Campaign Messaging Post Barr Letter

March 26, 2019

What was true last week is true this week. A newly elected Democratic majority has a constitutional duty to conduct responsible oversight of the Executive Branch and the single most important thing we can do to beat Donald Trump in 2020 is to focus on health care and the ways that Trump has hurt American families economically by enacting policies that are meant to help corporations and the wealthy. These two things were true before the Mueller investigation and they are true today.

The Mueller investigation has concluded with 37 indictments and six Trump advisers sentenced to prison, pleading guilty or facing indictment.  Democrats in Congress should continue to do their constitutional duty by conducting oversight of the Executive Branch and demand the full Mueller report. This has national security implications and will shape the future of our nation.  

Republicans are trying to push a narrative that Democrats risk backlash with voters if they continue to investigate the President. That is a ridiculous attempt to avoid examination of an administration riddled with corruption and scandal.  It is Republicans who are at risk, because their posture is to protect the President’s political interests rather than to protect the people’s interests.  Republicans lost in 2018 in part because of their total failure to provide any checks and balances on Trump, and they continue to be transparent in their determination not to hold Trump accountable for anything – no matter what.  Additionally, it is likely that findings of those investigations will continue to damage Trump politically as more revelations emerge and Republican opposition to oversight will look progressively worse.

While Congress should continue to do its job, Priorities USA will continue to do what we’ve done for the past two years and focus the bulk of our paid communications on the damaging economic impact that Donald Trump and his administration are having on American communities and families. It is of critical importance that voters hear these arguments and there is no chance that will happen if Democrats and their progressive allies are not carrying the message in paid and earned communications directed to the key voters who will decide the election in 2020.  

It is not enough for voters to dislike Donald Trump or think that he is unfit to be President of the United States.  That was achieved in 2016. Voters need to know that Trump’s actions and policies are hurting them personally. This was the successful strategy in 2018 and now must be applied to Trump in 2020.

As we have previously noted, our research has found that a majority of voters believe their incomes are not keeping up with their costs of living. The costs of things like health care, education, and housing stand out in particular as economic trouble spots for voters.  Unfortunately, voters do not yet fully blame Trump for this despite already believing that he primarily looks out for the wealthy and big corporations instead of them.  We must continue to show why Trump is to blame for these personal economic struggles.

Our nation is dealing with a monumental challenge in appropriately responding to the findings of the Mueller investigation and the ongoing criminal investigations into Trump and his inner circle. More scandals will emerge and it is possible more crimes will be uncovered. Those deserve and will receive the requisite attention, but if Democrats continue to prosecute the economic case against Trump it will dramatically decrease his chances of serving a second term.

Priorities USA has released a series of memos over the past few years on the importance of focusing on health care and economic messaging:

  • March 13, 2019: Trump Budget Provides Opportunity for Democrats

  • February 22, 2019: New Poll & Messaging Guidance on Trump and Initial 2020 Strategy

  • November 16, 2018: Initial 2020 Polling and Message Guidance

  • August 3, 2018: New Poll & Messaging Guidance: Russia, Immigration and Trade War Sticking to Trump

  • May 29, 2018: New Poll & Messaging Guidance: Voters’ Personal Finances Trump National Economy

  • March 22, 2018: Winning the 2018 Tax Debate

  • February 13, 2018: New Poll & Messaging Guidance: Democrats Must Keep Focus on Economy and Health Care

  • December 18, 2017: Testing of Ads on GOP Tax Plan Reveals Real Danger for Republican Incumbents

  • November 17, 2017: New Priorities USA Poll: Republican Tax Plan Spells Electoral Disaster

  • October 10, 2017: Poll Results on Trump’s Tax Plan

  • September 18, 2017: Priorities USA Economic Research Findings: Persuadable and Democratic Drop-off Voters

  • July 28, 2017: New Priorities USA Poll: Trump’s Plan to Undermine Obamacare is Toxic with Voters