- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Maybe the Democratic Party is worried about their money and their message. Maybe an identity crisis is in progress as the midterm elections loom. Whatever the cause, many Americans appear to be associating Democrats with obstruction and fury rather than productivity and good will. Rivals are noticing this trend, and are only too happy to craft a message around it.

“Voters have no love for Democrats right now. Congressional polls are tightening, and President Trump is polling higher than President Obama did at the same point in his presidency,” says Mike Reed, deputy communications director for the Republican National Committee, who cites a new Politico/Morning Consult poll which found Republicans now lead the generic congressional ballot, 39 percent to 38 percent respectively — despite months of hostile media coverage directed against them.

Mr. Reed also noted an internal poll from Democratic super PAC Priorities USA which found that President Trump’s approval rating has improved 4 percentage points in the last three months, even as Republicans are “closing the gap” in the November 2018 generic ballot.

“Priorities USA’s conclusion was to tell Democrats to ‘reassert control over the economic narrative if they are going to maximize electoral success.’ However, the economic narrative is trending in favor of Republicans,” Mr. Reed observes.

“Democrats are making the mistake of counting on anti-Trumpism to carry the party to victory in the 2018 midterm elections and the presidential contest of 2020. The party desperately needs to develop a positive, uplifting message that doesn’t hinge on Trump-bashing and does capture grass-roots attention,” advised political historian and author Allan Lichtman in a recent essay for Time magazine which emphasized that “a compelling message” was now a must.

And about that message. Currently, the party’s official motto appears to be “Change that matters,” though it was “A better deal” shortly after Mr. Trump took office. Six months ago, The New York Times asked readers to suggest a new “positive, inclusive, empathetic” message for the Democrats, and 1,200 people responded. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee also requested public insight about the same time, asking Democrats to vote on choices for official bumper sticker mottoes — which included the phrases “Resist & Persist,” “She persisted, We resisted” and “Make Congress blue again.”

JOE’S ADVICE

“Don’t tell me we have to choose between our progressive values and working people. That’s like telling me I have to rip out my heart to save my soul. I won’t do it, and this party shouldn’t, either.”

— Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, in a public message titled “Enough with the Elitism,” sent on behalf of American Possibilities, a political action committee he launched seven months ago.

THE ROMNEY REALITY

Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s intention to run for the Senate seat in Utah is a reality now — and a reality check for those Republicans who cringe over Mr. Romney’s impeccable establishment credentials. Get over it, some counsel.

“He’ll vote with the GOP caucus 99.876 percent of the time, including on the all-important judicial nominations. I know a lot of Trump loyalists are going to scream and set their hair on fire over this announcement because of the bad blood between President Trump and Romney, but hear me out. If you want Trump’s agenda to succeed (and that’s what it’s all about, right?) the GOP is going to need that Republican vote from Utah,” writes Paula Bolyard, supervising editor of PJ Media.

“A protracted mini-war along the way doesn’t help our side and will just give the Democrat-Media Complex more ammo to use against us in future wars,” Mrs. Bolyard continues, noting that Mr. Romney had been her last choice among the Republican presidential hopefuls who ran in 2012.

“Eventually, I begrudgingly put a Romney sign in my yard and even went to a rally. I admit, he kind of grew on me. I think he’s a good family man and a decent role model at minimum. At best, as I said, he’ll be a reliable GOP vote. The man doesn’t have an obstructionist bone in his body. I’m confident he’ll do what needs to be done for the sake of the GOP agenda,” she advises.

THE POLITICAL PASTRY

Republican Party of Virginia Chairman John Whitbeck has sent a little something to Sen. Tim Kaine: a small pastry with streusel topping. It has political connotations following House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s recent remark that $1,000 employee bonuses and improved benefits stemming from President Trump’s tax reform were mere “crumbs” in the big picture.

“Apparently, Democrats don’t have a good idea what crumbs really are. To help, we’re sending Sen. Kaine a crumb cake to show what crumbs actually look like,” advises Mr. Whitbeck. “We’d like to set the record straight. Hopefully the crumb cake will help Democrats realize the difference between crumbs and the real, tangible benefits of tax cuts for Virginia workers.”

The Republican Party of Florida, meanwhile, attempted to deliver “a delicious crumbcake” made by a bakery in the state to Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, also to counter the “crumb” narrative.

FOR THE LEXICON

“The CRUMBS Act”

And, voila, This legislation has been introduced by Rep. Todd Rokita, and bears the full name of “Creating Relief and Useful Middle-Class Benefits and Savings Act.” The bill would make employee bonuses received in the wake tax reform “tax-free up to $2,500” says the Indiana Republican.

Yes, of course he was inspired by the aforementioned remark by Senate Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

“The CRUMBS Act will let Americans keep more of the money they receive as a result of President Trump’s tax reform, and allow them, not the government, to choose how best to spend their bonuses,” Mr. Rokita explains.

POLL DU JOUR

88 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of the U.S. Postal Service; 87 percent of Republicans and 90 percent of Democrats agree.

78 percent overall have a favorable opinion of the Centers for Disease Control; 81 percent of Republicans and 80 percent of Democrats agree.

66 percent overall have a favorable opinion of the FBI; 55 percent of Republicans and 78 percent of Democrats agree.

59 percent overall have a favorable opinion of the Justice Department; 57 percent of Republicans and 60 percent of Democrats agree.

58 percent overall have a favorable opinion of the IRS; 50 percent of Republicans and 68 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center poll of 1,009 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 7-11.

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