My Co-Pilot
Republicans understand soundbite messaging, Dems mostly don’t. Dems seem constitutionally incapable of “simple and straightforward”. Qualify fucking everything, you know, so they can’t be accused of being unfair or whatever. The accusations come fast and furious anyway.
Ah, good. Let’s start off with a fight.
It has long seemed to me that a simple message to tax the rich and provide health care would work nicely.
And I agree, without qualifications. The policy papers are fine, but the media need sound bites.
Republicans will deride this policy as “redistribution”, since that is literally the definition of redistribution. Instead, I rather it be framed in terms of programs. Roll back the Trump tax cuts on the 1% and invest that money in better health care, better roads, better education, a stronger middle class…. I am pretty sure this was Obama’s messaging.
Dorothy A. Winsor (formerly Iowa Old Lady)
Speaking of getting our story straight, Iowa caucuses are tonight. Candidates for state and federal offices will be chosen in a primary later in the year, so this is about platform and electing people to committees. I’ve never been to an off year caucus, and we don’t plan to be living here in November, so I’m disinclined to brave the snow storm we’re having and go.
Spinoza Is My Co-Pilot
@aimai: Sorry, aimai, I have loved your commenting (here and elsewhere) for many years, but on this topic I’m squarely with mistermix. Dems’ notoriously lousy messaging abilities are very real and frustrating as hell.
I like “expropriate the expropriators.” Or “a la lanterne!”
Slogans don’t really matter. Trump didn’t win because MAGA is a great slogan. He won because everything lined up for him and his voters weren’t interested in policy at all–they saw him as a guy who would loot and pillage for them. Democrats who promised the same or better would have been distrusted because Democrats are believed to loot and pillage (or rather: to run government) for the benefit of people who are not trump supporters. I.E. women, gayz, people of color.
The idea that a slogan has anything to do with it is just really dumb. Slogans are what people refer to after they’ve made up their mind to vote, to help themselves position themselves with respect to an enemy tribe, or to rationalize their decision.
@germy: This is more important than sloganeering.
foucault swing voter mistermix
That sounds better.
Mike in DC
“We’re going to raise your wages, increase your services, cut your taxes, and make the richest Americans pay their fair share.”
If I could have anything I’d want the Dems to run the entire election on a “claw back” and anti-corruption platform. They should treat the entire Trump team and republicans in congress as a “most wanted” and blanket individual districts with non stop attacks on them as thieves looting the treasury. The issue is to get back into power and claw back the ill gotten gains of Trump’s millionaire and billionaire cabinet. Voters don’t understand the ins and outs of tax policy at all–like: at all! People routinely think their own taxes will go up when we are talking bout tax rates. Reframing Trump’s tax law as a looting of the treasury that destroyed health care, schools, and roads–personalizing it and naming individual billionaires and millionaires, is the way to go.
They should run “restore good government/throw the bums out” ads in every republican district and go easy on the promises of how they are going to do it. Leave tax reform for after we take back the white house.
foucault swing voter mistermix
MAGA is a broad slogan. Simple statements of what people will get out of voting for a Democrat are not slogans – they’re easily digestible arguments for why voting for Dem will change things.
So, here’s a Democratic voter. “So, does this mean you are going to take my tax cut away?”
The Balloon Juice consensus seems to be that promising an efficient welfare state is sufficient. What about the people who have lost jobs, seen their wages contract, had to take lower paying jobs, or fear losing their jobs?
What about the people seeing inflation, higher rents, higher food prices eat into their incomes?
The Republicans are liars and thieves. It should be easy to roll over them.
I’m looking forward to seeing what the Democrats come up with. But it will have to include tax cuts and income incentives for the working poor and the middle class, not just promises to provide health care and to protect Social Security.
Sadly, it sounds like you are correct. Even the “progressives” here can’t imagine saying that we would reverse the tax cut for the rich and spend that money on healthcare and infrastructure. It has to go to a middle-class tax cut or nothing.
It sounds like something Republicans will warp into “Democrats are already promising to raise your taxes!” [accompanied by sirens and grainy images of dusky-hued people sneaking across a simulated border].
Trump voters all think they’re being targeted personally whenever somebody rails against the one-percent.
Fetishizing messaging is an excuse for not doing the work. It’s always the same ivory tower kibitzers pulling that crap.
Notice how the middle-aged black women who do the majority of the work in the Democratic party never sweat messaging? Learn from them. Stop sitting on your asses.
foucault swing voter mistermix
Why not both?
A tax cut will do nothing for those people. Zero. They’re already running to stand still, and another fake “tax cut” means that they still can’t afford any of that, plus the infrastructure and social services they need crumble even faster.
If those families lose their CHIP coverage, a $200 tax cut ain’t gonna pay for their kid’s cancer treatment.
What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us?
@Cheryl Rofer: Yes if I were in charge of the messaging I’d say we’re going to roll back the tax cuts for the rich to make sure your medical bills never force you into bankruptcy and your retirement is secure.
@Mnemosyne: I see nothing wrong with letting the 1.50 a week for most people stand while taking away the tax cuts for the rich. I WISH a mfer billionaire would renounce his citizenship. Maybe they could move to Russia and let Putin confiscate their money from them and then let them try to come crawling back whining. F- em.
@foucault swing voter mistermix: Your conviction that this simple statement of “what the democrats will do” is sufficient is, itself, kind of an upper class/democratic/liberal fallacy of how you can persuade voters. The point is that at this point you can’t persuade Trump’s voters of anything–the system is too partisan for that. And as for democratic voters you don’t have to persuade them of anything but that they have to get off their asses and vote. That is a huge number of non voting/unergized people and a huge number of very angry people.
Those people are not actually upset about the tax cuts (necessarily). You have to be pretty well informed to grasp how bad the tax cuts are going to be–and you have to be very patient to sit through even one line of a promise that waffles around and says things like “when we take back congress–oh, and the senate—oh and the white house…”
Even focusing just on Slogans yours takes too long and is too spongy and meaningless and airy. Cut to the chase: throw the bums out! Restore honor to the white house! Claw back stolen monies! Demand excellence in public service! Christ–take your pick.
@foucault swing voter mistermix:
Because Americans already have the lowest goddamned taxes in the Western world, which means we can’t pay to upgrade our infrastructure.
Getting another tax cut doesn’t do you much good if the bridge you drive over to get to work collapses because there wasn’t enough tax money to fix it.
