PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Better messaging, not changes in policy, is the key to winning elections again, House Democrats said Thursday as they huddled in Philadelphia to talk strategy. And the message, they said, must focus relentlessly on middle class paychecks.
Despite big setbacks in the midterm elections, Democratic lawmakers say they're sticking to their top priorities: a higher minimum wage, tax hikes on the rich, advancing the president's health care law and other measures largely associated with President Barack Obama.
This time, they're counting on Obama's rising popularity — and fading headlines on Ebola and terrorist beheadings — to help persuade voters they'd be better off with a Congress run by Democrats and not the Republicans who now control both chambers.
In a Thursday evening speech, the president vowed to pitch in. “I'm not giving up the last two years, standing on the sideline,” Obama told the House Democrats, who gave him a standing ovation. “There is no economic measure by which we are not better off” than when he took office, he said, and Democrats must tell that story.
Americans generally agree with Democrats on big issues, Rep. Adam Schiff of California said in an interview, “but we need to do a better job on our overarching vision.” He was among the House Democrats assembled for Obama's pep talk and private sessions on how to sharpen the party's message.
Their newly appointed chief of messaging, Rep. Steve Israel of New York, said House Democrats are “absolutely unified on three essential messages going forward. And it's middle class, middle class and middle class.”
Israel acknowledged that Democrats talked a lot about the middle class in last fall's elections. But world calamities distracted voters, he said, and Democrats failed to show that their economic policies would directly benefit working class families.
Riffing on a campaign line of President ...read more