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OPINION | Dems’ ‘new’ agenda? A recycled copy of Trump’s playbook


Democrats have had a full eight months to digest their humiliating 2016 electoral defeat.  Eight months to write a post mortem. Eight months to develop a new platform. Eight months to show the American people they deserve a chance to govern.

But instead of self-critique, introspection and innovative solutions, Democrats have offered excuses, complaining and Russian collusion conspiracy theories.  In an effort to engender enthusiasm for 2018, Democrats unleashed a “new” agenda on Monday, which amounted to little more than a stale attempt at mimicking President Donald Trump.  

The name alone suggests the new Democratic plan is the work of a fledgling party, lacking in creativity and effort. “A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future” sounds a whole lot like the 2016 Republican plan entitled “A Better Way.” A look at the details proves no more inspiring than the name.

In an effort to promote the plan, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wrote this in The New York Times: Americans “feel, rightfully, that both systems (the economy and politics) are rigged against them. … American families deserve a better deal so that this country works for everyone again, not just the elites and special Interests.”

A rigged system. Elites versus the people. Special interests. Sound familiar?  It should because these are the exact concepts — and in fact the exact words — that candidate Trump articulated repeatedly during the 2016 primaries and general election.  

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s attempt at selling the agenda was equally unoriginal.  “Working people from the heartland to the cities are struggling in a rigged economy and a system stacked against them,” she wrote in The Washington Post.  It’s as if she extracted the language verbatim from one of Trump’s campaign speeches.  

And since when have the Democrats cared about “working people from the heartland?”  These were, after all, the same people left unemployed because of Clinton-era NAFTA, and they were the same people in Wisconsin, for example, whom Clinton never once visited on the campaign trail.  

The so-called “Better Deal” is the same anti-crony capitalism agenda that President Trump proffered on the campaign trail.  For instance, Schumer proposesfundamentally changing our trade laws to benefit workers, not multinational corporations.”  Recall that this is the same political party once hailing Obama-era TPP.  

And Pelosi offers “an ambitious economic agenda that represents a renewed Democratic commitment to the hard-working men and women across the United States who have been left out and left behind for too long.”  This “economic agenda,” in large part, consists of the same sort of trillion-dollar stimulus package that failed to deliver those “shovel ready jobs” during Obama’s presidency.

Even the location of the newly announced platform, Berryville, Va. — a 4,100 person town whose district voted Trump by 20 points – is reminiscent of the tiny blue collar, heartland towns Trump set his eyes on winning in the run up to the 2016 election.  

The ultimate goal of the “new” Democratic agenda has three parts – higher wages, lower costs, and more jobs.  But what happens when President Trump accomplishes all of those things?  Unemployment hit its lowest point in 16 years.  Average income is slowly increasing for workers.  Inflation is low, and the stock market is shattering records.  

If Trump continues to steadily improve the livelihood of American workers, the worn-out platitudes and hollow promises of the left will lead them off the plank of electoral defeat, much like we saw in the Georgia and Montana special elections, where Republicans trampled Democratic hopes of victory

A recent Washington Post/ABC poll revealed that just 37 percent of voters think that the Democrats stand for something.  “A Better Deal” will do little in the way of changing that.  “A Better Deal” is nothing more than a carbon copy of the fresh and appealing conservative, populist agenda that Trump offered in the 2016 election.  

Fresh, bold, novel ideas win elections not old, copied, recycled ones. “A Better Deal” is “A Raw Deal.” Voters will see right through it.  

Kayleigh McEnany (@KayleighMcEnany) is a graduate of Harvard Law School. She completed her undergraduate degree at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and studied politics at Oxford University.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.

Tags A Better Deal Chuck Schumer Chuck Schumer Dem agenda Democratic agenda Democratic Party Donald Trump Donald Trump presidential campaign
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