Fairness is an American value. You work hard you deserve to see more of your money each month. So. We will make sure the billionaires pay their fair share and you are never financially crushed for becoming sick. Fairness is what we are fighting for
Unfortunately pandering and demagoguery work. I just came back from a doctors appointment and she was spouting GOP bullshit. Twitler may be an idiot but Clinton was so corrupt that there is nothing she could have done to make anything better, at least with him and his policies and his reducing regulations, the economy is doing great and people are getting jobs now. When I tried to point out to her that the trends in unemployment and GDP went back to Obama, she said I was being unfair. When immigration came up, she’s from India, she said he was only talking about illegal immigration, and since she received a green card based on her being a doctor, it was only right that immigration be based on skill. Sigh.
But her emails!!!
How about SMASH. Stop Making America a Shit Hole.
You know, just because you’re a middle-aged dad doesn’t mean you have to sound like a Dittohead.
That’s not the proposal. The proposal is to take the tax cuts away from the rich and give a bigger tax cut to the middle class, which lands us right back in the middle of not being able to pay for shit like Social Security, which was the whole purpose of this tax cut in the first place.
Jesus, doesn’t anybody here know how to play this game?
If the leftist/jacobin factions want to make themselves useful they could threaten confiscatory tax hikes on the wealthiest americans, to the tune of post-WWII era levels if not even higher.
Once we have Congress and the White House, we will make the middle class tax cuts permanent and the 1% tax cuts temporary and invest that money in better health care, better roads, better education, a stronger middle class.
A few weeks back, there was an episode of “This American Life” devoted to deriding the Democrats as clueless bumblers who have no idea what they stand for or how to talk to regular people about their agenda. I get why people bang this drum, but I think it’s mostly bullshit; an honest analysis of Republican messaging would be just as critical.
Anyhoo, in the beat-down of Democratic messaging on the NPR show, the host buttonholed Democrats of every stripe — Bernie bros (actual Democrats, as opposed to Stein-voting shit-fer-brains), WWC-focused Rust Belt types, social justice-focused Dems, garden-variety big city Dems, etc. The point was clearly to imply that there was no way to reconcile all these competing agendas and boil it down to a simple message. The segment went on to lampoon Schumer and Pelosi’s rollout of the “Better Deal” slogan.
But during the interviews meant to display irreconcilable differences, a theme emerged that was blindingly obvious, at least to me: equality and fairness. That’s what we stand for, whether we’re talking about fiscal policy, tax policy, labor policy, civil rights issues, etc. It’s really as simple as that. Anne Rice, author of the vampire novels, put it this way:
That and a dollop of “Come with us if you want to live” in the age of Trump sounds about right to me.
Apple pie costs about $10.00 at Costco–it will take that Pa. teacher two weeks of working to afford one slice.
The GOP controls the rhetoric because the media allows it. Dems don’t march in lockstep on issues and policies, but they need to learn how to coordinate on messaging. In every tweet or interview, take back the message: it’s not “chain migration,” it’s “immigration,” that this country was founded on. It’s not “anti-abortion,” it’s “anti-choice,” etc. Democrats are Progressives; Republicans are not “Conservatives,” they are “Regressives.” “I don’t want my country back; I want my country forward.”
You mean he’s a clueless twit, not “twat.” Twat is vulgar slang for the female genitalia and is used as a sexist insult.
A current WaPo story suggests that people have trouble understanding economic issues and who is helping them:
Democrats need to hammer home that the GOP lies to them and only helps the rich. The GOP gives the middle class pennies, while shoveling dollars to the wealthy.
But the Democrats are making it sound as though they want to roll back the tax cuts for everyone. This is deeply stupid.
The WaPo story talks about the Not One Penny coalition of progressives who oppose the tax cuts.
This is all true. The GOP are venal bastards. But the fight will be on more than one front.
OT, but the SCOTUS will not block the PA Supreme Court’s order to redraw the congressional districts. Big win for the good guys!
Ryan thinks an extra $1.50 a week can pay for a CostCo membership. Democrats plan to increase the minimum wage to $15/hr because we know how much of a CostCo membership really costs and because we believe that people who WORK deserve to earn enough to cover their basic needs including food, housing, healthcare, and childcare.
I haven’t seen much evidence that Democrats have learned anything from the 2016 defeat.
There will be greater mobilization by left-leaning votors in 2016, but that is a reaction to Trump and not the result of any particular Democratic planning or messaging.
Just call up the Treasury and tell them to set the printing presses to Warp 9!
I think any attempt to decide what the democrats should do that begins by slagging off on them as incompetent bumblers and morons should sit down and shut the fuck up.
Voters get out and vote for a lot of different reasons–the most important is probably tribal or brand loyalty. I agree that the Democrats need to do a better job of creating and marketing a recognizable brand but that is because the deck is stacked against them–they simply have no way of drumming out their message the way the republicans do and they have to essentially unmake the republican message before they can successfully broadcast their own. Its very, very, very, hard to do that with assholes from our own side continually attacking democrats as they try individually (within their districts) or nationally (with respect to a very complicated map of voters) to thread the needle of appealing to our voters while also appealing or unselling republican voters.
I like Betty’s idea of equality and fairness, but I like mine too “clawback trump’s ill gotten gains and bring back good government.” Not everyone is for equality and fairness–they are words that have been poisoned by the far right. but lots and lots of people think of themselves as anti corrupt and are sickened by trump’s brand of corruption. A whole lot of people might like a way to make up for their first vote for trump. We should be giving them a reason to do so.
Between 2008 and 2013 as I and many others were contemplating where our next meal was coming from and how much fun it would be to live in the open along the railroad tracks a tax cut was the very last thing for me to think about.
Yes, reversing a massive tax cut to the people who need it the least is important but then promising a tax cut to the middle class to make up for it is asinine.
The actual middle class and below need to know that the government is not going to fuck them to make the rich, richer and the poor, poorer. They need to know what the government at least wants to do for everyone, not just the people who currently own it.
We want our government taken back from the wealthy and returned to it’s rightful owners and to be able to conduct it’s rightful business.
Those problems are not tax cuts. Taxes for the middle class are already relatively low. Further lowering them hardly is the answer for someone who has lost a job. However, taxing the rich to provide for social programs will also increase available jobs.
The cap on social security taxes should be lifted. (Tax the rich!) And we can say “Tax the 1%” if we want to be specific. I think most people know that’s not them.
@msdc: Wilmer encouraged that sort of thing. He has a symbiotic thing going with the Republicans, and since he refuses ever to release his taxes we can assume he is in their pay.
I honestly think legislators have legislating wrong. They need to take a more agile approach to law creating rather than massive waterfall approach.
Small itterative approach and get easily explainable small bits of legislation through that the public can read and understand would be a start. Tougher for the know nothing republicans to misinform the public about our intent.
