Why the Democratic Party’s Future Depends on Finding a Moral Argument
No Democratic president has won in recent decades on a platform of economic populism. But with the rhetoric of the 99 percent still in the air, and a proposal for a ‘Fair Share Tax’ at the center of his current platform, it seems President Obama might be attempting to do just that.
Whether Barack Obama should run a populist campaign or not hinges on two questions. The first is fairly obvious: Can he win that way? But there’s a more important question that should decide Obama’s rhetorical approach, one that looks beyond just November: What kind of party do the Democrats want to be?
There are both potential risks and rewards if the president decides to spend the next six months portraying Mitt Romney as a wealthy, job-destroying investment banker who has never had to worry about paying for tuition, finding a job, or whether he can afford to buy his wife another Cadillac or vacation home. On the one hand, this strategy would probably motivate the blacks, Latinos, union members, and young voters of all races who turned out in huge numbers four years ago. Frustrated by the sluggish economy and disappointed by the gap between what Obama promised and was able to deliver, they need a reason to get excited, again.