In the wake of Donald Trump's election, and amid the wilderness of uncertainty surrounding the presidential race in 2020, one thing is for sure: Democrats need to change the way they talk about the economy. Trump made sweeping promises about jobs that he almost certainly will not keep. “We're gonna put our people back to work,” he told his supporters. “I'm going to create jobs, great jobs,” he vowed. “If you get laid off on Tuesday, I still want your vote. I'll get you a new job, don't worry about it.”
Such vague and misleading assurances are almost impossible to combat—especially if Democrats stick to their normal, ineffectual script. Hillary Clinton promised a “new bargain for the new economy”—but she never actually pledged to give Americans what they need in this one. She vowed to provide tax relief to small businesses and invest in infrastructure, but she left it to voters to figure out how something as distant and programmatic as cutting taxes or building a bridge would get them a better paycheck.