You end up getting bills into law quicker and generally get more legislative wins.
But who am I kidding, Congress can’t help themselves and not write law so complex even a rocket scientist can understand it.
Make it simple. Any income over 5 milllion is taxed at 80%
A good slogan, but the truth is we will probably have to roll back the Trump 1% tax giveaway just to reduce the deficit. I’m anything but a deficit scold and the government can run deficits but there are limits. One trillion a year in a relatively good economy is too high.
End the Republican war on the middle class and America?
“Tired of NEEDING to work three jobs, just to stay afloat? Vote Dem.”
“Tired of needing to sell your house, just to pay for medical care? Vote Dem.”
Naturally, tweaking needed.
That’s about when I’d tell her that the magic of the market has determined that her services are no longer needed. And then I’d find another doctor. Fuck that shit. I refuse to pay another penny to an out and proud Trumper any more and I not only walk out on them, I tell them why. Again, fuck that shit.
What are you talking about? Are you really suggesting that these people don’t pay taxes or that they would not welcome a tax cut?
And the last time I looked, here in California, where we both live, increasing rent and home prices are pushing people out of homes and into the streets. Inflation is making it harder for people to buy food. People need help. What have you got for them?
You talk as if every family has a kid with cancer. This is nonsense. Double nonsense in that it is not a zero sum game. It is NOT tax cuts or CHIP coverage.
@hellslittlestangel: There is a neat chart recently put up on Governors coming up for election or reelection in 2018. https://morningconsult.com/2018/02/01/governor-rankings-jan-2018/
I note that I the lowest and least popular are the two Walkers, Rauner, and Raimnundo in Rhode Island. The others, including Republicans in deep blue states like Hogan and Baker, are very popular. The common theme of the popular governors is they cut taxes and avoided budge catastrophes and pension fights with unions (at least the headlines associated with a budget catastrophe). Even the crooked, evil, Rick Scott, because he has enjoyed 8 years of economic recovery in Florida and kept taxes down is popular. Meanwhile, Bill Walker in Alaska, who has tried to get the locals to see that they can’t live on oil revenues forever and cut the yearly payment and tried to raise the taxes is 25% in the hole. If they are going to give people nice things, they will have to be specific, link specific taxes to those “nice things” and as much as possible cut taxes on middle class people and restrict tax increases to the very wealthy.
@Cheryl Rofer: not true. A surprising number of people think they are in the 1% who are nowhere near it, or they at least aspire to be.
As Steinbeck said, [school of economic thought including the letters of a medicine filtered by FYWP] never caught on here because everyone is convinced he’s a millionaire temporarily down on his luck.
The bullshit that we need a good story is why the left loses.
Fuck stories. If you’re so damned removed from the results that you need a tale to be told and you can’t spend a few minutes figuring out if a total republican rule is good for you, you need to just be lobotomized. The message is get your fucking ID and paperwork in order if you don’t think you could survive a white fascist WORLD. I can’t, so fuck stories and fuck those who need stories because we’re not goddamned nannies.
What no one here is mentioning is a poll I caught somewhere over the past week (can’t remember where or I’d link) that showed that a huge majority of Americans think they are taxed just right or too little. So I don’t see the toxicity of anyone saying we’re going to get rid of the tax cuts for the rich. Most people are not all that worried about federal taxes. It’s only the 1% who make a fetish of them.
Glad to see you’re back! (Sorry if you’ve been back for awhile, and I missed it.)
foucault swing voter mistermix
I’ve been watching too much British TV – I updated the post.
Perhaps we could also cut the military budget. I don’t think middle class tax cuts automatically implies shrinking Social Security or other social benefits.
Those people already paid nothing in federal income taxes. The bottom 47% pay taxes, but not the federal income taxes that Trump cut. They do indeed get nothing whatsoever from income tax cuts, which is all anybody ever talks about.
The problem in CA is house prices, fundamentally because of a shortage of housing. There’s no fix for our problems without a lot of construction. That’s not the only thing we need to change, but it’s the core of any fix.
I tend to agree with this. That’s the message I use, though maybe a little less bluntly.
foucault swing voter mistermix
I’m sorry, do you want to fuck them or lobotomize them. Or is it a combo platter?
@aimai: Now that is a thought provoking comment. For me, anyways. Never thought about the fact that slogans too often become slogans long after the fact.
Minimum wage hike. Min wage right now is $7.25, Dems would raise it to somewhere between $12 and $15.
Dem pitch: $1.50 a week?? Give us control of Congress, and we’ll put a $4.75/hour raise for you on Trump’s desk, and make him choose whether to sign or veto it. [Note: this depends on Dems being willing to kill the filibuster. Which they’d better do if they have a Senate majority.]
If he signs it, America wins. If not, you’ll know who killed it. But we’re fighting for you.
Was it a Gary Trauner ad with him kicking the phone off the desk? That part, meh, okay I’m not from wherever he’s running, but I thought the part where he sits with voters and asks them, “so, do you have a hedge fund? you? offshore bank account? no?” was beautiful. That’s not verbatim, but close. Did a great job of highlighting just who those tax cuts are for. Not most of us.
Have you been asleep for the past two decades? That’s exactly the zero-sum game that the Republicans have set up. They give tax cuts, then claim there’s no money for CHIP, or Social Security, or Medicare/Medicaid, or food stamps, so now all of those programs have to be cut, whoocouldaknowed?
Tax cuts are the least of our worries. Housing prices are soaring in California in part because our property taxes are too low and it encourages investors to buy up stock and drive prices up.
Lower federal taxes is not a panacea.
I’m in the camp that thinks “what do the Democrats stand for?” is totebagger-driven BS. Our message this year is driving out the corrupt bastards who are threatening the country. That’s why people are coming out in droves to volunteer and to vote, not because of some policy promise or, god help us, a tax cut. We’re for Truth, Justice, and the American Way because they’re clearly not.
Democratic candidates should make policy promises, and coordinate them as much as possible, but just so that we can say we have a mandate for that, not because it’s what motivates people.
Maybe there is hope for Ohio.
Really? This is the answer you want Democrats to take to voters? “You don’t need no tax cut. You’re doing all right.” Do you realize how patronizing this sounds?
Really? People who dip into their retirement plans to live and who receive unemployment get taxed on the proceeds when they are trying to survive.
This is just as absurd as saying that cutting taxes for the rich will automatically trickle down new jobs. Are you talking about make-work government jobs?
How much revenue would this bring in, and what would you do with it? Again, your emphasis seems to be on funding the welfare state. The Republicans, on the other hand, want to destroy the federal government. Seems to me that the people are stuck In the middle.
