The Monday Morning Teaser

For a month or two I’ve been expressing skepticism about the different messages Democrats might adopt in 2018, without offering an alternative I believe in. (Last week, I was skeptical about the progressive message.) This week I’m finally going to stick my neck out.

The two main message proposals I’ve been hearing are (1) to go hard against Trump as an individual, all but making the election a referendum on impeachment, and (2) to push a positive progressive agenda full of very specific proposals: single-payer health care, $15 minimum wage, and so on.

The strategy I’m going to promote later this morning is that the 2018 campaign has to be negative and has to make use of Trump’s personal unpopularity, but the target has to be the whole conservative movement, not Trump personally. Through both Republican and Democratic administrations, we’ve been in the Reagan Era for nearly 40 years, and the result has been to destroy the American middle class. Trump may be a uniquely annoying individual, but his policies have been doctrinaire conservatism. The healthcare proposal, which would throw millions of the working poor off of Medicaid to give yet another tax cut to the very wealthy, is typical.

Individual candidates will want to supplement that denunciation with specific positive proposals tailored to their own districts, but the national message has to be negative: It’s time for the conservative era to be over.

The article will be called “Turn the Page”, and it builds on the “political time” theory of how change happens in America: You have to destroy the old regime and delegitimize its dominant ideas before you can start a new era. I’ll project it posting around 10 EDT.

The weekly summary discusses the Senate healthcare bill (which finally de-cloaked like a Klingon warbird ready to attack the working poor), the Georgia special election, the latest on the Russia investigation, and a number of recent articles worth looking at: the Democrats’ “religion problem”, climate change’s effect on Florida’s coral reefs and the tourism industry of the Keys, and the collapse of small-town retail. It should be out by noon.

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