Friday, April 27, 2018

Support For Job Guarantee Is Growing Rapidly-- Will It Be A Campaign Issue?


A campaign manager I've worked with on a few campaigns in the past has been asking for for the last few days to consider endorsing the candidate he's working with this time. The candidate doesn't seem bad and it's a winnable race. There are 4 Democrats competing for the nomination and the DCCC isn't involved so they all seem somewhat progressive. His candidate doesn't seem financially competitive-- but when have we ever allowed that to determine supporting someone. The newly redrawn district has counties that went for Bernie and counties that backed Hillary. In the general, Trump won-- though not by double digits.

Before agreeing to speak with his candidate-- let's call him Candidate X-- I asked him a few questions... like which primary candidate is most progressive and if Candidate X supports Job Guarantee and College Debt Elimination. His response was that "It is close, but X is more progressive-- his priorities are good jobs, better public schools and quality and affordable health care for everyone-- it is still a Republican district and he will have to pick up Independents and Reasonable Republicans-- so kitchen table issues are the way to go on the surface. Below that-- he is very strongly against gun violence and pro-choice. He put out a statement against Trump's Transgender Ban in the military and is strongly for LGBTQIA+ rights. He has signed the no money from Fossil Fuels Pledge (all four candidates have)-- but X will be signing the End Citizens United No Corporate Money pledge in the next couple of days-- no other candidate has signed it... He supports plan for a job guarantee for people that want a job-- although it is new concept to him and we spoke about it."

Not very convincing. Remember, what Blue America is looking for is courageous principled candidates-- like Kaniela Ing, Jenny Marshall, Alan Grayson and Dan Canon who are going to go to Congress and not worry about voting with conservatives in order to get reelected. Another campaign manager told me last week that his candidate will do it "the West Virginia way, like Joe Manchin does." Good luck with that. It's not what we're looking for-- not even close.

So, he didn't answer the question about College Debt Elimination and didn't have anything much to say about Job Guarantee. So what will he be like in Congress? A scardy cat? Who thinks voting for equal right for gays and willing to vote pro-Choice defines a progressive? Doesn't sound like the kind of champion we're looking for this late in the cycle. But I'll keep an open mind. And send him the Marie Solis report in Newsweek from yesterday: Can A Federal Jobs Guarantee Help Democrats Defeat Trump In 2020? How about elect a Democratic House in 2018? Bernie is about to unveil plans "that would guarantee every American worker a minimum $15 an hour position complete with health care, a retirement plan and the same paid leave benefits granted to federal public-sector employees." Even less credible would-be presidential candidates like Kirsten Gillibrand and Cory Booker are trying to jump on the bandwagon.
There’s already widespread support for a federal jobs guarantee program among voters across the country, and-- most notably-- across the political spectrum, according to Sean McElwee and his colleagues at Data for Progress, a progressive polling and analysis firm. In March, they found that a majority of voters in all 50 states supported a jobs guarantee, even in states that went overwhelmingly to Trump. The state that polled lowest was Utah, where a solid 57-percent majority still said they would favor the proposal.

When researchers at Civis Analytics, another progressive data analytics firm, narrowed the data by voting pattern, they found that 56 percent of those who went from voting for former President Barack Obama in 2012 to Trump in 2016 supported a jobs guarantee, and 58 percent of non-voters looked favorably on the idea as well.

... “If we’re speaking strictly about winning campaigns, running on jobs is 100 percent a smart move, and it’s 100 percent what Democrats should be doing,” Sean McElwee, a researcher and co-founder at Data for Progress, told Newsweek. “Democrats can run on jobs without sacrificing other progressive causes.”

McElwee cautioned Democrats against getting too excited about the number of Obama-turned-Trump voters they can win over with the policy-- it’s still modest. But it’s enough to cut a path to victory in 2018, he says.

“If you can get back about one-third of Obama-Trump voters and energize non-voters, there you are,” he said. “You’ve got your House majority.”

Indeed, some who switched their votes from Barack Obama to Trump told Newsweek the idea seemed common-sense.

“If this could help the people get jobs, I support it,” said Eileen Sorokas, from Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, which went to Obama in 2012 but to Trump by 20 points four years later. “I know what it’s like not to have a job-- it’s kind of scary. If it works, I’m all for it.”

Before she retired, Sorokas, now 70, worked at a dress factory that shut down and went overseas in the mid-90s. Her husband Richard worked at Procter & Gamble for over three decades until he retired 17 years ago. He said a jobs guarantee interests him because he’d like to see fewer Americans rely on the country’s welfare system.

“I remember Trump wanted to get people off of welfare, and he said he was going to make jobs for people who want to work” he told Newsweek. “What stuck out for me was getting people off of welfare. I thought that was a great.”

Both Richard and Eileen-- who said they’d been lifelong Democrats-- said they’d consider voting for a member of their party again if they campaigned on a strong jobs platform, like the guaranteed jobs proposal.

