Knowing they need a positive agenda, Democrats have spent months preparing to offer more than blind resistance to virtually everything President Trump does or says. After countless focus groups and consultations with all of the party’s ideological grouplets, party leaders unveiled a new slogan Monday they hoped would rival Trump’s famous “Make America Great Again.”
The new Democratic slogan is significantly less great and more wordy: “A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future.” And in a bit of terrible timing, top Democrats announced their new slogan just as cable news networks were giving live coverage to presidential son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, who spoke at the White House to deny improper actions involving Russia.
Like a faulty rocket, the Democratic slogan never got very far and quickly fell to Earth.
Vox congressional reporter Jeff Stein notes that a Democratic member of Congress told him the slogan was “the result of months of polling and internal deliberations among the House Democratic caucus." But if that’s true, you’d think they would have figured out the new slogan is strangely similar to the current pitch for Papa John’s Pizza: "Better Ingredients. Better Pizza. Papa John's."
Democrats who are veterans of Barack Obama’s two successful presidential races were quick to heap scorn on what one called “the rhetorical equivalent of a soggy, tasteless slab or pizza dough.”
“If your slogan uses a colon or a comma, back to the drawing board,” tweeted Jon Favreau, the former head of speechwriting for President Obama.
“Fire every consultant involved,” added Jon Levitt, another former Obama speechwriter.
To make matters worse, within days of unveiling a preliminary version of the slogan, it was learned it had also been lifted in part from a May 24 USA Today op-ed by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who was Hillary Clinton’s running-mate last year and helped take the Democratic Party into an historic and unexpected defeat.
Kaine summarized his message in his USA Today piece as: “Better Skills, Better Jobs, Better Wages,” and called this “a pro-growth economic message that is true to who Democrats are.”
It’s certainly true that even with the stolen slogan, the new Democratic message is an improvement over Hillary Clinton’s vapid 2016 race (where her slogan, “Stronger Together,” was notably weak). The new slogan contains some valuable insights on how to make job training programs more relevant and encourage apprenticeships. But too much of it is a series of warmed-over excuses for higher government spending on dubious programs and pump priming.
The Democratic proposals will lead many independent and moderate voters to conclude the new slogan is trying to sell them on the policy equivalent of a mediocre slab of pizza slathered with 40-year-old ingredients and precious little meat. There’s just not that much of a market for a stale product like that.
Herbert Hoover was elected president in 1928 on a slogan of “A chicken for every pot.” Will the Democrats next try updating that to “A pizza for every plate”?
John Fund is a columnist for National Review. Follow him on Twitter @JohnFund.