Why does the income level keep dropping for what the administration thinks is rich?
Seriously? 200k is now rich? Yes, it is a lot more than millions and millions make. But really? 200K is now rich and they need to pay even more in taxes?
Dems call for fresh message, warn of 'impossible headwind'
President Barack Obama and his party may face an “impossible headwind in November” unless it shifts to a more forward-looking economic message aimed squarely at the middle class, three Democratic strategists warn in a memo out this week.
Pollsters Stan Greenberg and Erica Seifert, of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, and Democratic strategist James Carville write in a research document for Democracy Corps that their party’s current frame for the 2012 race is not effective. Based on focus groups in Ohio and Pennsylvania, the strategists argue that voters are simply not convinced that the economy is on the move and it’s a mistake to try and tell them otherwise.
“These voters are not convinced that we are headed in the right direction. They are living in a new economy – and there is no conceivable recovery in the year ahead that will change the view of the new state of the country. They actually have a very realistic view of the long road back and the struggles of the middle class — and the current narrative about progress just misses the opportunity to connect and point forward,” they write. “While we hear some optimism, this is framed mostly by the sense that this has to be rock bottom.”
Obama manages to keep the race competitive because Mitt Romney is so distrusted by voters, the strategists contend. But if Obama is going to gain traction in the campaign, they continue, he needs to deploy a message “with minimal discussion of the recovery and jobs created and maximal empathy for the challenges people face.”
“Most voters identified with the line that ‘the middle class has taken it on the chin for years.’ The message turns mid-way to what we will do, beginning with raising taxes on those earning over $200,000 to make the economy work better for the middle class,” the memo continues. “It taps into their frustrations that began building before the recession even hit and recognizes that this election needs to be about the ‘future of the middle class.’”
The notion that Democrats need a clearer agenda for the future and a more sharply defined sales pitch for the middle class is not a new one; Greenberg in particular has argued for years that his party does best when it embraces more progressive rhetoric about fairness and the economy.
But the central idea in the Democracy Corps memo – that a 2012 argument based on telling voters that things are getting better – is one that a range of Democrats find persuasive, especially as the Obama campaign faces the prospect of weak monthly unemployment reports throughout the summer. The message proposed by the Democracy Corps strategists isn’t the only possible solution, but it’s one option for a party in search of a clearer strategy.