Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Yes, the Democratic Pary Needs to Go Full Populist

As I and others have said, it's because populist ideas are, uh, popular! Here Ryan Cooper of The Week weighs in:
It's fast becoming a consensus in center-left circles that the future of the Democratic Party will rise or fall depending on the economic well-being of the masses. In the wake of the midterms, top-shelf commentators like Josh Marshall and David Leonhardt have correctly identified a decades-long trend of stagnant incomes as the major problem for the Democrats. If the party of the left cannot provide material security to the people, then it simply has no business being in power.
Luckily, this is actually an easy problem to solve. If markets aren't producing enough money through wages, then the government should step in and provide it. It is really that simple.
But tellingly, Marshall, Leonhardt, and other center-left liberals make it seem as if this problem is hellishly difficult. Education policy is hard. Climate policy is really hard. Handing out checks is stone simple by contrast. All you need is paper and a pen.
To become the party of the people, the Democrats will have to let go of an ineffective, neoliberal policy that has been baked into their economic platform for years now. Then they will have to overcome the skepticism of voters, who are unused to the idea of income transfers, even though it's part of a populist legacy that reaches back to the New Deal and the Great Society. This, more than anything, will be the crucial question for the American left over the next several election cycles.
It's not hard to realize that Social Security, Medicare, and the underlying policies of Obamacare are terrifically popular, as is increasing the minimum wage and raising, in general, the wages and salaries of the middle class after years of stagnation. Tying income transfers into the solutions of income inequality should be easy. Tell people over and over that rich corporations don't share the wealth downward to its employees. Period. Pay more, rich cats!

Why did Mitt Romney lose? It was because he seemed like a dick
who didn't care about working stiffs. More elections like that one!

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