Kasich: Democrats are more energized in 2018

In an interview with Jake Tapper, Ohio Governor John Kasich discusses how Republicans will fare in 2018, and whether Democrats can take back the House and Senate

Posted: Apr 30, 2018 1:38 PM
Updated: Apr 30, 2018 1:40 PM

Entering 2017, and the dawn of the Trump era, the prevailing hit on suddenly powerless Democrats was that they had no message and, worse, no ideas. When it came to political combat, the party had been schooled by the President-elect, who understood that millions of Americans were hungry for some sort of populist revival.

Parts of this analysis pop up in the ongoing and often tedious debate over whether Sen. Bernie Sanders, handily defeated by Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries, would have been better positioned to beat Trump in the general election. One of the better arguments in Sanders' favor -- though no sure shot -- contends that voters who wanted to cast a ballot for a populist candidate in 2016 would have broken, if just barely, for the progressive brand if given the choice that November.

The score-settling Twitter skirmishes that litigate these points, every hour of every day, might be tiresome, but the underlying questions -- and answers -- are still relevant. What's become increasingly clear over the past year is that the Democratic Party of 2018 has broken cleanly in Sanders' direction. What that means for Sanders' aspirations is unclear. Pundits often err in conflating the message with the messenger, the politician with his politics. That Sanders' ideas are taking hold assures him, personally, of very little.

Still, it hardly requires a Capitol Hill press badge, or regular contact with party poobahs, to see where Democrats are headed -- and how they are setting up to govern if they can regain control of Congress and the White House.

In less than a year, beginning around when Republican efforts to tear down Obamacare and scale back Medicaid were ramping up, members of the Senate Democratic caucus have crafted no fewer than five pieces of legislation that would expand Medicare to cover more -- or all -- Americans. A new bill this week from New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker would create a pilot program for a federal jobs guarantee. Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkley, Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand are all cosponsors. Sanders' more comprehensive version is on the way. Gillibrand also introduced legislation this week that would require the US post office to offer bank services, effectively creating a public option for personal banking. The list goes on.

To varying degrees, these bills have one crucial thing in common: they take steps toward removing private industry -- and with it, profit motives -- from critical aspects of public life. Unlike Obamacare, which required Americans to obtain health coverage, offered subsidies or increased access to Medicaid to those who couldn't afford it, the new crop of Democratic policy pitches largely remove the middle man. Implicit is the argument that government should protect citizens from destitution, but that it should take an affirmative role in seeking to improve their lives.

This marks a return, in large part, to the Democrats' "New Deal" ethos. It's not a coincidence progressives have been citing President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "Second Bill of Rights" in some recent messaging. Nor that the party named its official policy slate, introduced last summer, the "Better Deal." Though snarked upon by some at the time, and largely drowned out initially by, of all things, the unusual public exhibition of Jared Kushner's voice, it represented yet another sign of the Democratic establishment's shifting ideological moorings.

As Duke public policy professor William Darity Jr. told CNN recently, during a conversation about the growing support among Senate Democrats for the jobs guarantee policy he's helped craft and push for years, the party's decades-old habit of "self-censoring themselves before they put forth legislation to be considered" seems to be diminishing.

Still, there remains considerable worry within liberal circles about the prospect of ceding too much influence to the progressive left. The behind-the-scenes jockeying to clear contested midterm primary fields is one contentious battleground. Others will pop up when -- and if -- Democrats actually win a congressional majority this fall. While the House is very clearly in touching distance, the Senate will be a much tougher nut to crack. How Democratic officials would interpret their mandate, should their resistance be so empowered, is an open question.

Being shut out of power so completely, as the Democrats are now, can be liberating. It's in the party's DNA to regard the responsibility of governing as a most serious task, and certainly not one to be trifled with by a person or organization adjudged to be insufficiently savvy or pragmatic.

The opening of the floodgates for these bold new progressive bills has been, at least in part, a result of the freedom created by Trump and the GOP's grip on Congress. For all the work and advocacy that's gone into the new-look Democratic legislation, the documents remain -- for now -- little more than glorified press releases.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 51079

Reported Deaths: 2756
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion12019693
Lake5588248
Elkhart353959
Allen2939134
St. Joseph210669
Hamilton1691101
Cass16449
Hendricks1454100
Johnson1340118
Porter82638
Tippecanoe7709
Vanderburgh7276
Clark69544
Madison67464
LaPorte61628
Howard59858
Bartholomew59745
Kosciusko5754
Marshall5449
Noble51328
LaGrange4849
Boone48244
Jackson4783
Delaware47152
Hancock46736
Shelby45425
Floyd40644
Morgan34231
Monroe34028
Grant31826
Dubois3046
Henry30018
Montgomery29720
Clinton2903
White27410
Dearborn25823
Decatur25632
Lawrence25225
Vigo2528
Warrick25029
Harrison21722
Greene19432
Miami1932
Jennings17912
Putnam1738
DeKalb1694
Scott1649
Wayne1546
Daviess15017
Perry14710
Orange13723
Steuben1362
Jasper1352
Ripley1307
Franklin1278
Gibson1202
Wabash1162
Carroll1142
Fayette1067
Whitley1066
Starke1043
Newton10010
Huntington942
Jefferson862
Wells821
Randolph794
Fulton731
Knox710
Jay700
Washington681
Pulaski661
Clay645
Rush613
Posey570
Spencer541
Owen521
Benton510
Sullivan501
Adams491
Brown431
Blackford402
Fountain352
Crawford330
Switzerland320
Tipton321
Parke270
Martin260
Ohio230
Vermillion200
Warren151
Union140
Pike110
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 64214

Reported Deaths: 3036
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin11724445
Cuyahoga8979393
Hamilton6781207
Lucas2952305
Marion274539
Montgomery244035
Summit2327209
Pickaway222241
Mahoning1928239
Butler182147
Columbiana137860
Stark1214114
Lorain112069
Trumbull104578
Warren97725
Clark80010
Delaware69815
Fairfield66717
Tuscarawas60410
Lake58923
Medina58232
Belmont56922
Licking56812
Miami50631
Portage49259
Wood48851
Clermont4737
Ashtabula44744
Geauga42543
Wayne37253
Richland3715
Allen35641
Greene3439
Mercer29910
Erie27122
Holmes2595
Darke25626
Huron2402
Madison2169
Ottawa17324
Sandusky16015
Washington14620
Ross1443
Coshocton1423
Athens1391
Crawford1385
Putnam13715
Hardin12312
Morrow1201
Auglaize1094
Jefferson1092
Muskingum1001
Union931
Preble901
Monroe8917
Hancock861
Lawrence830
Guernsey823
Clinton811
Hocking809
Williams762
Shelby744
Logan711
Ashland672
Carroll673
Fulton670
Scioto670
Wyandot635
Brown611
Fayette550
Defiance533
Knox531
Champaign511
Highland501
Van Wert471
Perry441
Seneca412
Henry330
Paulding300
Jackson280
Pike280
Adams261
Vinton232
Gallia201
Noble140
Harrison131
Meigs130
Morgan110
Unassigned00
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