“A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future” — does that sound like a Republican Party platform message? If you voted in the election of 2016, you could probably be forgiven for thinking so. But the overwhelming loser of that election — the Democratic Party — has taken a cue from its winner and is now rolling out this slogan in an attempt to rebrand itself, hazarding no pretension at originality and choosing instead to take a page quite clearly out of President Trump’s populist playbook.
This blatant admission, summarized in a recent Associated Press article, was confirmed by no less an authority than Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, who, in an op-ed in The New York Times, stated that “[the Democratic Party’s] Better Deal is not about expanding the government or moving our party in one direction or another along the political spectrum.” Of course, to any longtime observer of the party of the Left, these two denials would seem to be at odds with one another. And anyone caring to look at the record of Barack Obama’s presidency would quickly see that both claims are Pinocchio-esque platitudes.
In a speech in conservative Berryville, Virginia, in which he stood next to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and other members of his party for the “Better Deal” rollout, Schumer even seemed to admit as much. “Democrats have too often hesitated from directly and unflinchingly taking on misguided policies that got us here,” he admitted. “So much so that too many Americans don’t know what we stand for.”
“The Democratic Party’s mission is to help build an America in which working people know that somebody has their back,” reads the Associated Press summary of the event. It states that the Democratic Party would like to see “raised wages, lowered costs for families and better skills for the 21st-century economy for working Americans.” In particular, three specific promises are being made with the “Better Deal” plan:
- Lower prescription drug prices
The Democrats are hinting about a new government agency (so much for Schumer’s promise of “not expanding the government”) for investigating drug manufacturer price hikes and allowing Medicare to negotiate with drug makers for the best possible prices. According to Schumer, “We’re going to fight for rules to stop prescription drug price gouging and demand that drug companies justify price increases to the public. And we’re going to push for empowering Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices for older Americans.” Conservatives probably don’t have to think too hard to recall where and when they’ve heard this before.
- A crackdown on corporate monopolies
This one would have to be seen to be believed, given the history (especially recent history) of massive donations and speech payments to Obama and the Clintons, but the claim is that standards would be enacted for limiting large mergers (presumably the ongoing buyout of Time Warner by AT&T doesn’t count) and a new advocate for consumer competition (perhaps Senator Warren, or an equivalent clone?) would be empowered.
Again, according to Schumer (likely glancing sideways at a speech of President Trump’s), “Right now, our antitrust laws are designed to allow huge corporations to merge, padding the pockets of investors, but sending costs skyrocketing for everything from cable bills and airline tickets to food and health care. We’re going to fight to allow regulators to break up big companies if they’re hurting consumers and make it harder for companies to merge if it reduces competition.”
- “Millions” more jobs
No details have yet come out where any such positions would come from, but apparently on the Democrats’ agenda are expanded apprenticeship programs and tax credits for employers to hire and train more workers. And, of course, it wouldn’t be surprising to hear Republicans’ promotion of vocational training being parroted.
Schumer’s unoriginal take: “Right now, millions of unemployed or underemployed people, particularly those without a college degree, could be brought back into the labor force or retrained to secure full-time, higher-paying work. We propose giving employers — particularly small businesses — a large tax credit to train workers for unfilled jobs. This will have particular resonance in smaller cities and rural areas, which have experienced an exodus of young people who aren’t trained for jobs in those areas.”
In his Times op-ed, Schumer admits that instituting a desired mandatory $15-per-hour wage would require additional government oversight. So much for reducing the size of government. Like President Trump, Schumer also wants to lower household costs via government subsidies for child rearing. And like President Trump, Schumer would like to see a new $1 trillion infrastructure plan. Does this mean Senate Democrats will approve the one Trump is proposing?
One might wonder why this desperate-sounding gambit is being rolled out now, but if one looks at the strategy of the Democrats since their defeat in 2016, it’s been one failing tactic after another — first, there was the attempt (still ongoing) to paint Trump as an outright criminal for colluding with the Russians, which it’s been shown that voters don’t give a damn about, its veracity notwithstanding.
And then, there have been instances where the Democrats simply thought the solution to their problems was money, and accordingly, they dumped obscene amounts into special elections like the one in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District, where, despite spending an irrational $176 per vote to the Republicans’ $23, they still lost.
Perhaps seeing the errors of their ways, the Democrats now appear to believe there’s a ready-made solution — simply mimic all of the platform points of Republicans — and hope voters don’t see the utter duplicity and bankruptcy of it. “It’s not enough to just identify the problem,” said Van Hollen, chairman of the Democrats’ Senatorial Campaign Committee. “It’s not enough to simply analyze and empathize. We have to put forward bold solutions.” Presumably, “bold” is a euphemism for “plagiarized” in Democratic idiom.
In Berryville, the county seat of Clarke County, Virginia, a spokeswoman for Republican Congresswoman Barbara Comstock, who won the district in 2016 with 63 percent of the vote, said, “I’m glad that Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and Elizabeth Warren got to experience Clarke County, where Rep. Comstock is fighting for local issues each day, including the heroin epidemic. Her massive level of support in Clarke County reflects the fact that she’s working hard for the people of the 10th District, while Pelosi swings through here for a couple hours and leaves without shaking a single hand.”
Like Clarke County voters, constituents in places like the Midwest can also likely see through these newfound Democratic promises. When imitation is this identical, its sincerity is to be doubted — whether it’s considered flattery or not.