Democrats’ 2014 Class Warfare Strategy

Beginning today the Democrats in Washington, DC are going all in on class warfare in hopes of retaining control of the Senate. Chris Stirewalt laid out their strategy:

DEMS STAKE 2104 SURVIVAL ON CLASS STRIFE – ObamaCare is going to cost Democrats dearly in this year’s midterm elections. And if early warnings about higher costs, less access to care and disrupted coverage for the 85 percent of Americans who were covered before the law prove true, there may be little anyone can do to avoid another landslide defeat for the blue team. But while Republicans are readying themselves for majority status, Democrats know that the only number that matters is five. If Democrats can limit Republican gains in the Senate to five or less, nothing changes in Washington. So while the GOP is thinking big, Democrats are thinking small, small, small. While Republicans are hoping to ride a national tide, Democrats are hoping to just protect half of the 10 most vulnerable seats on their side of the aisle. Their strategy: to focus on an issue that has animated the activist base of the party for generations: The gap between rich and poor. It may not be nearly as important as ObamaCare, but President Obama and Harry Reid don’t need it to be. They just need to squeeze out enough base voters to preserve a Senate majority.

….

Combo platter: Welfare and wages - Republicans who dismiss this thinking will do so at their own peril. Senate majority leader Harry Reid will start the barrage on Monday with a call to restore federal benefits to those who have exhausted their state unemployment insurance. And soon thereafter, expect a strong push on raising the federal minimum wage, a popular policy offering. Republicans decried “class warfare” in 2012, but ended up getting clobbered anyway. The midterm electorate will be different, but just a few races on the bubble could change the arc of history this year. Reid will not be shy about discovering his inner Bill de Blasio. And for Obama, who has made income redistribution the chief aim of his presidency, this is exactly where he wants to be. The Democratic dream scenario: House Republicans split on welfare and wage issues amid the added pressures of the debt-limit fight set to begin one month hence. Even if Democrats can’t squeeze out a government shutdown, they can get weeks of talking points, especially from an establishment press that is quite keen on the subject.

Read the whole thing. Stirewalt also points out that the strategy worked for Obama in 2012, and the Democrats are hoping it will work for them in 2014. We’ve learned that American voters are willing to fall for just about anything so this plan could pay off for them. And there’s a lot at stake, as Mark Thiessen notes in his latest WaPo column.

Reid sowed the seeds of his own destruction by changing the calculus in the 2014 midterm elections. Before Reid went nuclear, tea party challengers and their supporters (this columnist included) could correctly argue that winning the majority really did not matter. Since the GOP needed 60 votes to overcome a Democratic filibuster — something that was clearly out of reach — why not gamble and challenge the establishment? The GOP had gone astray when it came to fiscal responsibility, and a Republican reformation was more important than a Republican restoration. To paraphrase former senator Jim DeMint, better to elect 30 true conservatives than compromise for a powerless moderate majority.

That rationale disappeared when Reid invoked the nuclear option. Now winning the majority really does matter.

While Reid’s nuclear strike was limited to executive-branch nominees and judges below the Supreme Court level, it set the precedent that the majority could change Senate rules when it suited them. If Republicans win control of the Senate this fall, there is nothing to stop them from invoking Reid’s example. And if Republicans win the presidency in 2016, the nuclear option could have far-reaching consequences. (Read More)

That’s not to say that conservatives shouldn’t challenge some of the worst RINOs in the Senate, only that we should pick our battles and our candidates carefully.