- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 19, 2019

The economy is surging and the jobs market is better than it’s been in decades — but Democrats say that won’t end up helping President Trump in 2020.

Guy Cecil, chairman of Priorities USA, a leading liberal campaign group, says Americans aren’t feeling the good news — including a number of voters who backed Mr. Trump in the 2016 election, but are undecided now.

“By a pretty considerable margin, most people think that the economy is basically designed to help the wealthiest people,” Mr. Cecil told reporters at a recent briefing in Washington. “So even in the context of thinking that the economy is getting better, most Americans don’t actually see that it is benefiting them on the issues that they are say are most important — wages and health care.”

He pointed to the findings from a survey of 1,600 registered voters that Priorities USA commissioned across key battleground states that Mr. Trump carried over Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton four years ago — Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Asked who is better at defending the middle class and fighting for higher wages, voters choose Democrats. As for Mr. Trump, they believe he cares more about the wealthy and special interests, Mr. Cecil said.

That sentiment is likely fueled by press coverage of the 2017 GOP tax cut. While nearly every taxpayer saw an income tax reduction, those on the higher end who pay more taxes generally got bigger cuts.

But Mr. Cecil also said Democrats shouldn’t be complacent after the 2018 wave election saw them expand their numbers in the House.

Next year will be different because Mr. Trump will actually be on the ballot, energizing his supporters — and Democrats may be in for a letdown because they’ve already succeeded in gaining a piece of power.

“Democrats do not walk into the 2020 election with the same enthusiasm advantage they had in 2018,” Mr. Cecil said.

Indeed, 85% of Mr. Trump’s supporters are highly enthusiastic about voting in 2020, compared to 80% of those supporting a generic Democratic challenger, Mr. Cecil said.

He said Democrats have room to grow among young voters and black voters in particular.

Priorities USA, founded by supporters and ex-staffers of both Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama, has been a major player in recent federal and state elections and announced it is investing $4 million in municipal elections in Florida, Michigan, North Carolina and Pennsylvania this year.

Mr. Cecil said the effort is aimed at increasing Democratic turnout, hoping voters get in the habit of voting before the 2020 election. Priorities USA will also test out digital strategies.

“We know we need to increase our enthusiasm,” he said.

His group announced earlier this year that it will invest $100 million across Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania as part of its effort to defeat Mr. Trump.

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