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Opinion | The Road Ahead for the Democrats: Here Are Some Directions


To the Editor:

Re “Party Presses Biden to Hone Midterm Message” (front page, March 13):

It is not just the White House; all Democrats made a mistake after the election. In spite of being warned, the Democratic Party went too far left too fast. The country was not ready for such a radical course correction and rebelled. The Democrats are now going to get spanked in the midterm elections.

The crisis of the Ukrainian war has shown the leadership qualities of President Biden. Before that the Republicans had successfully pushed a narrative that President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were in over their heads. That is no longer the case.

For the rest of Mr. Biden’s term the Democrats are going to have to chart a middle-of-the-road course. They will have to prove they can govern and therefore deserve another term.

Near the end of that year, it was much sadder: “Dec. 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy.”

F.D.R.’s outstanding speech-writing team included Harry L. Hopkins, Samuel I. Rosenman, Adolf A. Berle Jr., Benjamin V. Cohen and the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Sherwood, all masters of the power and emotional resonances of words.

Opinion Debate
Will the Democrats face a midterm wipeout?

My advice to President Biden: Ask playwrights and writers like Lin-Manuel Miranda, Aaron Sorkin, James Patterson, Sarah Ruhl and others if they have some ideas for Democratic messaging.

Susan Dunn
Williamstown, Mass.
The writer, a professor of humanities at Williams College, is the author of “1940: F.D.R., Willkie, Lindbergh, Hitler: The Election Amid the Storm.”

To the Editor:

When the Democrats’ policies fail to generate popular support, they inevitably chalk it up to “poor messaging.” The problem, however, is not that they lack a “pithy,” “bumper sticker worthy” marketing message for their programs.

The problem is what they are trying to sell: excessive regulation that drives up prices and discourages innovation; social welfare policies that largely benefit the wealthy and harm those they are supposed to help; and crony-capitalist subsidies for politically favored constituencies.

If Democrats think a new slogan is needed, they could do worse than President Clinton’s declaration in his 1996 State of the Union address: “The era of big government is over.”

Kenneth A. Margolis
Chappaqua, N.Y.

To the Editor:

So the Democrats are on the hunt for a catchy bumper-sticker slogan to replace “Build Back Better” and bring them success in the midterms.

Here are 10 slogans that capture the current climate within the party that they are free to use:

Build Back Something

Back Better Bills

Democrats: Full of Ideas!

It Could Be Worse

Midafternoon in America

Anti-Coup and Pro-You!

Moderate Progress!

Infighting for America’s Future

Stagnation You Can Believe In

Democrats 2022: Let’s Try Again

Will Brennan
Girdwood, Alaska

To the Editor:

An inquiry from a Holocaust survivor:

Is there a “red line” to stop the genocide in Ukraine? Is it the actual use of weapons of mass destruction? Is it the shock and horror of chemical weapons? Is it close-ups of corpses in mass graves?

This genocide is inescapably right in front of the eyes of the world every day. No one will be able to say later, “But we didn’t know.”

The lesson of the history of the last century is that mankind does have the responsibility to stop Vladimir Putin and his willing executioners from annihilating Ukrainians and to fight fire with fire and not just words.

No — the world does not need another Holocaust museum; it needs to rescue Ukrainians now.

Fred Kranz
Potomac, Md.

To the Editor:

Thank you, Jessica Grose. I share your exasperation, if that is indeed what you feel; it should not be news that “There’s More Than One Right Way to Raise Kids” (Opinion, March 11).

Why are we still looking for one right way, for heaven’s sake, when children are different, parents are different, situations are different? Days — sometimes even moments — are different, one from the next.

Perhaps what parents need, more than guidance, is encouragement, and that we can give each other.

Eve Sullivan
Cambridge, Mass.
The writer is the founder of Parents Forum, a nonprofit that provides workshops on parenting and emotional awareness.



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