Four ways the Democratic Party can woo Republican voters: strategist
The Democratic Party has faced an exodus of politically moderate voters in Rust Belt states whose prioritization of economic issues has driven them into the clutches of the Republican Party. On Monday, Democratic strategist Brian Striker published an editorial in The New York Times outlining how that once-reliable bloc can be won back.
"Inflation is the top issue voters want Washington to address, and Americans believe disruptions to the global supply chain are causing price spikes and economic instability. To win support, Democrats need to hammer home to voters that they are focused on bringing manufacturing home," Striker wrote. "I live in Chicago and work for Midwestern Democratic politicians whose states have been hit hard by outsourcing, and I have seen Democrats win over swing voters with a powerful call to bring jobs back to America and invest in domestic manufacturing."
This presents both a challenge and an opportunity.
"Democrats have got to do more to demonstrate that we are putting American workers first, starting with taking on outsourcing and bad trade deals," Striker said. "Democrats in Congress are taking small steps — like prioritizing the passage of a bill that will support the semiconductor industry and help make the United States more competitive with China — but there is much more we, as a party, can do, both in our actions and in our words."
Striker opined that his party needs to hone its focus on four key areas if it wants to make consequential inroads into its lost territory.
First: Democrats need to capitalize on legislative accomplishments such as President Joe Biden's bipartisan infrastructure package, which "has engaged construction in places all over the country," Striker noted.
The sting of inflation – in part triggered by years of outsourcing – factors into this messaging as well. Striker explained that "voters want to hear that Democrats see it as the big problem that it is. And voters everywhere want to bring supply chains home, if possible, so Americans can build things in states all over the country." Democrats, he said, must "start owning this issue again."
Second: Democrats should be champions of building things and by extension be competitive in the global labor market.
"We should immediately pass some version of the China competitiveness bill that brings critical supply lines like semiconductor production back to America, invests in American manufacturing, takes on China’s intellectual-property theft and illegal subsidies and expands worker training," recommended Striker. Additional boons for the party include crafting trade agreements that "deliver tangible benefits for American workers" and developing tax policies "to incentivize companies to pay American workers an honest day’s pay here, not hire cheaper foreign labor."
Third: Democrats need to go on the offensive against corporate-friendly, tax-slashing Republicans, who overwhelmingly supported former President Donald Trump's "tax cuts for outsourcers."
Fourth: Democrats should embrace and "draw inspiration from our roots and union friends. We should remind voters over and over again about who saved the American auto industry: Barack Obama and his vice president, Joe Biden."
Striker concluded his piece with words of caution.
"Many voters are turned off by the Republican culture wars, but they will tolerate them if they believe they are voting for the party that is fighting for their jobs and wallets," he said. "But if we respond to voter frustrations, especially on pocketbook issues, and if we fully commit to those issues in government and in campaigns, we can start to find our way back with them."
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