The pundits have been busy. “What does the Democratic Party need to do to win elections?” they bloviate.
Avoid “identity politics” (you know, advancing agendas that recognize women, minorities, the LGBTQ community… ) or move to the left (advocate single-payer health care, a $15 minimum wage, free tuition at public colleges… ) or do neither of the above in order to appeal to the centrists and independents who may have voted for Trump and other Republicans in the last go-around?
I say, take a page out the winning GOP playbook: lie, deny and buy. It seems to work.
Lying is the best strategy, of course. Don’t let facts get in the way of a successful campaign. The recent tax reform bill is an excellent example. Tell the lower and middle classes they’re going to get big cuts when actually:
According to the (Tax Policy) Center’s estimates, the top 1 percent of Americans would get 53 percent of the plan’s benefits at the start–though reap 79.7 percent of the benefits in its 10th year, 2027.
That’s right, nearly 80 percent of the tax cuts go to the 1 percent by 2027. And since the tax bill also gets rid of the health care mandate for individuals, premiums will go up by an estimated 10 percent. Not being able to take medical expenses as a deduction is also in play.
The biggest liar is our commander-in-chief. It’s hard to keep up with all the lies. One of the most recent is his goal to bring peace to the Middle East, starting with an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord.
“The stars have finally aligned,” Trump said, in reference to Middle East peace agreements. Then, as the BBC reports:
An expected announcement by President Donald Trump that the US will become the first country to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has been dubbed a “kiss of death” for the Middle East peace process by the Palestinians.
From Trump himself (in The Art of the Deal): “I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration — and a very effective form of promotion.” And while he certainly doesn’t have great numbers, he’s still holding at a 38 percent approval rating, proving the maxim that “you can fool some of the people all of the time.”
Denial is also a great strategy. Take the sexual harassment and assault stories dominating the news. There are myriad claims leveled against our president and a senate candidate out of Alabama, and much evidence to back up those claims. But they keep denying and they’re still around.
On the flip side, there’s a Democratic senator who has had some harassment charges leveled at him. Although not as contrite as many would like:
Franken had issued a series of apologies in response to each allegation, because, he said, “all women deserve to be heard and their experiences taken seriously.”
Now he’s out of a job. Lesson learned, Democrats?
Finally, if you can’t lie or deny your way into an elected office, you can always buy your way in. Sure, there are Democrats in Congress who are millionaires but per capita, we Montanans have an inordinate number of Republican millionaires representing us (Gianforte and Daines) or wanting to represent us (Downing and Rosendale) in Congress.
And they’re not bashful about sinking a healthy portion of their fortunes into buying seats. Or funding groups that want to end any sort of campaign finance reform.
Gianforte himself had helped seed the laissez-faire political money system that made his victory possible earlier in the decade, having contributed significant funds through his nonprofit Gianforte Family Charitable Trust to several conservative organizations leading legal efforts to dismantle federal campaign finance regulations, a Center for Public Integrity investigation reveals.
So, there you have it, Democrats: lie, deny and buy. It’s time to get with the program. And I’ll wave my substantial consulting fees for this bit of advice.