Trump told them the Dems didn’t understand them, that he would get them jobs and protect them from those scary immigrants and from others threatening to take their guns. But on minimum wage, tuition-free college, universal health care and other social justice issues, they support progressive positions even more strongly than centrist Dems. Hmmm. Read on.
To Pot Luck or Not To Potluck: Time to Decide If You Plan to Come or Cancellation Beckons
Thursday, Dec. 20, 6-8pm 1420 Cerrillos. Retake Our Democracy, Roundhouse Advocacy Team, Orientation, Strategizing and Potluck BYOB. Our leadership was split about trying to do another meeting so close to the holidays, with some feeling that there would be too many folks either out of town or committed to other social gatherings. Looks like they were right. We had a grand total of zero RSVPs yesterday. So we are putting this out front and center today and will make a call Thursday morning. Look for an announcement here on Th. morning.
Why do we want to meet this Thursday? We need to continue to advance our preparation for the Roundhouse session one month and one day away, but we also wanted to inject a bit of fun and get to know each other better. If we are to sustain this work over the long-term we need to not just develop strategy, but to also develop community. Retake will bring a couple humongous pizzas to boost the fare, but we ask that you bring: your own plate, forks and knives and a glass along with one dish to share and your own beverage. We really want to minimize our waste. Orientation will be at the end of the meeting, 7:30-8pm so that we can eat when the food is warm and the beverages cool. We will encourage people to sit with someone they don’t know and will offer conversation cues to encourage dialog and getting to know others in our group. We will also hear from 2-3 of our allies. Confirmed right now is Jacob Vigil analyst from NM Voices for Children. And what a coincidence, a likely intro what he may say follows. For this meeting it is especially important that everyone RSVP by writing to email@example.com. The set up will involve tables, table cloths, chairs and ability to watch our speakers. For that we need to know how many will be there. We hope it is jammed. If we do cancel, our planning will not be jeopardized and we will meet on Jan 3. Happy holidays to all of you.
Democratic Party Alert: Start Running on Progressive Economic Policies and Stop Running from Them
In a blog from last week, I offered links to three articles from The Nation that validated that the blue wave was not driven by caution or devotion to centrist policies, but by candidates running on a progressive economic agenda, not running away from it. In yesterday’s NY Times, David Leonhardt used polling data to demonstrate very convincingly that the Democrats path to victory in 2020 is to nominate a candidate who is inspiring and fearlessly progressive on economic issues: tuition free college, Medicare for All, Green jobs, limiting prescription drug costs, increasing the minimum wage and undoing Trump’s tax cuts for corporation and the 1%. His analysis shows very, very clearly that even many loyal Republicans support green jobs and limiting proscription drug prices What’s more, swing voters–those Democrats or Republicans who voted for Obama in 2012 and Trump in 2016–both overwhelming support green jobs and prescription cost containment but also support increasing the minimum wage, Medicare for All and tuition-free college.
Leonhardt goes on to contend that the US is essentially a populist country in terms of the kind of economic policies most Americans support. He cites, for example, how 66% of Americans feel the rich pay too little in taxes and 70% say the same thing about corporations. Well, given Trump and the GOP’s tax bill passed this year, you’d have to say there is an easy target for 2020. Whoever the Democratic candidate is in 2020 should very obviously put front and center who benefitted from the Tax Bill: the wealthy and corporations. Is that what you want? Is that fair? How much have you benefitted from this Tax Plan?
Leonhardt goes on to note that pocket book issues and even election reform initiatives have all passed in bold red states, often in landslides. For example, minimum wage increases all passed in Arkansas, Montana, and Nebraska; Medicaid expansion also passed in states like Nebraska, West Virginia, Arkansas; in Missouri just last month voters approved a reform bill designed to limit the influence of lobbyists by a whopping 62-37 majority, despite heavy GOP opposition. And then there is Amendment 4 in Florida that will allow 1.5 million mostly African American and Latino Floridian felons to vote going forward, a vote that essentially put human interests over partisan politics and instantly may have transformed Florida from a pink swing state to a blue one.
Leonhardt concludes from this that: “The Democrats need a candidate who will organize the 2020 campaign around fighting for the little guy and gal. (And most of the potential Democratic nominees could do so.) It would be a campaign about Republican politicians and corporate lobbyists who are rigging the game, a campaign that promised good jobs, rising wages, decent health care, affordable education and an end to Trumpian corruption…. The country doesn’t only need this agenda. It wants this agenda. A mountain of evidence shows that populism — the real kind, not the faux Trump version — is the Democrats’ most effective political strategy.” And to document this assertion, Leonhardt presents some pretty compelling polling data.
