“Our viability as a national political party is on the line.”


Brian Stryker, a partner at Impact Research, writes in the New York Times that the Democratic Party is losing its most important and historically loyal base: working-class Americans. “Many are abandoning the party for the Republicans because they think Democrats are not committed enough to fighting for their livelihood and way of life,” he says. Given the public’s anxieties about inflation and the economy in general, “this concern might be even more important now.”

Stryker’s hands-on experience with successful Midwest candidates has shown him how this critical voting bloc can be won over, however. “I have seen Democrats win over swing voters with a powerful call to bring jobs back to America and invest in domestic manufacturing. Tim Ryan talks about his 30-year fight to get tough on Chinese trade practices and has voters say ‘I’m a Republican, but can I vote for Tim Ryan now?’ Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan received praise for expanding a semiconductor plant near Bay City to help the auto industry. It helps explain why in 2018 she won back six counties that voted for Mr. Trump but had voted for Mr. Obama.”

Brian has a four-step recipe for success.

1) Talk about the work we’ve done to rebuild America. “There are no easy answers to inflation, but voters want to hear that Democrats see it as the big problem that it is. And voters everywhere want to bring supply chains home, if possible, so Americans can build things in states all over the country.”

2) Continue to push legislation that helps the working class—and point out the difference it will make in their lives. “We should immediately pass some version of the China competitiveness bill that brings critical supply lines like semiconductor production back to America, invests in American manufacturing, takes on China’s intellectual-property theft and illegal subsidies, and expands worker training.”

3) Draw a contrast between Democrats and Republicans. “Democrats took Mitt Romney down for his outsourcing at Bain Capital and held John McCain to account in Michigan for his cheerleading of job-killing trade deals. We should bring this tactic back to the forefront of Democratic campaigns.”

4) Draw inspiration from the party’s roots. “It wasn’t so long ago (2005) that Mr. Obama explained his vote against George W. Bush’s Central American Free Trade Agreement by pointing out that trade agreements too often have been ‘about making life easier for the winners of globalization, while we do nothing as life gets harder for American workers.'”

The road ahead won’t be easy, but “if we respond to [working-class] voter frustrations, especially on pocketbook issues, and if we fully commit to those issues in government and in campaigns, we can start to find our way back with them.”