Democrats have helped working class americans. You need to speak up like this.

EDITOR'S NOTE:&nbspeach week we publish an excerpt from katrina vanden heuvel's column on washingtonpost.Com. Read the full archive of katrina's post columns here.

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As of last week, americans can now walk into a pharmacy and buy hearing aids without a prescription. This astonishing development is just one of many benefits democrats have bestowed on the american working class over the past two years – and one they should be loudly reminding us of in the final weeks before the midterm elections.

Experts have called over-the-counter hearing aids a "game changer" for public health. About 30 million americans older than 12 have hearing loss, a condition that can lead to increased risk of accidents, depression and dementia. Hearing aids can reduce such risks, but given the average cost of ownership of 4.000 US dollars per pair, most americans with hearing loss have never worn them. Thanks to a recent change in FDA rules made possible by an executive order signed by president biden last year, lower prices and greater market competition will make more options available to millions of people.

With this move, the biden administration has found a strategy for successful policy: to pursue practical policies that tangibly benefit the american working class. The government started sending stimulus checks in the amount of 1.400 U.S. Dollars – money it is still working to reach eligible families – and has lightened the burden of medical debt, forgiven student loans and pardoned people with federal convictions for simple marijuana possession.

But these serious (and popular!) working-class victories haven't necessarily improved democrats' electoral chances. On the campaign trail, democrats failed to deliver a clear message about what they have done while in office to improve americans' quality of life. Instead, they are playing problems beyond their control – gasoline prices, inflation, crime – which leads candidates to look for scapegoats for what is going wrong instead of affirming what is going right. And if the old adage is true that people vote their wallets, voters won't accept excuses; they want results.

But democrats have strengthened the bank accounts of the people. It just won't do them any good if they don't remind people where this windfall came from – and if they don't get these benefits. A recent report from data for progress suggested that the child tax credit led to a surge in support for democrats among parents who received it – but that bump evaporated once the program expired. Research has also found that although wages are rising and unemployment is falling, voters perceive that the economy is bad. A majority of americans believe we are in a recession, even though we are not. And if people don't realize the government is helping them, anti-government conservatives will benefit.

For their part, republicans are more than willing to acknowledge the few instances in which they have supported direct assistance. In an unprecedented move, donald trump pushed to have his name printed on the stimulus checks sent out at the start of the pandemic. "I'm sure people will be very happy to get a big, fat, beautiful check with my name on it," he wisely remarked. Republicans don't let details keep them from appreciating a policy – including whether they supported it. During this election cycle, GOP senators and representatives alike have bragged to their constituents about infrastructure projects they voted against.

Democrats should be just as aggressive in touting the direct rebates, credits and services they have received for working people. And they can start by reminding voters how far their policies reach. Take away over-the-counter hearing aids. Hearing loss affects nearly two-thirds of people over age 70. Even if someone doesn't have hearing loss now, they might later in life. That means, in effect, that this is a universally beneficial policy – just like medicare and social security, which can benefit anyone who lives to a ripe old age. Democrats should constantly remind voters how they and the people they love will benefit from progressive policies.

And once they've reminded voters what they've done, democrats should see a preview of what they can deliver in the future. A smart memo to democrats in the american prospect suggested that candidates can directly address voters' concerns about inflation by promising to crack down on corporate price gouging, reinstate the child tax credit and cut more drug prices – the latter being particularly popular. And why it shouldn't be? A study released last week found that more than 1 million american adults are rationing insulin because of the cost – costs that could have been dramatically reduced if republicans hadn't blocked comprehensive price relief in the inflation reduction act. Meanwhile, georgia GOP senate candidate herschel walker suggested in a recent debate that people with diabetes should just "eat right".

As the midterm vote begins, democrats are right to warn of the threats republicans pose on such wide-ranging issues as abortion, climate and democracy. But they should not refrain from zooming in on practical gains they have already secured. Democrats have made it easier for people to pay bills, take care of their kids, and literally listen. For this they need to turn up the volume.