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Kasich: Democrats are more energized in 2018

Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) discusses how he thinks the Republican party will fare in the 2018 midterms with CNN's Jake Tapper.

Posted: Apr 30, 2018 8:33 PM
Updated: Apr 30, 2018 8:36 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: 48626

Reported Deaths: 2717
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11723689
Lake5212244
Elkhart332051
Allen2815132
St. Joseph198168
Cass16399
Hamilton1596101
Hendricks1414100
Johnson1288117
Porter73637
Tippecanoe7279
Madison66364
Clark66044
Bartholomew58944
Howard58057
LaPorte57926
Vanderburgh5706
Kosciusko5564
Marshall4926
Noble48428
Jackson4723
LaGrange4719
Delaware45050
Boone44943
Hancock44935
Shelby43025
Floyd38244
Morgan32931
Monroe30128
Montgomery29720
Grant29526
Clinton2892
Dubois2836
Henry28016
White26510
Decatur25532
Lawrence24625
Vigo2368
Dearborn23323
Warrick22129
Harrison21622
Greene19032
Miami1842
Jennings17612
Putnam1708
DeKalb1634
Scott1628
Daviess14717
Wayne1426
Orange13523
Perry1359
Steuben1302
Franklin1268
Ripley1227
Jasper1212
Wabash1132
Carroll1102
Fayette1017
Newton9910
Whitley965
Starke933
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Randolph804
Huntington782
Wells751
Jefferson722
Fulton711
Jay680
Washington671
Pulaski661
Knox640
Clay604
Rush583
Adams501
Owen491
Benton480
Sullivan451
Posey440
Spencer411
Blackford392
Brown391
Crawford320
Fountain322
Tipton311
Switzerland270
Martin230
Parke230
Ohio170
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 58904

Reported Deaths: 2970
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin10587431
Cuyahoga8048379
Hamilton6158204
Lucas2788303
Marion273439
Pickaway220141
Summit2175207
Montgomery213431
Mahoning1849238
Butler163747
Columbiana130660
Stark1133113
Lorain105167
Trumbull97473
Warren88124
Clark7729
Delaware58815
Fairfield58516
Tuscarawas56810
Belmont55422
Medina53632
Lake50819
Licking49612
Miami47231
Portage44959
Ashtabula43644
Wood43651
Clermont4226
Geauga40843
Wayne36352
Richland3475
Allen32341
Mercer2879
Greene2769
Darke25326
Erie24622
Holmes2393
Huron2232
Madison1999
Ottawa15024
Sandusky13714
Crawford1365
Washington13520
Ross1303
Putnam12915
Coshocton1272
Hardin12312
Morrow1171
Auglaize1074
Jefferson912
Monroe8917
Union891
Muskingum861
Hancock791
Hocking788
Preble781
Guernsey743
Lawrence720
Williams722
Shelby694
Clinton680
Logan641
Athens631
Fulton620
Ashland601
Carroll593
Wyandot595
Brown581
Knox521
Defiance513
Fayette460
Highland451
Scioto450
Champaign411
Van Wert380
Perry351
Seneca342
Henry300
Paulding260
Adams241
Jackson240
Pike240
Vinton222
Gallia181
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan110
Noble110
Unassigned00
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