I would argue that not all current potential candidates could credibly advance a bold progressive economic agenda, but more importantly for now Democratic leadership needs to begin to line up more solidly behind these initiatives. For example The Green New Deal profiled yesterday and last week is a package initiative that includes a huge investment in green jobs, job training, and a new version of Medicare for All is emerging, as well. The time to begin establishing the Democrats as the Party of little guy is to get some of these initiatives passed through the House and establish them as cornerstones of the Democratic Party. Leadership there has been far too timid and too aligned with Wall St, big pharma, and the 1%. And Leonhardt makes an excellent point for why it would be politically expedient for the Democrats to make just such a pivot.
The chart at left is a real eye-opener and validates Leonhardt’s quote above. Across the top are six policies: more border security, more gun control, free college, generic drugs, green jobs program, and Medicare for All. The second row provides polling data on “loyal Democrats”, the next row shows the polling for voters who are Democrat, but voted for Obama in 2012 and Trump in 2016. The next row is polling data for Republicans who voted for Obama in 2012 and Trump in 2016. The bottom row is for loyal Republicans. The results show clearly that there is a significant divide between Republicans and Democrats on gun control and border security. But that Democrats can gain support of either Democratic OR GOP voters who went for Obama in 2012 and Trump in 2016 if they focus on economic issues. Leonhardt even cites Xochitl Torres Small as an example of a Democrat who successfully ran on economic issues and won in a deep red district.
What is revealed by the chart above left is that Trump convinced voters that he would protect them from scary immigrants, make sure they could keep their guns, create a better Obamacare, cut their taxes and get them tons of terrific jobs. Well, his trade policies have cost us jobs and have demolished the economy. He has not delivered on any form of healthcare. And his tax bill has been a disaster for working families, actually a disaster for 90+% of the US. And while it was really Trump’s fear mongering and claims to making America great again, that won him the day, there is a clear message here begging to be advanced: you’ve been betrayed and played for a sucker.
- Tax cuts, just not for you….for me and my golf buddies
- No fix for Obamacare but we are working on eliminating coverage for pre-existing conditions;
- Loss in jobs due to impulsive, ill-advised trade war;
But just examine those polling numbers. The messaging needn’t stop with what Trump has or hasn’t done, but with what Americans want. On free college, generic drugs, green jobs and Medicare for all, Dems who turned from the party in 2016 overwhelmingly support these policies by 80-93% margins. GOP voters who voted for Obama in 2012 and then voted for Trump, also supported these policies by 46-93%. And even a majority of GOP loyalists support green jobs and initiatives to reduce the cost of generic drugs. And we don’t need to win a majority of GOP and swing voters; we just need to pry a sliver of them from the Fox News truth serum.
Democratic leadership (are you reading this Ben Ray?) have felt that by going cautious and centrist, it could lure moderate Dems and moderate GOP voters. But the chart shows clearly that loyal Democrats are not afraid of progressive legislation related to jobs, college, Medicare for All or limiting prescription drug costs. And even those Democrats who fled the party in 2016, clearly favor those initiatives with Republicans also supporting them to a somewhat lesser degree. Recall, that in a recent post, I provided links to three Nation magazine articles that found that midterm Democratic winners at the national, state and local levels ran on unabashedly progressive issues. And were it not for baldly undemocratic voter suppression efforts in Georgia and Florida, the national sweep would have been even more overwhelming. The lesson here is to run on progressive economic issues not from them.
From the NY Times:“ ‘These voters want leaders who are going to look out for them,’ Alissa Stollwerk of YouGov told Leonhardt. Trump persuaded many voters that he was their ally by running a racially focused campaign. Democrats have already shown they can win back a meaningful share of them by running an economically focused campaign.” To review the full NY Times report, click here.
Imagine this kind of messaging in 2020: “What are the things that keep you up at night? In your daily life, just how threatened do you really feel by immigrants or anyone’s efforts to take guns from you? How about healthcare, college for your kids, taxes, your income, prescription drug prices, or a secure job: how much do you worry about these things? Has the GOP or Trump delivered on anything that has reduced your worry about these issues? You are being played for a fool by very clever people who have cut taxes on the rich and corporations. made billions for themselves, threw the country into horrible debt and have threatened your healthcare and Social Security.”
Time to be bold my friends. The truth is on our side and as MLK, Jr. famously said, the arc of the history bends toward justice. Let’s do this.
Paul & Roxanne