Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) will outline on Thursday a new plan that he says will undermine the conservative wing of the Republican Party by driving a wedge between its wealthy donors and the rank-and-file members of the "Tea Party."
Schumer, one of the Senate Democratic caucus' top political strategists, will discuss the plan in a speech at the left-leaning Center for American Progress on Thursday. He will argue that the Tea Party has a " fundamental flaw," and that Democrats can exploit it, according to a preview of his speech.
Schumer will say that uber-wealthy conservative donors have used the grassroots anger born out of the 2008 financial collapse and the election of President Barack Obama to serve their interests. And he'll say that the interests of the average grassroots Tea Party member and the donors are fundamentally different.
"However there is a glaring weakness — one very weak link in the Tea Party’s armor — which is an inherent contradiction within the Tea Party that I believe can be exposed to greatly weaken their hold on the policy debate," Schumer will say, according to prepared excerpts of his speech provided to Business Insider by a Senate aide.
"The fundamental weakness in the Tea Party machine is the stark difference between what the leaders of the Tea Party elite, plutocrats like the Koch Brothers want and what the average grassroots Tea Party follower wants."
Schumer will propose a few steps for Democrats:
- Schumer will argue that too often, Democrats have allowed the conservative wing of the Republican Party to make government the "bogeyman." "We must state loudly and repeatedly that we believe government is often a necessary force for good," Schumer will say.
- He will say that Democrats should hammer home his first point of emphasis in 2014 by focusing on specific examples of government aid that benefits the average American family. Medicare, government-built highways and water and sewer lines, and government support for education are some examples he'll cite in his speech.
- Schumer plans to hammer the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, the case that allowed unlimited corporate and special-interest group spending to influence elections. Schumer will say that Democrats need to "address the damage" done by the decision, though both parties benefitted from so-called "Super PACs" in the 2012 election.
- Schumer will propose electoral reform in the form of two-party primaries across the nation. California, Washington state, and Louisiana currently have this type of primary. Schumer will say that type of system would filter out "hard-right" candidates and help advance moderate Republicans. "The way to lessen the grip of the tea party on the electoral process would be to do what a handful have done and have a primary where all voters, members of every party, can vote and the top two vote-getters then enter a runoff," Schumer will say.
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