While Republicans are likely to become less intransigent on immigration, Democrats need to push for comprehensive immigration reform to ensure that, true to our history, we continue to be the party of opportunity and inclusion. Democrats in Congress should follow Chicago’s lead and develop a national “Citizenship Initiative” to provide the 8.5 million people eligible to become citizens with the information and resources they need to achieve the American dream.
Chicago’s initiatives come straight out of the playbook Barack Obama put forward in his campaign four years ago and has advocated since Day One of his presidency. But there are some issues that only Washington can tackle. Democrats at the national level must execute on the president’s agenda on energy and tax reform to ensure the future of not only our party but also the middle class.
By embracing the president’s “all of the above” strategy, Democrats can own the policies that will begin to make the United States energy-independent in the next four years, a goal that has eluded the past eight presidents.
While reforming tax policy is not the panacea that some believe, the experience of our party shows that pro-growth, pro-middle-class reforms can jump-start economic prosperity. When Democrats led on these policies during President Bill Clinton’s first term, we strengthened the earned-income tax credit. We balanced the budget in the second term, cutting spending while lowering taxes for working families, to lay the groundwork for a decade of prosperity. In President Obama’s second term, we have an opportunity to do the same and narrow the nation’s income gap.
If Democrats develop innovative policies that help Americans compete in a global economy, we will outperform Republicans on Election Day. It’s that simple.
We cannot allow Beltway chatter to hijack what the president accomplished in this election or to demean its value. We must never lose sight of the fact that while our victory in 2012 was aided by demographic advantages and sophisticated campaigning, our party’s ideas are what sealed the deal with middle-class voters.