September 2018 Democrats: Forget Worrying about…

September 2018 Democrats: Forget Worrying about…

Democrats: Forget Worrying about a Local/National Division of Issues: They Are Both the Same

On August 18 the New York Times ran a front page analysis of the Democratic Party strategy for 2018 entitled “House Democrats Test a Do-it-Yourself Platform.” The article takes the conventional wisdom position that the Democrats should run campaigns based on local issues that theoretically will get them local voters. The article finds a candidate who supports this conventional wisdom saying that Democrats running are “carrying the burden of carrying the national mantel.” Another politician the article was happy to quote said Democratic candidates should “run like you are running for mayor.”

This article is one more demonstration that conventional wisdom analysis ignores the fact that the local issues are national. As if by accident, the article says the issue candidates will be running on will be something like healthcare: “Protecting what people need to protect– Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.” In other words, candidates will be running on national issues. Low wages and the economy may be local issues in terms of local employment but the question to be asked is which Trump billionaires are making a pile of money off the tax cuts, or the cutting of emissions standards for a revived coal industry.

The Democratic strategy should not be conceptualized as local versus national.

Indeed, Democrats now are being given the gift of a new national/local issue, i.e., corruption. The Trump base has accused all Democrats of “witch hunts” on the Russia investigation. However, what has happened is that Trump’s closest collaborators are simply crooks, who, among other things, have been stealing money, including from voters at the local level. So let’s take this new national/local issue and run with it.

—Elizabeth Spiro Clark, Vice President for Public Policy and Political Action