The press is reporting that Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi have been developing a message designed to show that the Democratic Party stands for more than opposing Donald Trump. Jobs are key to the message, but the jobs program is the kind of multi-pronged list that makes eyes glaze over. It is focused on infrastructure, trade, and the minimum wage. As Montana Senator Jon Tester has observed, “Message has always been a challenge for Democrats, because it tends to get too convoluted and not very simple.” See Politico.
A bolder and simple jobs message is vital. The Democratic Party needs to return to Hubert Humphrey’s call for a guaranteed job for all Americans. As I see it, such a program would not be confined to infrastructure, but would include subsidies for public service jobs in law enforcement, civil and criminal, schools, libraries, hospitals, parks, and the like. Although the administration of such a program would be far from simple, the concept is readily understandable, politically appealing, and exactly what a just society should stand for.
The weakness of the Democratic message is not confined to jobs. It is weak on the issue of religion and (without suggesting that the Party should soften its support of Roe v. Wade) weak on the issue of abortion. More on that later.