Wednesday :: Feb 7, 2018

Taking Credit Has Its Risks

by Deacon Blues

With a government shutdown looming once again, and the president cheerleading for it, Democrats need to be smart and play the long game over these coming months as we head into the midterms. Although new, credible national polling shows that Trump is getting bigly credit for the economy, and that the GOP tax cut is initially popular with the electorate, Democrats need to message and strategize around the following factoids.

The Senate just reached a two-year budget deal to avoid a shutdown, which seemingly has the support of Speaker Ryan, White House staff, and the Pentagon. The deal also includes a debt-ceiling increase and deprives Trump of any leverage on the budget or immigration. Even though Nancy Pelosi and presumably House Democrats are unhappy and wanted to tie the next funding resolution to a DACA fix, polls show that the public supports the Dreamers but doesn't support shutting the government down over the issue. However, and more importantly, these same polls show the electorate doesn't support shutting down the government over immigration cuts either, which is exactly what Trump is threatening to do.

No matter how tough it may be for Pelosi and House Democrats, they need to enable the Senate deal to make its way to a full floor vote in the House while calling for a standalone DACA vote, and then back Trump into a corner with a choice of signing the Senate 2-year deal, or doing something that 66% of voters say is wrong: closing the government over immigration. And it also helps that while Trump pounds the desk for his wall and cutting chain migration and visa programs, 78% of voters support leaving immigration the same as it is now, or actually increasing it.

Second, while Trump is reaping the (short term) benefits of a good economy and the tax cuts, the stock market shows us that such euphoria can be fleeting, given the uncertainty over what the Fed will do with interest rates this year, and what damage there will be to public opinion should Trump veto the budget deal and send the country into a government shutdown and an accelerated debt-ceiling vote caused by all the red ink from the GOP tax cut. For example, how popular will the tax cut be 4 weeks from now when the White House and Freedom Caucus in the House GOP demand sharp entitlement and domestic spending cuts as a condition of any debt-ceiling extension? Democrats should be ready with messaging that hits the White House and GOP hard for trying to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare to pay for Trump's deficits and Wall Street's fleecing of Main Street.

Third, the electorate already doesn't trust Trump on Russia, and half or more of the electorate think:
-Trump is trying to obstruct the investigation (53-41%);
-Mueller's investigation is legitimate (50-42%);
-The probe is being carried out fairly (56-28%); and
-The FBI is not biased against Trump (55-33%).
So when Trump redacts information from the House Democratic Intelligence Committee response to last week's Nunes' fairy tale, Democrats should be ready to ask the FBI and DOJ for their redactions to compare them to what Trump took out, so that they can show how much was redacted to protect Trump and not national security. If the House Democrats cannot get those standalone redactions from the administration, they should hit the airwaves to hammer Trump for politicizing the national security agencies in an effort to save his own skin.

Lastly, while Trump fends off Democratic attacks for politicizing national security, and while Trump takes credit for the economy, Democrats should also keep hammering him for letting Russia into our elections with no consequences, and for not producing an infrastructure spending plan that creates jobs and not more tax breaks, something that has the support of 87% of the electorate.

Chuck and Nancy, this stuff isn't hard, and if the two of you can't come up with a strategy and messaging plan to do these things, then it's time to step aside.

Deacon Blues :: 11:27 AM :: Comments (0) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!