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 TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for ‘serious case of amnesia’ after testimony Skier Lindsey Vonn: I don’t want to represent Trump at Olympics Poll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with Russia MORE.

Behind Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerAmerica isn't ready to let Sessions off his leash Schumer celebrates New York Giants firing head coach: ‘About time’ GOP should reject the left's pessimism and the deficit trigger 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) SandersSchumer: Franken should resign Franken resignation could upend Minnesota races Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign MORE (I-Vt.), who energized liberals with his surprisingly successful run against Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGrassley blasts Democrats over unwillingness to probe Clinton GOP lawmakers cite new allegations of political bias in FBI Top intel Dem: Trump Jr. refused to answer questions about Trump Tower discussions with father 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 WarrenOvernight Regulation: Net neutrality supporters predict tough court battle | Watchdog to investigate EPA chief's meeting with industry group | Ex-Volkswagen exec gets 7 years for emissions cheating Overnight Tech: Net neutrality supporters predict tough court fight | Warren backs bid to block AT&T, Time Warner merger | NC county refuses to pay ransom to hackers Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign 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 WarnerSenate panel moves forward with bill to roll back Dodd-Frank Comey back in the spotlight after Flynn makes a deal Warner: Every week another shoe drops in Russia investigation MORE (Va.), Chris Van Hollen (Md.) and Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharFranken resignation could upend Minnesota races Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Trump-free Kennedy Center Honors avoids politics MORE (Minn.) and Reps. Ben Ray Luján (N.M.), Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosSexual harassment bill gets new energy from Conyers settlement Hoyer heads to the heartland on a ‘listening tour’ Dem bill aims to protect threatened pensions 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.