But they’re not totally sold yet. After a beat, Richard posed what might just be a multi-billion dollar question: “Where do you get the money?”

Policy research institutes like the Center on Budget and Policy Proposals and the Center for American Progress have priced federal jobs guarantee plans similar to Booker’s and Sanders’s at $543 billion and $158 billion, respectively. The government could fund a jobs program by raising income tax on the rich-- a proposal that is controversial in some circles. But proponents of the policy in the Senate see it as a worthwhile expenditure.

...House candidates are already testing the waters for the 2020 presidential hopefuls. Dan Canon, who’s running in the Democratic primary in Indiana’s 9th District-- which went to Trump by double digits in 2016-- says he’s spoken to hundreds of voters about his proposal for a jobs guarantee, and not one of them has voiced any opposition to the idea.

“A jobs guarantee is good for the economy, it’s good for unemployment and it’s good for infrastructure,” Canon said.

In Canon’s district, home to some of the most rural parts of Indiana, he says voters have two top concerns: jobs and infrastructure. As Canon sees it, fixing the first problem with a jobs guarantee can solve the other. If people need jobs, they can take government-sponsored work fixing the district’s roads, public transit system, energy grids and broadband access, Canon says. The House candidate's proposal, and others like it, harken back to the Works Progress Administration implemented by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a program that gave some 8.5 million unemployed Americans jobs building up the country's infrastructure during the Great Depression.

“I have not found a single person in Indiana that disagrees with this idea or thinks it’s a bad one,” Canon told Newsweek. “The only pushback I ever got when presenting people with a jobs guarantee is from political theorists who think the district just isn’t ready. But those tend to be D.C. think-tank types who don’t understand the people on the ground here in Indiana."
We asked some the other candidates Blue America has endorsed how they speak about Job Guarantee to the voters. Hawaii candidate Kaniela Ing told us that "America’s promise has always been clear-- work hard and your family will prosper. Today, too many hard-working Americans feel that our leaders have gone bad on that promise. I talk to folks who tell me everyday, they grind and sweat, but struggle to get by. Wages are stagnant, unemployment and underemployment are rising, the threats of automation and globalization are becoming real, all while costs are skyrocketing. But just take a walk outside and look around at all the work that needs to be done in America. There are bridges to be built, highways needing repair, kids to be taught, aging folks needing care, oceans to be cleaned, trees to be planted. But private markets fall short. For every job opening in America, four people are gunning for it. This pits worker against worker and creates a power imbalance between workers and their bosses. It’s too risky for a worker to stand up to wage theft, inhumane working conditions, or sexual harassment, when they know there’s nowhere else to go. Our elected representatives must stop pretending that everything is okay, and that the job market will some home fix itself. It’s time for real solutions that will actually help working families across America. It’s time for a new New deal. Since the start of my campaign, I’ve been leading with a universal job guarantee, and I ask other progressive candidates to join me. Let’s remind the establishment that the ability to work for a livable wage is a human right that should be afforded to all. In these uncertain times, progressives will lead with real solutions that offer hope to the many, and just the privileged few."

Goal ThermometerEllen Lipton is the former state legislator and progressive Democrat running for the open seat in the suburbs north of Detroit. She's interested in Bernie's Jobs Guarantee ideas and told us that "the federal government has been at the mercy of corporate-controlled lobbyists for long enough. How long are we going to allow them to offer the same tired economic policy of tax cuts for the phantom 'job-creators?' How about trying something that actually has a track record of working-- direct federal investment in people rather than profits. A guaranteed jobs program would put people to work on everything from infrastructure to IT, renewable energy to healthcare and social work-- the possibilities are endless."

Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, the Blue America-endorsed candidate running in the open Albuquerque district, is also a big fan of Job Guarantee. This is what she told us some time ago: "I believe that all human beings deserve to live in dignity, and that as part of that we build a government that ensures a well-paying job to each and every individual. Imagine if we guaranteed to all human beings a well-paying job with a livable wage that allows for healthcare, housing, transportation, food, and ultimately the dignity of work? What it would mean for our communities, poverty, racial and gender equality? Well, we've done parts of this before with the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the New Deal era. Imagine a program that achieves delivering well-paying work to all individuals, all while overhauling our nation's infrastructure and educational systems. It has the potential to breakdown the entrenched racial and gender-based inequality that exists in our labor force, and enshrines the ideal that all Americans who want a good job will have one. It assures that the dignity of a well-paying job is not just for a plurality of Americans, but for all who seek it. In an increasingly evolving economy, it's important that our government think creatively about the future of our labor force, and ensure that people's needs are put first in the changing labor economy."

