What We Do
The Economic Innovation Action Fund (EIAF) is organized as an independent Federal Committee. We are political advocates. We are working to refocus and rebrand the Democratic Party with a clearly articulated policy agenda for economic growth and innovation supported by a compelling message aligned with Democratic values. Our purpose is to persuade Democrats to adopt an economic agenda with a few key policy ideas and winning political messages that work and to help get those messages out to the public.
We are using the policy information and ideas generated by think tanks, business leaders and thought leaders as policy baselines to prioritize, focus and rebrand current Democratic issues into a clear and potent message about a core economic agenda for growth and innovation consistent with progressive values. We value new thinking. We advocate creative answers to critical policy issues such as: The most effective role for government in formulating and implementing economic policy, the importance of public-private partnerships and how best to transition our economy to support and promote new jobs in our market system . We believe that our economy must be growing robustly and creating new jobs for a vibrant middle income sector in order to have the foundation to do what we wish to do for those who need a hand up from government.
Our Messaging Work
What is the Democratic Party brand?
We have lost control of our brand as a Party. The Democratic brand has been defined by its opponents as: “Democrats equal big government.” Our former economic identity built around supporting working people has eroded as the role of labor has evolved dramatically in our economy over the past quarter century. Polling shows that voters, when pressed, still understand the idea that Democrats are focused on how regular people fare in the economy, and they feel that Democrats are more in tune with the needs of middle income Americans; but they can’t identify what Democrats actually stand for except for bigger government. That is the consequence of having the debate defined on the Republicans’ terms: higher taxes vs. lower taxes, bigger government vs. smaller government, and more military vs. less. As top Democratic Pollster Stan Greenberg recently wrote: “… (M)any voters prefer the policies of Democrats to the policies of Republicans. They just don’t trust the Democrats to carry out those promises….”
Over the past ten years, Democrats have won elections, but we have not pursued and won an economic agenda. We are a party of many constituencies and lack a cohesive economic agenda and effective message.
By contrast, The Republican Party has built its brand by pursuing three basic agenda items:
- Foremost by far has been a relentless pursuit of tax cuts, which has helped them to build a brand for their entire ideology almost exclusively around that issue.
- They have also successfully linked the idea of reducing the size of government to their brand both rhetorically and by pursuing high-profile cuts to agencies and programs.
- They have worked to increase the level of military expenditures and have equated higher spending and more aggressive military intervention abroad with strong defense.
Low taxes, smaller government, and strong defense: this is an identity that is clear and concise and that Americans can understand. And as a secondary benefit, it has appealed to big business and made Republicans the (well-funded) party of business interests.
Our challenge is to refocus our brand and change the terms of that debate. To do that, we need to recapture our economic identity in a way that is defined not as the mirror of the Republicans’ positions, but as our own positive agenda for the country that is linked to our own values.
Democrats need a unifying agenda and a positive brand. After the last few years, all Americans feel insecure about our economic future. The Democratic Party has great economic policy ideas, better for middle income Americans than those of the Republicans. But over the past 40 years, Republicans have been far more disciplined about their agenda and message. Now, the Republican stampede to the right creates the opportunity for Democrats to respond with a potent economic agenda and message that shifts the terms of the debate and speaks to the hearts of the American people.Our identity should be built around ideas of economic growth and innovation. We should tell the American people that our ideas are about jobs, increased prosperity, and economic opportunity for all Americans and their families. Our ideas must be linked to our values, including that government has a positive role to play in shaping the future of the country and in building the economy. This will allow us to re-define the debate so that it is not about low taxes and smaller government versus high taxes and big government, but rather about a future with more jobs, prosperity and economic security versus a future of economic insecurity for most and prosperity for a few.
Through personal advocacy by our President, Congressman Paul W. Hodes, we directly engage elected leaders in Washington; House members, United States Senators and the White House. We are meeting with former Members and Senators, national business leaders and entrepreneurs, thought leaders, organizations and policy experts to advocate for consensus and cohesion among those with progressive ideals about the need for a core growth and innovation economic agenda.
We have retained a leading national corporate and organizational message development firm to use cutting-edge techniques for interviewing, developing and testing compelling emotionally resonant messages, something Democrats have sometimes struggled to do. Translating our agenda into compelling message is critical.
Moving forward, we will continue aggressive personal advocacy to policy makers in the Executive and Legislative branches, and will be increasingly adding targeted and broad based communication both online and across media outlets to drive the message about the Democratic economic brand. Our strategy is not “electoral”. It is aimed at the foundation of the Democratic Party. We believe that our successful efforts should translate to long-term sustained electoral success as we achieve positive brand identity for the Party as the party of growth and innovation aligned with progressive values.
Paid for by the Economic Innovation Action Fund, not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.