WASHINGTON, August 26, 2017 — History shows that American voters swing slightly to the right of center and slightly to the left. In 2006, the country began swinging from right to left. From 2008 to 2016, the leftward shift was fairly strong. In 2016, the rightward shift began.
In 2008, Barack Obama was elected president with a strong appeal to the left. The Democrats had control of both houses of Congress, achieving a 60-vote super majority in the Senate. They were in a strong position to implement their agenda.
With an economy in deep recession, the Democrats wanted economic stimulus. They passed a stimulus package totaling nearly $1 trillion. But their agenda placed social injustice ahead of economic growth as a priority, so the stimulus bill failed to significantly stimulate the economy.
In addition, the Federal Reserve dramatically increased the money supply. Usually, this expansive Monetary Policy would lead to rapid growth in the economy. But because the administration was more concerned with protecting consumers from social injustice than with growing the economy, monetary policy also failed to significantly stimulate the economy. Why?
For monetary policy to work, the Fed’s increase in the money supply goes through a money multiplier which further expands the money supply and economic activity. The money multiplier only works when banks are lending money.
Because of concerns about social injustice brought about by the financial crisis, congressional Democrats passed and Obama signed the Dodd Frank bill. The law ended so-called “predatory” lending: Policy makers blamed financial institutions for approving “predatory” loans that consumers freely applied for but could not afford. But Dodd Frank not only reduced predatory lending; it limited almost all other lending. Without lending, the stimulatory monetary policy failed to stimulate.
Except for re-electing the popular Obama in 2012, American voters rejected the far-left position of the Democrats. In 2010, Democrats lost control of the House of Representatives; in 2014, they lost control of the Senate. In 2016, they lost the presidency.
The country started to move to the right in 2010, and that movement continues today. If the Democrats want to change the country’s direction, they need a positive message and some positive legislative victories. They are missing the opportunity.
President Trump does not place his moderately conservative, right leaning views as his number one priority. For the first time in history, Americans have elected a non-politician, non-lawyer and non-military person as president. We elected a businessman.
As a businessman, Trump is concerned primarily with results. He wants legislation passed that will move the country forward. While he has his own views on how this should be done, he is more concerned with results. This presents a tremendous and unique opportunity for Democrats.
So far, the Democrats’ entire strategy has been to resist Trump’s agenda, then try to convince the public that Trump is corrupt, insensitive, a racist and unfit to be president. That is a losing strategy. They used it during the 2016 campaign, and it failed.
Not only was Trump elected, the GOP kept control of both houses of Congress. Democrats have lost all four national elections since Trump’s victory. Despite a mainstream media whose coverage of Trump is 93 percent negative, the Democrats are failing to gain ground. If they maintain their “not Trump” position, they will face further losses in 2018.
What should the Democrats do?
President Trump will sign any pro-economic-growth bill that Congress passes. The Republicans alone cannot reach a majority despite controlling both houses of Congress, mostly because of the far-right position of some members of the GOP. The Democrats should seize this opportunity.
Working with moderate and moderately conservative Republicans, they can draft legislation that modifies the Affordable Care Act enough to fend off the coming disaster. They could work with moderate members of the GOP to reach consensus on tax reform, raise the debt ceiling, pass an infrastructure bill and compromise on social programs.
That would not only move the country forward but it would help the Democrats in future elections since they would be viewed as part of a solution rather than being viewed as part of the problem.
If the presidency were held by any Republican other than Trump, the Dems would never be able to have any input on new laws. Trump will listen and can be persuaded to modify his views if there is a consensus in Congress.
For the country’s good and for the Democratic Party’s good, Democrats should end their negative “not Trump” campaign and start promoting positive solutions.