Like Dan Canon, Jenny Marshall's North Carolina primary is May 8 sees the idea of Job Guarantee as something relatively easy to explain to voters. (Maybe that's because she's a school teacher.) She's campaigning for the seat held by a multimillionaire, Virginia Foxx, who has never exhibited any interest whatsoever in giving a hand to working families. "People," Jenny told us," want to work and give back to their communities in real tangible ways. They also want to provide a decent, secure life for their family. Think of all the New Deal programs such as the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Works Progress Administration that helped put people to work and which began to pull us out of the Great Depression in the 1930's. While those programs did not lift all out of abject poverty it did jump start our economy in a way that can still be witnessed today. Frankly, our infrastructure is long outdated and our national parks and memorials need tending to. Here in the 5th district we have national forest that needs trail cleanup, buildings that need to be repaired and programs that need to be staffed. We need to repair dams, bridges and other infrastructure projects. People need jobs and ones that pay a living wage. Why not offer work that would put an investment back into our communities?"

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At 5:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

JG strikes me as the romneycare of 2018. The democraps felt in 2008 that they needed a carrot to dangle in order to "pick up Independents and Reasonable Republicans" so they came up with that in a year where health care was about as much in the public "consciousness" as jobs are now.

As we saw, obamneycare was a vehicle for forcing 30 million more americans under the boot of yoooooge corporate health insurance; gave nobody actual care; did nothing at all to rein in cost increases; and, most notably, forbade the remedy for Rx costs handed to phrma by bush.

JG is a nice idea, but its implementation would be very important. It could end up another half-trillion in debt that does nothing for job competition and raising wages and bennies (if the expand H1Bs for instance). Never ever EVER trust the 'craps to do what they say nor what you think they will do. I'd hate to say 'I told you so' AGAIN.

And about the "he will have to pick up Independents and Reasonable Republicans":
1) at this point after so many years of racing toward the Nazi end of the spectrum, can we possibly imagine that ANY republicans are reasonable?
2) any democrap candidate that says this is clearly a fake and should be shunned immediately.

Good lefty candidates should be appealing to Independents (who are generally left of both Ds and Rs) and "reasonably intelligent D voters". Leave the Rs to their swastikas and white hoods.

At 9:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As long as corporate money owns the government, this will never happen. The "dems" are just as addicted to it as the "pubs". Money talks, and democracy walks.

At 1:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The jobs guarantee is a truly revolutionary idea. First proposed by FDR in his second bill of rights speech in 1944 I believe this could indeed be implemented if enough progressive candidates are elected. Electing a critical mass of progressives is key as they will need to push and shame reluctant Dems into supporting it. Along with other concrete material benefits such universal health care and free state university tuition this could energize voters who have suffered through the Great Recession, stagnant wages, disappearing benefits in the gig economy, and a personal debt load that is driving the working class to stay on the job into their seventies. The time for this revolutionary idea is ripe. Trump’s MAGA promises have evaporated. A credible progressive—like Bernie Sanders—could make this a reality. And how the Capitalists would howl! Besides putting a floor under wages, a jobs guarantee would eliminate the fear of the sack for the entire working class. This is what the corporate masters truly fear. No longer could workers be intimidated from organizing or joining a union, or be forced to stay in a dead end job with no benefits. Truly revolutionary. Bring it on.

Now I cede time to the cynics.

At 1:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great plan, 1:28. Now explain how you are going to best the corporatist DxCC in the contest over control and be able to implement these worthy plans?

At 8:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is it 1:32. We either submit or we fight. We need to elect progressives, lots of them. If we can’t do that then we wait for the revolution to begin.

At 9:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:28, a serious question. How long are you willing to wait for your "critical mass" of progressives? There are about 3% now. There are another, potential, 3% running with any chance of winning. Using math, that means it will take... carry the 9... 15 more 2-year cycles, presuming a trump-like shit fire for all 30 years creating a little tailwind for those progressives.

You think we got 30 years? I'm asking seriously.

Also, since Pelosi and scummer and heirs to both rule their caucuses tyrannically, how long before we not only elect your "critical mass" but also rid ourselves of the entire royal families of both?

Again, I'm asking seriously.

At 8:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I really hate seeing you undermine your very good ideas by attempting to work inside a very corrupt political organization which will do everything possible to ensure you fail. Even here on DWT, the coverage of the "democrats" sabotaging progressive candidates who would advance your goals is frequent. I want to see your goals realized. The party does not.

At 10:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Working within the Democratic Party seems to me to be the only viable path right now. Both major parties have rigged the system to exclude third parties. Jill Stein could only get her Green Party on 45 state ballots and she was excluded from the major’s debates. So was Gary Johnson the Libertarian candidate. That’s why progressives in the Democratic Socialists and the Working Families parties work through the Democrats. I’d love to see a strong viable third party but that is an even longer wait than trying to work within the Democrats. Maybe it will all come to nothing but there’s hope. Let’s see what November brings. Then, if Sanders should run in 2020 and get elected—a very real possibility, I believe—-that would be a game changer. Schumer and Pelosi would be out of their leadership positions and the Sanders folks would clean house at the DNC. It may seem far fetched but so did a Trump presidency.


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