Terrific. A doctor that should think twice about talking politics with patients if he/she doesn’t want one of them to have a stroke right there on the spot.
@Bobby Thomson: #18.
Yes, Bobby: Be the Message. The way we do it is by copying and assisting the self-reliance I’ve always admired in the black, female community. We have our own “Field of Dreams”: just do the unglamorous grunt work and fu*k the pontificating.
I’m tired of posts like this.
Why can’t Democrats run on the following:
Since November 2016, the GOP has been in control of the White House and Both Houses of Congress.
Since then, this is what they have done and want to do:
1. Tried to take away healthcare from 32 million
2. Destroy the healthcare system for 76 million
3. Passed a tax cut bill, taking away from the poor and middle class and give to the rich
4. They want to destroy Social Security
5. They want to destroy Medicare
6. They want to sell off the National Parks
7. Every safety record – from food, to clean water, to clean air – that used to protect the little guy – gone.
IF, after reading this, you think these are good things for America- keep on voting Republican.
If not, get your azz to the voting booth and pull Democrat.
Wow. I doubt my doctors all agree with my politics, but they and I both are professional enough not to engage in arguing. That’s not why I’m there.
@Spinoza Is My Co-Pilot: Look, no one is going to get an argument from me about Democrats and messaging. The fundamental problems we have in this country arises from the fact that Republicans, being basically private sector oriented have a deep, almost instinctive, understanding of marketing and PR and Democrats, being basically public sector oriented, have a similar understanding of public policy. And that gets amplified by the infrastructure–Republicans have much better flacks, ad men and black PR people because all of those people are from one of the toughest, most cutthroat parts of the private sector, where bad performance actually gets you harmed. Democrats have shitty ad men and flacks because they have degrees in political science, public policy and international relations rather than communications, advertising and PR.
And the problem isn’t that one party is better at some things than the other and vice versa. The problem is that each party thinks these things are the same thing. Republicans don’t know the difference between slogans that sell and policies that work and Democrats think good public policy, with all of its detail and complexity and difficult trade-offs and value judgments, sells itself. So time and again, Republicans win and then fuck up the whole country by scribbling bumper sticker slogans onto cocktail napkins and enacting them into law, leading people to turn to Democrats who fix all the shit Republicans broke, dust off their hands with a satisfied sigh, and wait to be rewarded for a job well-done, only to get creamed on election night while saying, deer-in-headlights fashion, “but, but, but . . . we had the best policies!”
So yeah. Dems suck at messaging inherently. But there’s another side to the problem in their messaging and it’s encapsulated in the words “if you like your insurance, you can keep it.” That was a simple, easy to understand marketing slogan that was 96% true. But when four percent who had grandfathered total crap insurance policies lost them because they were discontinued by their carriers who weren’t allowed to replace them with even worse policies, it became a seriously damaging PR debacle. Pinocchios were awarded. Fingers were wagged. Derision was heaped.
If people like Pelosi and Clinton are constantly talking in too much detail and in ways that always seem to leave them an escape hatch, it’s because Democrats aren’t allowed to engage in puffery or hyperbole the way Republicans are. Democrats are, as always, held to a different standard.
Oh, and we absolutely shouldn’t care what Republicans are going to say, or that they’re going to cry redistribution, or soc1alism. I lived through the “third way” era, when Democrats were in a defensive crouch and believed that if they could phrase things just right, Republicans wouldn’t be able to attack them. It never works; if you don’t give them a ready opening, they’ll just make something up.
And worrying about appealing to Trump voters is even worse. We mostly just need them to stay home; if any of them have regrets, that have to be enough for them to get on board. Watering down our appeal to our base (midterms are always base elections) even a little is to much of a risk for the outside chance of picking up a few of them.
I agree with your interpretation of that TAL episode. Anne Rice really got to the heart of what makes a Democrat a Democrat.
Have you ever been in a position to have lost everything? Ever wondered where your next meal might be coming from? Ever not known how you were going to have any kind of roof over your head? Ever wondered if you have kids how you were going to feed them and how many meals could you give up for them to eat? Ever wondered what could you do if you got sick or injured and have absolutely no way to pay for any care?
That perspective changes you completely, even if you weren’t in that great of a position before then. And taxes are the last thing on your mind at that point. There is a reason 47% or whatever it is don’t pay taxes, they don’t have enough or any income. Every dime goes for something necessary and there aren’t enough dimes to go around.
Taxes? Yeah I worried about paying taxes in the time I had nothing, sure I did. That was the only fucking bright spot I could find, having nothing meant one less thing to worry about.
I have here a list of all the elections won with “messaging”:
@cervantes: In case anybody thinks I can’t read, it’s been corrected, without acknowledgment.
Keep reading. He has.
@germy: Very happy to see this.
This is a good one.
Yes, because you deliberately said it in most patronizing way. Funny how that works.
I’m saying Democrats shouldn’t run on fucking tax cuts, not that we should run on “you don’t need a tax cut.” Running on tax cuts is running as Republican-lite. They’ll always beat you at that, because we want to have enough revenue for government to do its job, and they want to make sure it doesn’t, so they can always promise bigger tax cuts.
Telling people tax cuts will solve their problems reinforces conservative ideology. Talking about taxes in isolation is the way to consistently lose the argument over taxes.
Ah, I remember those halcyon days of 2016 when a $12 minimum wage was completely inadequate and a reason to stay home rather than vote for Hillary since she low-balled the Fight for 15.
Good times, good times.
There’s the solution: take people who are really good writers, who also know what Dems stand for and believe in it, and put them in charge of our messaging. Because that tweet was clear and succinct and excellent.
Looks like there’s people arguing both sides of whether messaging is important. Put me down on the “hell yes, it is” side. If you don’t define yourself clearly, it becomes easy for the other side to define you first. And that’s what’s been going on for decades: year after year, the Dems do a poor job of saying what they’re about, which has given the GOP a clear field in defining the Dems first.
Don’t worry, the fake leftists will make the same pitch in 2018 and 2020.
Messaging is important, but Redshift is correct above that merely repeating Republican messaging with Democratic flourishes is inadequate.
Taking wagers in Dow Jones closing at 666 for the second day in a row.
This is my suggestions for a democratic message:
Country over party.
I liked the Better Deal slogan, or call it A Fairer Deal. Promise to get rid of loopholes that help the rich, like the carried interest. Fix Obamacare. Emphasize equality. Give women autonomy by rolling back abortion restrictions.
@Fair Economist: The important thing is to adopt a position that allows someone else be called “neoliberal.” Except on guns or immigration because something something economic anxiety.
