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Dems to unveil ‘better deal’ messaging campaign Monday

Democrats in both chambers will gather in rural Virginia on Monday to unveil a new national messaging campaign aimed at easing the economic strain on working-class Americans — and propelling their party back to power in order to check an unpopular president in Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTillerson: Russia already looking to interfere in 2018 midterms Dems pick up deep-red legislative seat in Missouri Speier on Trump's desire for military parade: 'We have a Napoleon in the making' MORE.

Behind Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerGOP lawmaker: Dems not standing for Trump is 'un-American' Trump called for unity — he didn’t even last a week Overnight Defense: GOP plays hardball by attaching defense funding to CR | US reportedly drawing down in Iraq | Russia, US meet arms treaty deadline | Why the military wants 6B from Congress MORE (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the Democrats are hoping their latest messaging pitch will prove an effective contrast to the Republicans’ policy agenda and pull voters to their side in next year’s midterm elections.

Trump soared to power last year on a simple promise to “make America great again,” and the Democrats have pulled a page from that strategy with a no-frills slogan vowing to provide “a better deal” for a middle class that has struggled to keep pace with globalization and the march of technology. Like Trump’s campaign, the Democrats’ message suggests both that the status quo is failing working Americans and that the other party is to blame.

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In its first phase, released Monday morning, the Democrats’ campaign focuses on three broad areas: creating new jobs, lowering prescription drug costs and restraining the power of corporations. Notably absent from the agenda are the social issues — things like reproductive rights, immigration reform and gun control — that have, at times, defined the party.
“What motivates us is that the costs of living keep rising, but families feel their incomes and wages aren’t keeping up,” Pelosi wrote in a Washington Post op-ed published Sunday evening. 
 
“Special interests are given special treatment, while hard-working Americans are ignored.” 

On the jobs front, the Democrats’ plan would give employers a tax credit for training new hires and incentivize businesses to team up with educators to build a 21st century workforce capable of competing on the global stage.

To lower drug costs, they want to empower the government to bar sharp increases in prescription prices while allowing Medicare to negotiate the prices they pay for drugs, which is barred by current law.

To rein in “abusive” corporations, they propose to restrict large mergers, strengthen the review process that monitors mergers post-consolidation and create a new “consumer competition advocate” designed to discourage market manipulation.

Additional proposals — including tax and trade reforms — will be unveiled later in the year.

The Democrats have been divided in recent years over the scope and focus of the party’s message — a divide exacerbated by their minority status and the extraordinary rise of Trump. Some maintain that party leaders have done too little to appeal to the conservative-leaning heartland voters who flocked to Trump.

Others contend the Democrats have been too timid in fighting for the party’s ideals. They’re pushing an aggressive liberal platform that highlights the issues of economic justice championed by Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersTrump has declared war on our climate — we won’t let him win Stock slide bites boastful Trump, but rising wages great for GOP Millions should march on DC to defeat Trump Republicans MORE (I-Vt.), who energized liberals with his surprisingly successful run against Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump touts report Warner attempted to talk to dossier author Poll: Nearly half of Iowans wouldn’t vote for Trump in 2020 Rubio on Warner contact with Russian lobbyist: It’s ‘had zero impact on our work’ MORE in the Democratic presidential primary.

In a nod to the latter camp, the Democrats announcing the agenda on Monday will be joined by Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenGovernment watchdog finds safety gaps in assisted living homes David Crosby: Shared dislike for Trump could reunite Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young Dem senators tell Trump he doesn’t have ‘legal authority’ to launch preemptive strike on North Korea MORE (D-Mass.), another liberal hero who like Sanders has built a national following for her no-apologies fight against Wall Street and income inequality.

The other Democrats slated to the attend Monday’s event include Sens. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerRegulators push for 'coordinated' approach to bitcoin trading House funding bill includes bipartisan Medicare reforms Overnight Tech: Mulvaney reportedly froze Equifax hack probe | Dems want new restrictions on Comcast-NBC | NJ gov signs net neutrality order | Senate confirms patent chief MORE (Va.), Chris Van Hollen (Md.) and Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharOvernight Regulation: EPA sued over water rule delay | House passes bill to ease ObamaCare calorie rule | Regulators talk bitcoin | Patient groups oppose FDA 'right to try' bill Overnight Finance: Senators near two-year budget deal | Trump would 'love to see a shutdown' over immigration | Dow closes nearly 600 points higher after volatile day | Trade deficit at highest level since 2008 | Pawlenty leaving Wall Street group Dem senator presses FTC to ramp up Equifax hack probe MORE (Minn.) and Reps. Ben Ray Luján (N.M.), Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosDems face hard choice for State of the Union response Dem hopefuls flock to Iowa Bill Press: Unequal on sex charges MORE (Ill.), Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.) and David Cicilline (R.I.).

The venue — a town park in rural Berryville, Va., roughly 60 miles northwest of Washington — is no accident. The region has long been controlled by the Republicans, but Clinton won the district last year by a 10-point margin and GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock, whose district includes Berryville, is near the top of the Democrats’ target list in 2018.