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 TrumpBiden says his faith is 'bedrock foundation of my life' after Trump claim Coronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame Ohio governor tests negative in second coronavirus test MORE.

Behind Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerCoronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame Senate Democrats push to include free phone calls for incarcerated people in next relief package Trump backs plan to give airlines another billion in aid 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 SandersBernie SandersOn The Money: Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire | Jobs report poised to light fire under COVID-19 talks | Tax preparers warn unemployment recipients could owe IRS Senators introduce bill to block Trump armed drone sale measure Sanders offers bill to tax billionaires' wealth gains during pandemic MORE (I-Vt.), who energized liberals with his surprisingly successful run against Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump touts economic agenda in battleground Ohio The Memo: Campaigns gird for rush of early voting Trump's pitch to Maine lobstermen falls flat 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 WarrenBiden VP race is highly fluid days before expected pick Senate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Senate Democrats push to include free phone calls for incarcerated people in next relief package 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 WarnerGOP chairmen hit back at accusation they are spreading disinformation with Biden probe Hillicon Valley: Facebook removes Trump post | TikTok gets competitor | Lawmakers raise grid safety concerns Senate Intel panel approves final Russia report, moves toward public release MORE (Va.), Chris Van Hollen (Md.) and Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharSenate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Senate Democrats push to include free phone calls for incarcerated people in next relief package Lobbying world MORE (Minn.) and Reps. Ben Ray Luján (N.M.), Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosRep. Steve Watkins loses Kansas primary after voter fraud charges Democrats go big on diversity with new House recruits DCCC adds six candidates to program aimed at flipping GOP-held seats 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.