On Thursday, Democrats in the House of Representatives teased a new slogan, but perhaps they shouldn’t have. The new slogan tacitly admitted that the Democrats are not as good as Trump.
“A member of Congress told me Democrats big 2018 slogan, which is set to be released Monday,” Vox congressional reporter Jeff Stein tweeted Thursday. The full slogan? “A Better Deal: Betters Skills, Better Jobs, Better Wages.”
President Donald Trump has already promised “the best deals,” so in a major way, the Democrats’ plan is a step down.
A great deal is riding on this messaging. Since Trump’s surprise victory last November, Democrats have set their sights on 2018 as a year of redemption, the first real shot to make up for a terrific failure in 2016 and to take advantage of a president with low approval ratings (according to the same pollsters who thought Clinton would win…).
Slogans are a dime a dozen, and rarely do they actually impact a campaign. Of course, “Make America Great Again” was a powerful boost to Trump, but the slogan has to be just right to make a positive impact — or just wrong to have a negative one.
Democrats are very much in need of a unifying message. On Monday, Steve Peoples and Bill Barrow wrote in the Associated Press (AP) that Democrats are divided on their core message. House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley told them “that message is being worked on. … We’re doing everything we an to simplify it, but at the same time provide the meat behind it as well.”
This admission “that his party lacks a clear, core message even among Republican disarray highlights the Democrats’ dilemma eight months after President Donald Trump and the GOP dominated last fall’s elections, in part, because Democrats lacked a consistent message,” Peoples and Barrow noted.
Democrats are indeed divided — over whether to try to impeach Trump over Russia (which energizes the GOP base behind Trump), or to focus on policy like defending Obamacare in its death throes.
The divisions would be hard to miss, given the bloody struggle between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders last year. After another bloody race for the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the elected chair Tom Perez went on tour with Sanders to demonstrate unity. Sanders effectively spat in his face, declaring, “I’m an Independent.”
The American people know the Democrats lack a unifying message. In a Washington Post/ABC News poll, only 37 percent of adults said the Democratic Party “stands for something.” Another 52 percent said the party “just stands against Trump.”
Of course, even those Democrats who focus on policy (ahem, Bernie Sanders) have overblown their hyperbole. Earlier this month, Sanders declared that the Republican bill to repeal and replace Obamacare was “nine times” worse than the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. There’s an eternal campaign ad for the GOP.
Other gaffes are more revealing of the cultural obtuseness of the Democratic Party. Sanders recently declared that Christians shouldn’t be allowed to serve in government. The DNC actually furthered divisive and dangerous “hate group” labeling from an organization that inspired the Steve Scalise shooter and a terror attack in the nation’s capital in 2012. Is it any wonder they lost the most expensive U.S. House race in history?
Even the new slogan carries baggage — it was pointed out on Twitter in a USA TODAY opinion editorial by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Hillary Clinton’s running-mate in 2016. (How’d that work out? Clinton’s still unpopular, by the way.) Here’s how Kaine explained the slogan:
Better skills in our people and communities — through innovative K-12 education, affordable college, apprenticeships, job training, immigration — will make us more competitive in a world where talent is now the most precious resource. …
Better jobs are a natural for a party with strong ties to working people. Fighting for workers’ rights must stay central to what we do. …
And better wages — a minimum wage that gets you above the poverty level, complete pay equity for women, reducing the dramatic tax preference for earnings over wages and salary — put more wealth into the hands of regular Americans. Stagnant wages for the American worker are one of the most troubling trends of the last three decades.
“Better Skills, Better Jobs, Better Wages” is a pro-growth economic message that is true to who Democrats are. Our party has long supported investments in the workforce, infrastructure spending and bigger paychecks.
More government spending, more favoritism for unions, and job-crushing minimum wage increases. Sound familiar? It should — it was the platform defeated in 2010, 2014, and 2016.
This “Better Deal” is aimed to evoke the “New Deal,” — President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s big government package that arguably extended the Great Depression but remains popular among the Democratic base — but it is more likely to be compared to Trump’s boasts to get “the best deals.”
When one side is peddling “the best deals” and the other side is merely peddling a “better deal,” which will the American people pick? Trump’s promise is hyperbole, to be sure — but are Democrats tacitly admitting that their policies aren’t that great? Are they engaging in less hyperbole because they know their “deal” isn’t really that good?
But the worst part of the entire fiasco is the Papa John’s slogan comparison.
The similarity between the Democrats’ slogan — “A Better Deal: Better Skills, Better Jobs, Better Wages” — and the slogan of Papa John’s Pizza — “Better Ingredients. Better Pizza. Papa John’s.” — was lost on no one.
— Angela (@AngelinosJ) July 21, 2017
Uproxx Editor Vince Mancini asked, “Are they running for office or trying to get hired at Papa John’s?”
Are they running for office or trying to get hired at Papa John's https://t.co/KSlz2eB1ND
— Vince Mancini (@VinceMancini) July 20, 2017
Some of the attacks were rather colorful. “lmao the Democrats got high AF and stole their slogan from a Papa John box,” one user tweeted. “420 y’all lmao,” he added.
lmao the Democrats got high AF and stole their slogan from a Papa John box
420 y'all lmao pic.twitter.com/AfbmVFQuhA
— Tim 🕊🌿🐊 (@timtakestime) July 20, 2017
“There’s a Podesta pizzagate joke in here that I’m not clever enough to make,” another user quipped.
Here’s my personal favorite, from America Rising PAC.
— America Rising (@AmericaRising) July 21, 2017
Jon Lovett, a former speechwriter for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, declared, “Fire every consultant involved.”
Fire every consultant involved. https://t.co/eNr1RTGb4N
— Jon Lovett (@jonlovett) July 20, 2017
Perhaps Americans should fire the entire party while they’re at it.