Democrats’ messaging failure
The New York Times
Democrats are failing to meet the challenge posed by Donald Trump, said David Brooks. In his norm-shattering presidency, Trump has embraced “ethnic nationalism,” made immigrants the enemy, and undermined “the postwar international order” of democratic Western nations once led by the U.S. And how are Democrats responding to the “cultural, moral, and ideological” challenge Trumpism poses? By trying to make the midterm elections a referendum on coverage of pre-existing conditions. Health care is a valid issue “in normal times,” and for decades Democrats have offered voters more federal spending and better benefits. But it’s an inadequate response to Trump’s successful division of the country into warring “cultural tribes.” Where is the strong counternarrative to Trump’s relentless Us vs. Them messaging? Where is the defense of America’s traditional ideals and an invitation to all Americans to reunite behind a common cause? When Democrats do make a moral argument, it’s the social justice claim that whites and men are oppressors of minorities, women, and LGBT people—which only drives more heartland voters into Trump’s camp. Today, culture—and a desire for respect—“is more important than economics.” Democrats can’t beat Trump until they come up with a more compelling story than his.