In messaging shift, Democrats are now the ones promising to 'drain the swamp'

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Democrats are now employing a familiar rallying cry that helped define President Trump's presidential campaign, a combative messaging shift ahead of what analysts say will be a bruising midterm election season.

Expect to hear Democrats urging voters to "drain the swamp" this time around, observers say, because their internal polling has shown that the electorate is increasingly concerned about weeding out corruption in Washington a year and a half after Trump's win.

"President Trump has embraced the most egregious establishment Republican norms and appointed the most conflict-of-interest-ridden Cabinet in my lifetime,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, told reporters Monday.

He added: “The swamp has never been more foul, or more fetid, than under this president.”

The move is a shift for Democrats, who last summer emphasized their positive plans to improve the economy, instead of taking shots at Trump and supposed cronyism in the White House, The Hill reported.


Last year's "Better Deal" program is out, replaced by a new "Better Deal for Our Democracy" slogan that's meant to emphasize the party's pledge to reduce the influence of lobbyists and implement stricter campaign finance laws.

And Democrats are widely expected to focus not just on the ongoing probe into key members of President Trump's campaign staff, but also on the alleged misdeeds of top administration officials, including EPA chief Scott Pruit, former HHS secretary Tom Price, and HUD head Ben Carson.

“Instead of delivering on his promise to ‘drain the swamp,’ President Trump has become the swamp,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, said Monday. “We want Republicans and their corrupt, big donor-driven agenda to get out of the way. It has given the American people a raw deal.”

"President Trump has become the swamp."

— House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi


The new messaging is something of a return to form for Pelosi, who famously vowed in 2006 to "drain the swamp" just prior to becoming the first female speaker of the House in history. The midterm elections that year ended more than a decade of GOP control of the House.

Democrats aren't the only ones accusing President Trump of abandoning his campaign pledge. Earlier this month, Fox News' Neil Cavuto acknowledged that some media coverage of the White House has been unfair, but excoriated Trump for contributing to the problem.

“Let me be clear, Mr. President,” Cavuto said. “How can you drain the swamp if you’re the one who keeps muddying the waters?

"You didn’t know about the $130,000 payment to a porn star, until you did,” he added. “Said you knew nothing about how your former lawyer handled this, until you acknowledged today that you were the guy behind the retainer payment that took care of this. You insist that money from the campaign or campaign contributions played no role in this transaction. Of that you’re sure. The thing is, not even 24 hours ago, sir, you couldn’t recall any of this.”