@aimai: Anyone who is attacking the Ds right now in the era of T is not someone I take seriously.
Vote for D, we are not the party of treason.
@Capri: My suggestion for A Democratic Message is “Trump sucks and we’ll stop him. P.S. McConnell and Ryan also suck and we’ll stop them too.”
@foucault swing voter mistermix: I guess when in doubt, be lame is the response.
@Amaranthine RBG: We learned not to fuck with Bernie.
This, times a thousand. One thing Republicans are good at, possibly the only thing besides cutting taxes and bombing brown people: messaging. Policy papers and the like are good, we need that – since policy-making is hard and involves a lot of choices. But policy discussions will never beat “they hate me, and I welcome their hatred”.
BC in Illinois
“not just promises to provide health care”? ? ?
Millions of people do not have health care. We were bringing that number down. The Republicans are pushing that number up. If we “just provide” health care, that’s a life-or-death issue for many. And it’s an easy enough issue for even people who have health coverage to understand. I went through three days in the hospital (heart cath, stents, etc.) last week. As I entered, I handed them my Medicare card and an insurance card related to my retirement plan – – and then never gave it another thought ! ! There were years, when I couldn’t count on whether all my children would have that advantage. For several years, the ACA was the means by which one of them — who needed medical coverage — had access to a doctor.
I am old enough to remember the 2008 election campaign when EVERY candidate, Republican or Democrat, had a health care plan. McCain and Romney as well as Obama and Clinton. If you need health care, health care is never “just health care.”
This is contemptible.
If we as a party and as a nation have concern only for the concerns and needs of our own family, then we have no reason to continue as a party OR as a nation.
If you’re not going to stand up for everybody, then nobody should listen to you.
(Simone Weil (?)
@Mnemosyne: That is the expertise of BS bros and leftier-than-thou critics. That and repeating for the nth time how Mueller is either going to be fired or his indictments won’t change anything.
? ?? Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) ? ?
Bernie Sanders is a neoliberal
What’s the deal with the markets anyway? The looming shutdown?
So I thought that the shitgibbon couldn’t piss me off more than he already has done but today he outdid himself tweeting absolute lies about the NHS. The majority of people in the UK are in love with their NHS, and look upon the US health care so called system as positively barbaric. Funny that his tweet seems to have been prompted by that shitstain Farage spouting absolute lies on Fox and Friends this morning. It was shitstain Farage that promoted the absolute lie that if Britain left the EU it could put a ridiculous amount of money into the NHS every week. Luckily people in Britain who actually know about this stuff shot back at Trump with the actual facts. Stuff that I have been studiously retweeting to get the word out. Even having evacuated to Britain I am having to put up with this arsehole’s tweets.
? ?? Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) ? ?
It’s middle-aged white dad humor.
Did you dose up on your purity pills this AM? Jesus H Christ.
Or maybe, if you didn’t have a hair across your ass about all this: If social program funding gets increased — as it should — someone has to do the necessary work. That’s not “make work,” that’s staffing people to do needed work which has NOT gotten done by the Norquist model of starving the programs/Government.
The idea is to help pay for Social Security. I didn’t realize that was “the welfare state.”
You talk as if everyone needs to dip into their retirement. Oh, wait, that was “kid with cancer.”
? ?? Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) ? ?
Since when did the US have a “welfare state” anymore anyway? That died when the cold war ended and communism was no longer a threat.
I think people are arguing if the messaging is working.
In todays world the long term democratic messaging isn’t, the long term republican is. And this is because the long term democratic message is making government better or better for everyone. The republican message is making government less which will be better for you.
The democratic message puts everyone in the same boat, which they don’t want to be in. The republican message is of course bullshit but it does say life will be better for you. It’s more pointed, more specific, more blaming someone else for your problems. The democratic message blames everyone for their problems. Which is true but not what people want to hear.
We need to change, not our message, but how it’s delivered. That’s why we are arguing, we are focused on the message, how to fix the problems. They are focused on the blame. We talk issues, they redirect.
@? ?? Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) ? ?:
Fox tells me that all the browns and other Demon-rat voters are suckling at the government teat.
@hovercraft: She may not even have her green card. Rs have successfully pitted many skilled immigrants who have interminable waits for GCs because of their country of origin against other immigrants. Your doctor and others like her are stupid enough to fall for this divide and conquer tactic.
ETA: While all the focus is on DACA the plight of the people in long waiting lines seldom gets any coverage, hence the frustration which though understandable does not excuse the mouthing of R talking points.
Honestly, I’m pretty sure our “slogan” has to include two things: Getting rid of corrupt Republicans selling out our country to the rich and foreign states – and bringing back jobs, health care, and equality. It’s important to engage people on both the “Republicans are fucking awful” front as well as the “Democrats stand for some fantastic things”
Don’t frame any of this as “When we take back congress”. Just frame it as “Democrats do the right thing for you and your family. Unless you’re a Koch brother.” Everything else (anti-Trump, helping the poor and the disadvantaged, getting rid of tax cuts) flows from that, and it’s claims the moral high ground unambiguously. It also doesn’t make any claims about “we’ll do this IF we get that.” It’s just “Democrats do these good things, because we’re Democrats.”
@fedupwithhypocrisy: Thank you. Not conservatives, not family friendly, not fiscally responsible, not even patriotic, just right wing extremists tearing down our country to line the pockets of the 1%.
I’m sure there were people like that. Just like there were people who said the ACA is crap because we should have single payer. Fuck ’em. Anyway:
I think this works because it gets past the $12 v. $15 bit by saying that either way, this is gonna give everybody a raise that dwarfs that $1.50/week.
Another way of saying it: that $1.50/week is $78/year. Upping the minimum wage from $7.25 to $12 is $78 more, not in a year, but in two and a half days. Over the year, that’s an extra nine thousand dollars in your paycheck. [And that’s after taking out FICA.]
We’re the Democrats, and that’s what we want to do for you.
West of the Rockies (been a while)
Pungently to the point. Republicans diminish, destroy and denigrate. It’s their thing.
Simple. Don’t play the Republican’s game.
Why are you lumping local property taxes and federal income taxes together? What does one have to do with the other?
This is not entirely true. Also, I think that the Democrats need to start talking about increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit as a way to begin a Universal Basic Income.
And a question would be, how to stimulate the economy and stimulate more housing construction (and yeh, this is complicated by local zoning issues and other political issues, but still).
@Eric: the problem is that republicans have coopted “fair” in the context of taxes with scams like the “flat tax” or “fair tax,” neither of which is particularly fair. Most Americans don’t readily conceptualize the institutionalized advantages of wealth and the need for progressive taxation and taxing of estates, and therefore fall for this ruse. “Break up the big banks” or attacks on coddled CEOs might be more effective than talking about taxes.
