Third Way study warns Democrats: Avoid far-left populism

Voters in the focus groups repeatedly insisted that Trump was focused on jobs after his talk about securing more, better jobs for Americans on the campaign trail, write authors Lanae Erickson Hatalsky, Third Way’s vice president for social policy and politics, and Ryan Pougiales, the group’s senior political analyst. “Almost without fail, focus group participants in both groups identified the issue as Trump’s top priority. There’s a lesson in this for Democrats,” the report states.

To remedy that situation and the related belief that Democrats work for “somebody else,” the report recommends that party officials avoid proposals that can be branded as “handouts,” in addition to staying away from attacking businesses.

“Rallying around proposals like free college or universal basic income just exacerbate this resentment,” the authors warn, referring to the education policy pitch at the center of Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign. “Effective policy solutions to bolster economic security are vital, but they must begin with job creation and be tethered to the values of hard work and earning your way that underscore America’s economic compact.”