Talk of the new Democratic agenda have been abuzz in Washington this week. Calls for "A Better Deal" are dominating news coverage and captivating voters with a plan to remake the American economy, sending Republicans scrambling for a viable platform of their own in advance of the midterm elections.
This agenda, which Democrats began rolling out a few weeks ago in a series of choreographed events, has impressed pretty much no one.
The critics of the plan have been quick to point out that it wasn’t really a plan at all — more like a collection of greatest hits like public infrastructure spending (1984), job retraining (1992) and monopoly busting (1896).
The underlying philosophy, which misreads in some fundamental way the core appeal of Trump’s campaign has revealed that Democrats are trying to do a couple of things with this new marketing push.
However, nothing redefines a party in the public mind like a slogan unveiled by congressional leaders at a podium. That’s always worked before.
The other urgent objective is to co-opt some of the populist fury that’s simmering right now in the Democratic base, before it overwhelms the party establishment in the same way that Trump toppled leading Republicans.
Schumer and his compatriots are trying to convincingly adopt the ethos of the anti-namely Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
Populism is the practice of galvanizing the majority of the people against powerful and oppressive interests in the society. In the late 19th century and well into the 20th, populism necessarily translated into an assault on industrial-age business.
However, we also depend on companies like Walmart and Target for affordable drugs, groceries and toys for our kids. The fastest-growing and most ubiquitous companies in America now aren’t in oil or steel; they’re Apple and Amazon and Google.
In the meantime, the government bureaucracies have grown exponentially in both size and power. Most people believe that Washington is the most powerful institution. In fact a lot of Americans know that this institution is oppressive, too.
The tax concerns that individuals have raised are just an example of the many problems that people have tried to raise disdain over the last decade.
It’s also worth noting that promises that never seem to be kept, year after year on jobs, of affordable college, of renewal in abandoned towns. Since the beginning of globalization and technological upheaval, politicians have been telling people they’ve got this or that plan to reverse the decline.