To emphasize what @aimai and @hellslittlestangel are saying:
I’ll take an exception to mistermix’s proposed messaging.
What recent years have shown us is that people don’t care about “cutting their taxes” so much as “making others pay.” If that were not the case, the 2010 direct tax refund/cuts would have been a landslide for the Democrats instead of the reverse, and the 2017 tax cut wouldn’t be polling in the gutter despite Kochs et. al. pumping in ad buys trying to convince us the reverse.
Right now, the far Left “make the rich pay” is a much larger set than the mainstream Right’s “make the moochers pay.” One forgets that the most unpopular provisions (e.g. removal of SALT deductions) are ones that are regressive so the Democrats have no reason to reverse that UNLESS they campaign on it.
Campaign analysts have noted the squishy, large middle can be won simply on a return to sanity/normalcy platform, the remainder of the vote comes from which extreme you want to cater to. On neither side (nor the middle) is there a drive for lower taxes, that myth was blown up when even the Trumpers disavowed it (in favor of punishing liberals).
@Brachiator: We need taxes for infrastructure, social programs, disease prevention, rule of law, good things like that.
We need that as part of our message. Taxing the 1% will provide more jobs, like rebuilding the highway system and expanding health care.
People who have lost their jobs are a small fraction of the audience for a political message. People who have lost their jobs and think the answer to their problem is tax cuts are yet a smaller fraction. While they might be targeted for some ads in some places, they can’t drive the overall message, which has to be that Democrats will make everyone’s lives better.
So you agree with me that reversing the Republicans’ federal tax cut bill will make zero difference when it comes to affordable housing in Southern California?
I agree. This is another line of BS that has become fact in the minds of many news correspondents and pundits. “No one knew what the Democrats stood for and that’s why they lost.” Just last week Chris Jansing on MSNBC was echoing this same point when the Democrats had more than one response to the SOTU. She said “First the Democrats had no message and now they have five?” Luckily Josh Earnest was there to offer some strong push back.
Though it might be easier now, because of Paul Ryan’s threats to slash Medicaid and Medicare, and the advocacy of groups like ADAPT and the Little Lobbyists, I don’t think healthcare messaging was ever that easy for reasons mentioned on this blog for years. Most people get their health insurance through work and don’t understand why they should have to pay for other people to get it, some of whom don’t work. Some people don’t understand why they should have to pay for people who are sick when they’re not, just lacking a basic understanding of how insurance works. Universal healthcare is also easily demagogued by the other side into something scary and awful.
EDIT: I mean “lower taxes for the middle or lower classes” and/or I mean how the voting base vote. Obviously on the Right there is a drive for lower taxes on the rich. But it doesn’t poll well with anyone other than the donor class which are not their base, they are the money leg on which the Republican Party traditionally stands on.
Except that ICE is very happy arresting doctors with green cards these days.
I totally agree! That’s why the Dems need to offer specifics that people want and can instantly grasp – and that won’t be part of any GOP messaging.
I think general messages like Anne Rice’s tweet are important – but we also need to offer specifics that make those generalities real to voters. Ideally they’re two sides of a coin: we’re for a minimum wage hike, we got you the ACA and CHIP, we’re defending your right to vote, because “We have always represented the poor, the working class, the disenfranchised, the needy. We have always sought to increase jobs, raise wages, provide health care to as many as possible.”
We had a message in 2016. It was “Stronger Together.”
I don’t see any reason to drop that. We are Stronger Together.
@? ?? Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) ? ?:
Markets don’t care about a shutdown (too much), “Everybody knows” that the market is overpriced, and they’re just waiting for the correction. Or tl;dr: The herd is waiting to be spooked.
We should start a pool as to where the DOW will bottom out. My bet’s 21000, with a bounce to 23500.
I love that tweet from Anne Rice- it really does sum up for me why I am proud to be a Democrat.
BC in Illinois
The Dow — 24,651 at the moment — is now lower than the 24,741 low on the first day of trading in 2018.
I know that the Dow =/= the economy. I just want to see the Trump White House explain this.
ETA holy shit!
mai naem mobile
Dow is down by almost 1100 points. Weeeeeeeee…welcome to the GOP Ryan Trump economy. Everything is awesome!!!
Any simple message we put out will be stepped on by “death panels will give your tax moneys to terrorist illegal aliens!” anyway, and the TV people will go “why can’t the Democrats shake these lingering concerns about death panels giving your tax moneys to terrorist illegal aliens? whither the Democratic Party???” and we’ll be tying ourselves in knots trying to explain why that isn’t true.
Are you talking about today :-)
Exactly. I’ve heard Democrats benison the fact that we’ve “lost the argument” on taxes. If we’re making an argument about taxes, we’re losing because taxes are a means to an end for liberals, and an end goal for conservatives.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@Spanky: There was an article in the Washington Post just yesterday talking about how these numbers are making the youngs feel confident (“I’m gonna use my 401K to buy a rental property!”) and the olds feel nervous. (edited)
Renewing the American Dream for the Next Generation
A More Perfect Union
Liberty and Justice for All
A Government Who Works for YOU
There’s some slogans. Not worth much.
Slogans aren’t really helpful to the people hearing them. They’re helpful for the people WRITING them. Really crystallizes your thoughts into distinct themes.
I have said before, and I was right…..Trump is an excellent marketer. It’s the only thing he’s good at. He has an unbelievable instinct for it.
We should be employing really good marketing professionals rather than campaign consultants.
Marketing is aspirational.
Mike in DC
I believe the correct expression is “holy fuckballs!”
Democrats have to stop talking about deficits. Republicans create them & then demand that democrats reduce them – thus making it impossible to implement dem policies. President Obama was attacked non stop about deficits – because health care – when the GOP came in – they reduced taxes which will cause massive deficits and no-one mentions it – other than Paul Ryan who says the deficits are caused because medicare, social security, the ACA etc
Democrats believe that everyone should have health insurance and that no one should be shot and killed in a church, school, etc.
@PAM Dirac: ROFL!
Don’t freak too much folks. 52 weeks ago it had just crossed 20,000. it went up a looong way in 2017, so a hefty drop will still probably net you a gain.
Gin & Tonic
@chris: Well, Bitcoin is tanking way worse.
Thanks for the reminder.
What social programs? Local or in D.C.? How much is this going to increase employment? Otherwise this is sounding as ague as the Trump lies about bringing jobs back. It’s just a different kind of purity that you’re peddling.
