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 Trump.

Behind Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle READ: President Trump’s exclusive interview with Hill.TV The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump slams Sessions in exclusive Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh accuser wants FBI investigation 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) SandersThe Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh Election Countdown: Trump confident about midterms in Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh controversy tests candidates | Sanders, Warren ponder if both can run | Super PACs spending big | Two states open general election voting Friday | Latest Senate polls READ: President Trump’s exclusive interview with Hill.TV MORE (I-Vt.), who energized liberals with his surprisingly successful run against Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillicon Valley: Trump's exclusive interview with Hill.TV | Trump, intel officials clash over Russia docs | EU investigating Amazon | Military gets new cyber authority | Flynn sentencing sparks new questions about Mueller probe READ: President Trump’s exclusive interview with Hill.TV Keeping up with Michael Avenatti 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 WarrenElection Countdown: Trump confident about midterms in Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh controversy tests candidates | Sanders, Warren ponder if both can run | Super PACs spending big | Two states open general election voting Friday | Latest Senate polls On The Money: Midterms to shake up House finance panel | Chamber chief says US not in trade war | Mulvaney moving CFPB unit out of DC | Conservatives frustrated over big spending bills Warren suggests Mulvaney broke law by speaking to GOP donors 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 WarnerRussia docs order sets Trump on collision with intel community Hillicon Valley: North Korean IT firm hit with sanctions | Zuckerberg says Facebook better prepared for midterms | Big win for privacy advocates in Europe | Bezos launches B fund to help children, homeless Bipartisan trio asks US intelligence to investigate ‘deepfakes’ MORE (Va.), Chris Van Hollen (Md.) and Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharElection Countdown: Trump confident about midterms in Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh controversy tests candidates | Sanders, Warren ponder if both can run | Super PACs spending big | Two states open general election voting Friday | Latest Senate polls GOP in striking distance to retake Franken seat Warner: 'overwhelming majority' of Republicans would back social media regulations MORE (Minn.) and Reps. Ben Ray Luján (N.M.), Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosBlue wave poses governing risks for Dems Dems' confidence swells with midterms fast approaching The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by Better Medicare Alliance — Inside the final legislative push before the midterms 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.