In my humble opinion there are two key issues above all else Democrats should focus on; health care, and the hollowing out of the middle class or in a word, wages. Many articles have been written about American health care. Writers compare our system to other countries, talk about our costs being higher then everyone else and complain about unaffordable access. All of that is true.
As regards wages, the American economy is working great for the folks at the top or more specifically those who have gotten great raises and invest heavily in the market. Those who live paycheck to paycheck have not done well at all. The recent tax changes, which in some cases gave workers bonuses by their companies was welcomed, but frankly I doubt a bonus of a thousand dollars was enough to pay off the accumulated credit card debt of most middle class Americans.
Health care, because of Democrat efforts in the 60’s, which created Medicare, is pretty darn good for those over 65 and if folks have purchased a good supplement it is great coverage. As an example, at 74 I have had 6 surgeries since turning 65 each one costing 10,000 to 30,000 and my total out of pocket for all of it is less then 100 dollars. That compares to the average American family spending a little more then 10,000 per year on health care. At a 40,000 household salary that is 25% of a families income. The divider here is not between the middle class and billionaires, but between those over 65 and those under. In both instances, wages and health care are important life changing policies which could be implemented if the Democrats gain control of the Congress and state legislatures. I consider myself a moderate Democrat, but Medicare expansion for all seems to me to not be a liberal/conservative issue as much as it is a moral issue that this democracy needs to address.
On the wage issue a liberal case AND a conservative case can be made. Raising the national minimum wage to 15 dollars per hour would not harm small businesses; it would be absorbed into the larger economy and also make it easier for folks at the bottom and the middle to buy the products they work to produce and sell. Low wage folks don’t save their money; they spend it because they must. Those additional dollars would then roll through the economy. A very good article on the reasons conservatives should support minimum wage increases was written in 2014 by Rod Unz, a conservative commentator. In his article he called for an increase to 12.00 per hour, but then again that was 4 years ago. His main argument is that folks opposed to a minimum wage increase need to understand that they are already supporting low wage workers through taxes that supply supplemental benefits to the poor and those dollars could decrease substantially if workers received a living wage.
As a former lobbyist, I usually found the most persuasive arguments were those I stole from the other side of any debate and used them for my own. I think that approach might be useful on the minimum wage issue. Regardless of the approach, the two big issues for state and national candidates are fixing the healthcare and wage issues.