To win in 2018, Democrats must show why voting blue is worth it

To win in 2018, Democrats must show why voting blue is worth it
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpConway defends herself against Hatch Act allegations amid threat of subpoena How to defuse Gulf tensions and avoid war with Iran Trump says 'stubborn child' Fed 'blew it' by not cutting rates MORE last week announced harsh tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. This measure has had a wide range of negative impacts, including potentially harming the American economy overall and jeopardizing our relationship with many close allies.

Tellingly too, the president’s proposal has exposed fractures within the Republican Party, as the spokesperson for Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanThe Hill's Morning Report - Crunch time arrives for 2020 Dems with debates on deck Ocasio-Cortez calls out Steve King, Liz Cheney amid controversy over concentration camp remarks Democrats talk up tax credits to counter Trump law MORE (R-Wis.) said, “We are extremely worried about the consequences of a trade war, and are urging the White House to not advance with this plan.”

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These divides and disagreement are emblematic of the disunity within the GOP that has been observed since 2016 and presents an opportunity for the Democrats to demonstrate leadership and effective alternatives.

To successfully capitalize on this moment, the Democrats need to compromise with Republicans on key issues and work towards advancing policies that actually benefit everyday Americans. These efforts should start with collaborating with congressional Republicans on a core set of issues: immigration, health-care reform, and gun violence prevention.

The Democrats have claimed that protecting the Dreamers is their highest priority, but Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), still in place after legal challenges, expired on March 5. In order to ensure the status of the Dreamers, the Democrats must act swiftly and be willing to compromise on items like a border wall and greater limits on legal immigration.

A deal on immigration would be an overall win for the Democrats. They can claim a victory on DACA, while also showing that they can be tough on immigration, which is a central issue for many voters: A Harvard-Harris poll recently showed that 79 percent of Americans believe we need secure borders.

The theme of compromise should continue with health-care policy. Many Democratic leaders have been pushing recently for a radical “Medicare For All” system of universal healthcare, but in reality this is unfeasible both economically and politically.

Instead, the Democrats should continue to use ObamaCare as a framework and advance moderate bipartisan reforms that have been adopted by states with both Democratic and Republican governors, such as John Kasich, in order to secure President Obama’s landmark piece of legislation and continue improving the lives of Americans.

On other issues as well Democrats have a chance to lead the way. For instance, it has become clear since the tragic school shooting in Parkland that Americans are ready for meaningful action on gun control: A February CNN poll found that 70 percent of Americans support stricter gun laws, up from 52 percent in October 2017.

Democratic leaders must take advantage of the energy surrounding gun control and turn that into a central issue. If they can show strong leadership on important topics like that, as well as an ability to come to common-sense compromises with Republicans on things like immigration and health care, they will be able to position themselves as a party that listens to its constituents and turns their concerns into results.

This is ultimately a far stronger message than simply rehashing the 2016 election by continuing to promote Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Hill's Morning Report - Crunch time arrives for 2020 Dems with debates on deck The Memo: All eyes on faltering Biden ahead of first debate Trump says he's not prepared to lose in 2020 MORE as the face of the party and focusing on “resistance” to President Trump.

While backlash against Trump may further energize some already liberal voters, the real task the Democrats face is winning over middle-of-the-road voters. To accomplish this, candidates must show voters how exactly their lives will be directly improved by voting blue.

Thus, it is essential that Democrats listen to public opinion on topics from immigration to gun control and demonstrate their ability to compromise where necessary and ultimately get things done. If they can do these things, they will be able to build on anti-Trump sentiment and position themselves to make meaningful gains in the 2018 midterms.

Douglas E. Schoen (@DouglasESchoen) served as a pollster for President Clinton. A longtime political consultant, he is also a Fox News contributor and the author of 11 books, including “Putin’s Master Plan: To Destroy Europe, Divide NATO, and Restore Russian Power and Global Influence.”