The Democrats “Better Deal” platform was announced on Monday, and its sole aim is to appeal to the “populist” base that propelled President Trump to the White House. “Better Deal” is apparently focused on the idea that the Democrats will “encourage” the growth of 10 million new jobs through a series of Tax Credits and Infrastructure investment…Almost exactly what President Trump has been doing since taking office.
Democrat leader, Chuck Schumer prefaced the new DNC platform by informally accepting that their electoral issues arose not from Russian Collusion, but from a failure of their own campaign. He said: “When you lose to somebody who has 40% popularity, you don’t blame other things — Comey, Russia — you blame yourself,” a significant shift in attitude compared to the last six months.
Pundits and voters alike have said for some time now that the Democrat’s underwhelming performance was due to “institutional issues” within the DNC. However, this is the first indication that Democrat leadership has (at least tacitly) accepted that view. Democrats now have an opportunity to re-launch themselves as a real party of opposition.
Unfortunately, the “Better Deal” platform is just a watered down version of the present government’s policy. While it is true that many natural Democrat voters will be enthused by their party’s focus on jobs and the economy, the fact remains that they are still focusing heavily on the multi-national corporations. These Mega Corporations DO provide jobs, but are often not reliable in terms of sustained growth in more rural communities. For example, Walmart has closed over 100 locations around the US, leaving behind towns that have lost their small businesses (through unassailable competition), and a spike in unemployment that will take a generation to recover.
The three main platforms of “A Better Deal” are:
Job Creation: By providing tax credits to corporations that pay higher wages and a large infrastructure program (similar to the program Hillary Clinton campaigned on).
Drug Costs: To bring down the cost of pharmaceutical drugs by creating a Regulatory Agency with sweeping oversight on the market.
Market Inequality: “… a new federal office and federal guidelines that would aim to make it more difficult for companies to merge and easier for federal regulators to call attention to their “anti-competitive” behavior.”
The end goals of each platform may be considered worthy by a majority of Americans who vote based on Jobs and Economy, but the methods of application will face some harsh criticism. When examined, it seems that the Democrat “Better Deal” version of “populist” policy is more regulation, giving tax credits to multi-nationals rather than tax cuts for all, and putting more government controls on business owners.
The platform may shore up the voter base who already voted Democrat, but it is highly unlikely to bring any Republican or Independent voters into the fold. It is, unfortunately, more of the same government-centric policies with a different focus.
The idea of having an opposition government is minimize extreme ideological changes. It is also to ensure that should one ideological approach fail; there will be an alternative ready to step in. By admitting that the failure lies with them, the Democrats have made the first step to becoming a proper party of governance, if they can set aside ideology for practical policy that promotes small business growth. Small business has long been recognized as the backbone of the economy. It is also the sector most negatively impacted by burdensome government regulations.
Mark is a political writer and journalist who has worked on campaigns for Brexit.