RE: How much revenue would this bring in, and what would you do with it? Again, your emphasis seems to be on funding the welfare state.
Social Security ain’t broke, despite GOP lies about its status. And raising or cutting income taxes does not directly affect Social Security. Hell, I support raising the SS wage base.
Not too uncommon a situation. And some of those people might have a kid with cancer.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: I’ve been in a defensive crouch since the inauguration, so missed a lot of the run up. The youngs probably won’t be hurt too much by this, same as I (we) survived the 1987 drop and the 2001? 2002? drops. Us olds have a right to be nervous, though.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: A tweet for every occasion.
@Bobby Thomson: PREACH!!! (from a middle aged black woman).
Jim, Foolish Literalist
We are the party for working people who want an equal playing field, a dignified retirement and health care security for themselves and their family.
They want to make you work into your 70s and keep paying health insurance premiums so that Donald Trump Jr can inherit more money.
mai naem mobile
@hovercraft: next time ask how much of her income cones from Medicare/Medicaid/Medicare HMOs/CHIP/Indian Health Services/VA/Tricare/Fed and State employees and Union employees and how much from private insurance. Then tell her to kiss good bye to the non private stuff under the GOP. I’ve never understood doctors being such strong GOP supporters because most of them would not have a good chunk of their income without medicare/medicaid.
Just One More Canuck
@aimai: Thank you – I saw the post and thought ‘here’s another post on how the democrats have to wax the shitpile forever in order to find the one, perfect mot juste that will makethe great unwashed see the error of their ways’
All this talk about messaging has a hole in the concept. That is, who does the messaging and who funds that messaging work? Everybody gets mad at Schumer, Pelosi, for not saying what we want them to say. But elected officials have to be careful not to say things that may get certain constituencies mad at them. And they don’t have the time anyway handling all of the spinning plates that being a nationally known legislator entails.
And don’t give me that “liberal billionaire needs to fund a Fox alternative and hire some national tv figure” jive. That’s not the way it worked for the right wing at the beginning. Tiny radio stations, tiny websites run by people started the wave for conservative media. The billionaires came along after the work was down, and investors were shown that there was an audience, and things got upgraded.
When someone puts up real money for a liberal messaging operation, enough so that people with real skills can quit and make this a full-time operation, let me know. I’ll donate or invest in it.
Collapsing markets are not good for me personally – as with many whose retirement is dependent on investments BUT if it helps bring down trump – I’ll cope. Funny how major market downturns always seem to occur during right wing administrations – they really have NO idea about good economic management – it’s always massive changes rather than steady growth.
I miss Obama.
@But her emails!!!: But I do like that.
The people I know who’ve done that did it as part of their mortgage loan — you can get a much better rate by borrowing against your 401(k) than by getting bank financing alone.
But, sure, let’s assume that all of them are doing it for daily living expenses and not for their mortgage.
@Cheryl Rofer: The Chief problem is that Dems are wonks. We want to know how a program will get done, not merely whether it gets done. “How” is important. Repubs don’t care about “how” any further than dynamite/nuke/wrecking-ball, because destroying Big Gummint is their raison d’etre; so their sloganeering is much simpler.
We need to get over needing to know the “how” before we agree on the “whether.”
By the way, have you donated to Free Speech TV? Your favorite blogger(s), podcaster? Money says volumes. Money means people can actually expand-get better equipment, quit that killer job to spend time on their first love, that people really care about this stuff. Not to mention enough money can lure some people out in early retirement. Not to mention people with skills that can help make things more professional.
Why are you lumping local property taxes and federal income taxes together? What does one have to do with the other?
Raising the incomes and cutting the taxes of the working poor and the middle class will absolutely make a difference when it comes to affordable housing in Southern California.
The Republican tax “cut” as it currently stands may actually make the situation worse and dampen the real estate market in California and other states. Limiting state and local income taxes is actually a tax increase on Californians and people in certain other states.
I don’t have to assume. I can look at the tax return data that show the number of returns where people ended up having to include early pension income distributions on their tax returns and pay a penalty on Form 5329.
And then there are the people who ended up having to lose their homes through foreclosure after borrowing against their mortgage. Thankfully, they had the Mortgage Relief Act to fall back on, to prevent their having to include cancellation of debt income as taxable income. And, looky here, the dumb ass GOP let the Mortgage Relief Act expire.
Don’t have time to read the thread, but here is a slogan: Taxes are the strength of the country.
How else do you expect to defend it?
@aimai: I know, right? The same people who always start every sentence with how weak and spineless and clueless Dems are, turn out to be the same ones who hyperventilate whenever someone in the media says that Dems aren’t enthusiastic about voting!
Ever see a coach talk about how much their team sucks right before the game? And for us, it’s always right before the game.
@Brachiator: I don’t see how federal income taxes make a damn bit of difference with respect to local and state-level property taxes, unless you’re proposing something along the lines of enacting a negative income tax for people below a certain income threshold. Which I would be completely on board with, to be clear, but it’s not a common mainstream proposal.
This thread mostly seems to be discussing what national Democrats should be doing about messaging. I don’t really see what national Democrats can do about aspects of state tax systems that are messed up – that looks like a state-level problem to me. Which, to be clear, state-level Democrats should absolutely be working to fix. But it isn’t something national Democrats have much control over. To my admittedly non-lawyer understanding, this looks like a Tenth Amendment matter.
Regarding the topic, I agree that that Anne Rice tweet @Betty Cracker highlighted is excellent, and @low-tech cyclist‘s idea of hiring authors to help craft messaging seems like a good one. Rice would clearly be a good choice. Stephen King might also be a good choice. This excerpt is several years old, but it’s evergreen (and the whole piece is great):
@NCSteve: This highlights a significant problem we’re facing elegantly and, honestly, in a way I hadn’t fully thought out before. I’ve definitely considered (and written about) Republicans’ neglect of policy, but i hadn’t thought of contrasting that against Democrats’ approach to policy and messaging issues. There are definitely exceptions – Obama ran a very well crafted campaign from a messaging standpoint, and while people criticised her on this account, I thought Clinton handled it fairly well as well (In particular, “Stronger Together” was an excellent slogan, and her performance at all three debates was very nearly flawless) – but Democrats do have a tendency to get into the weeds when they should be focusing on the big picture. I don’t know what we do to solve this – I can have this problem myself at times, even.
