Yesterday President Biden took the biggest gamble of his political career. He clearly needed to have something to take to Europe to COP26 on Climate change. He is also aware, the longer his policy agenda continues to stall, the more damaging it becomes. Whilst progressives seem to be standing firm, they must surely be aware that the end game has arrived. In my view they should step back, not because they are wrong in what they want, but because the political reality is, Manchin and Sinema have moved as far as they are going to move. For Manchin in particular, I feel it would be not be a big step for him to cross the aisle and if that happens, all bets are off.
Whilst I would have liked to see the policy offering remain the same, simply with a reduced timeframe in order to meet the new budget, I'm sure there must be good reasoning behind where Democratic leadership has decided to land. Now the decision for progressives is, are they prepared to accept the revised package as opposed to nothing? Personally, I think they have already reconciled themselves to moving forward. The sticking point is not the deal, but the fear that if they sign off on the infrastructure package based on just a framework, 'moderates' will kick Build Back Better into the long grass. I have to say, I understand and am fearful of this outcome myself. Once they sign the infrastructure bill off, their leverage disappears and Manchin is a shrewd political operator without a conscience. It's not a stretch to see him changing his mind, or asking for further amendments to run down the clock. It is truly a unenviable dilemma for progressives.
Putting the above aside for a moment, let's focus on the positive, God knows we need some positivity. Let's assume Build Back Better is passed at say $1.75 trillion. This would still be a HUGE win for the administration. The original target of $7 trillion, was never a real starter given the thin margins in the House and Senate. However, if you combine the $1.9 trillion from the American Rescue Plan with the current bills, almost $5 trillion can make a huge difference.
I spoke yesterday at length about the inability of Dems to sell a message, but once this framework has been finalised, it will be a do or die moment for them. They are never likely to get an opportunity like this, to cement a legacy whilst at the same time, change the lives of millions of Americans. No President in the modern era has been presented with an opportunity for such transformational change. If Dems fail to convert this into an electoral power base for the future, then they simply don't deserve to be in power.
Republicans in recent weeks have tended to step back and let the public spats between Democrats lead the narrative. There is absolutely no question, these very public policy arguments have done considerable damage to the perceived competence of the administration. Once the package is finalised, the gloves will come off and the GOP will blitz the airwaves with one word 'GIVEAWAY', this will not be painted as an investment in the future of America, it will be about socialist giveaways that will burden generations of Americans with debt. The amusing thing is, if you did nothing, let the roads crumble and bridges fall, let the water poison American children, do you think that would provide a cheap alternative? It's a nonsense argument and the GOP knows it. However, it's a narrative they have been very good at selling in the past and rest assured, it's coming to a media and social media outlet near you very soon. Let's face it, any political party that can convince you to kill your family members with COVID, is not going to have a problem selling you this fairytale.
So what's the answer? The answer is not personal attack ads. Whilst entertaining, they are politically ineffective when coming from Dems. The attack angle MUST be about NO POLICY and the fact that Republicans have not cast a single vote to help American families. Obstruction, desertion and dereliction of duty are the attack angles. You are never going to reach cult members, they are a lost demographic, so concentrate on independent voters that might just listen to reason. Every day from now to the mid term elections, it MUST be a commentary about investment by Dems in the future of America. At the same time, it's important to emphasise the GOP are obstructing the delivery of this critical investment designed to improve the lives of the many and not the few.
There is literally no time to waste, because voters need to feel the difference the policies are delivering, BEFORE they cast their vote in 2022. If progressives want a more progressive agenda, then they need to win more seats with progressive candidates. The only way to avoid slipping into an authoritarian state, is to win more seats. Traditionally, that is big challenge for the sitting administration, so the road ahead is bumpy to say the least.
I've heard the debate about how effective social media is. Anybody who thinks it is not crucial, needs to just look back at 2016 and how Trump used it to infect largely uneducated white people and give racists permission to come out and play. It was hugely influential. I made the point on Twitter yesterday, the term 'resister' has for some, become more a fashion statement than a chance to participate in a movement for change. It's become a follower harvesting tool that actually distorts the number of real activists in the community. Don't get me wrong, Im not saying every user labelling themselves a resister, has to be a political revolutionary. However, the power of Twitter comes from its ability to create a collective voice to promote a message that supports the Biden agenda.
By definition, the Democrats are a big tent party and that is to be celebrated, but it brings with it a sense of indiscipline when it comes to messaging. My primary pet hate is for example 'Defund the police'. If you give the GOP messaging monster a soundbite like this, it is manner from heaven. Before you know where you are, they are using it to bash you with every hour of every day. They'll create T-shirts, hats, bumper stickers posters and billboards, to paint Dems as encouraging crime. Then they will tie it nicely to Black Lives Matter. Suddenly, it becomes a policy to remove the police so black people can rampage through the streets raping and pillaging as they go. A great messaging campaign relies on message discipline and the GOP are prime exponents.
So my message to every Democrat supporter on social media is, forget tribal loyalty to individual policy elements. Come together around a cohesive policy message that sells hope and a chance to deliver a better tomorrow. It really is an easy message to sell, providing everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet. It's about a phrase I have long been wedded to 'Collective voice'. It's not twee to say 'We are stronger together'. It's a simple fact. The Republican argument is easy to dismantle because there is NO ARGUMENT.
In the coming weeks, I hope to provide some good examples of the message that needs to be delivered, so I can give you a feel for where I think it should go. It then becomes all about reach and getting that message to as many voters as possible. This is where the resister community has an opportunity to come together for the better good, to sell the vision. I know this can be done, but to make it happen, it has to become about the cause and not the number of followers one can gain. It's about the mission being bigger than any individual and I have faith that given the impending shift to an authoritarian state, it's a small price to pay for freedom.
Well that concludes my offerings for this week. Thank you so much to those that have taken time out to read my musings. My next offering will be on Monday as weekends are video production days. I look forward to meeting up again on Monday to continue our chat. Thanks for stopping by and stay safe out there.