ETA: @glory b: Yep. This infuriates me. I think this is underrated as a factor for why we lost in 2016, even. People couldn’t shut the fuck up with their attacks on our candidate, and as a consequence, enough people who didn’t understand Duverger’s Law voted third-party or write-in in at least three crucial states to swing the election. There were plenty of other factors too, to be clear – but in an election that close, any one of them could’ve been decisive on their own.
foucault swing voter mistermix
@Mnemosyne: I had no problem with the Democrat’s message in 2016 or their one now as articulated by Joe Kennedy III or Maxine Waters. I just get frustrated by commentators and their “Democrats just can’t be anti-Trump” baloney and probably need to pay less attention to it.
The current GOP tax law includes new limitations on state and local taxes. If voters care about this, the Democrats should be talking about it.
And yeh, I am leaning towards a negative income tax.
Agree wholeheartedly. Running on tax cuts is not only pandering, it’s dishonest mirroring of vacuous republican talking points. Good government costs money. There’s no upside for us pretending that it doesn’t.
@Brachiator: How are you going to fund the government, then?
a thousand flouncing lurkers (was fidelio)
@GregB: The Dow has dropped around 4.25% today so far–compare with Black Monday 1987 when it dropped over 22%. It is not yet lower than where it was a year ago. The drop is useful for eye-catching headlines–a 1000 points in a single day! (today’s drop, last I checked)–but doesn’t signal much of anything in real terms as yet.
Again, I think there is room and need for tax cuts and tax credits for the working poor and the middle class. The rest of the GOP plan is bullshit with a capital B. All of it.
Democrats stink at messaging, period. We all laugh when Dumbya or Trump says something dumbed-down, but that’s what works… “bumper sticker” slogans. Democrats like Kerry and Gore sound smart to wonks (look at how well he knows the issues!) but to everybody else, it’s boring AF and loses people. “27% of the population between the ages of 35 and 45 are contributing less than 40% of blahblahblah…” People worry IS THIS GOING TO BE ON THE TEST? They’d much rather vote for the guy with the catchy slogan. Rattling off statistics loses elections. George Lakoff says so, not just me. Appeal to voters’ emotions if you wanna win, stop boring people with facts and figures.
@But her emails!!!: I’ll drink to that one!
@NCSteve: Wow. That was an awesome summation of the problem of the difference between our two political parties. Oh, if only it could be boiled down to a slogan! //
@hovercraft: You should get a different doctor. Someone so willfully stupid about that is probably a signal about deficiency in other parts of their job.
@Brachiator: How is a payroll tax cut going to help these people? They are, most likely, part of the 40%, that pay zero in payroll taxes (or near enough that they are getting at most a $37.50/year benefit a la Lancaster woman) , they pay a lot in other regressive taxes: social security, sales tax, etc. What they need is a larger safety net which has been shredded continually since 1980 (coincidentally only a year or two after income disparity started to reverse and increase).
Study after study shows the middle and lower classes don’t vote based on a tax cut to them. Obama gave them money directly into their pocket on 2009 and the majority of them (who bothered to vote in 2010) thought that Obama raised their taxes.
@Brachiator: I think I understand what’s going on. Like me, you make a large enough funds to be taxed sizably and live in a state (California) which is being punished by the elimination of mortgage and SALT deductions. Unlike me, you (or people you know and share affinity with) did not plan their finances well and/or are not benefiting from the tax cut (because my girlfriend’s business is a passthru and I don’t own my apartment, I will strangely benefit from the new tax changes). I’m familiar with the lot. Heck, just a decade ago my friends and collegeagues were sharing the NYT article unironically about the the “poor millionaires who work in the ‘salt mines’ of Silicon Valley” so I totally get the attitude.
Therefore, you’d like to see the SALT/mortgage deductions brought back as well as a “middle class” kickback instead of the deal with the reality that nobody wants or can use that (hint, if you pay significant enough payroll tax to notice it, you are not in the middle class anymore). You want to believe that that is an issue that people will vote on. Nope! The reason almost every Republican votes (R) is tribalism, and every special election has revealed it. The only shocking thing is the Republican tribalism (Trumpism) is much stronger than anyone suspected.
And because of this, people like us are going to vote Democratic even though we won’t get a return to regressive deductions we’ve become accustomed to. The ones who don’t won’t be switching even if that was promised, which it won’t, because we now have enough data to know revealed preference: those votes aren’t gettable by the D party… ever.
@(((CassandraLeo))): I disagree with your representation of Brachiator’s discussion on SALT deductions and CA housing, but other than that great post!
Personally, I think if Dems are going to have any leverage with most voters (excluding trumpistas, who are beyond reason), we’re going to have to run against the rich. FDR’s quote, “they hate me, and I welcome their hatred” is gold, to signify a pugnacious party that stands clearly for most Americans (thanks danielx) and clawing back the 1%’s tax cuts, I think, would resonate with voters (but with great respect, aimai, I think ‘good government’ is too non-specific–how about ‘a government of public servants, there to serve YOU, not the millionaire class’ or similar). There is a sacred trust between the People and the Government; Democrats can vow to restore that trust that the GOP has utterly destroyed. But government has to be seen to be DOING something,
I also believe there’s a rhetorical step we all maybe need to start taking (internally as well as externally): the rhetoric of patriotism and love of country. (I think everyone on this thread feels it, but we don’t wear it on our sleeves like the cheap tinhorn R’s do–but maybe it’s time we start, and back it up with a vision of a country that works better for ALL the people than it ever has before.) There needs to be an underlying thread with that which is educational, hopefully to reverse the anti-government Norquistian propaganda people have been fed for decades.
Inevitably, too, we may have to realize (again, IMO) that a lot of talk about ‘equality’ is going to be heard by somewhat conservative but ‘gettable’ voters as ‘you’re giving my tax money to minorities’. I think this is a huge issue that Democrats don’t take seriously enough. So let’s talk equality and fairness (Betty) but make damn sure we deliver it to the white working class, and LET THEM KNOW in no uncertain terms, where these new programs (infrastructure, or subsidized childcare, or accelerated opioid treatment programs etc etc) came from–Democrats–and then tell them again until they get it.
I’m not a promoter, I’d prefer to help these folks with as little public fuss as possible, just get the job done and move on. But we can’t afford to do that anymore. We need 24/7 effort not just on the programs but on the publicity and promotion surrounding them–because Fox and the Koch’s certainly will be doing it too, against us. (and it’s not cheap sloganeering if you’re telling the damn TRUTH.)
I liked NCSteve’s comment at 70. Maybe some of us are going to be Policy people and some of us are going to be Message people. That’s fine. But dear God, let’s get rid of the bloated, useless Dem consultants in DC who water down policies and messaging to keep their own lanes open to the ultra elites. As for the rest, I think this thread is an illustration that we really are united, in most of the ways that count, and that the rough spots can be worked out somehow.