In my continuing quest to provide this nation’s major political parties with unsolicited advice that they’ll simply ignore, I’d like to draw the Democratic Party’s attention to the following article in the National Review.
It summarizes some of the arguments made by Anne Kim and Jim Kessler, who are moderate Democrats and members of Third Way, a new organization dedicated to helping Democrats appeal to moderate and conservative voters.
I’ll simply quote the two key paragraphs:
How does the Democratic message fall flat? Kim and Kessler count the ways. The public doesn’t buy heedless pessimism; 80 percent believe it is “still possible to start out poor in this country, work hard and become rich.” It prefers opportunity over economic security; only about a quarter of Americans say that they prefer a low-income, high-security job. It doesn’t like corporation-bashing; only 27 percent say big business is the biggest threat to America’s future, compared with 61 percent who say big government is.
Programmatically, Democrats essentially offer the middle class a nullity. Kim and Kessler run through the greatest hits of Democratic policy. The average family income for Pell Grant recipients is $19,460. Head Start is for poor children. A married family of four can make a maximum of only $37,263 to still be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (to the tune of $1). Only 2.7 percent of American workers make the minimum wage, and half of them are under age 25. Giving health care to the uninsured affects only 15.7 percent of Americans, and many of them aren’t middle class.
Bottom line: Many Republican policies and programs are similarly narrow in their scope (albeit at the other end of the income curve). But issues like family values and tax cuts affect everyone, and the Republicans do a great job of hammering on them. There’s an old expression that people vote with their pocketbooks. If only 2.7% of American workers are affected by the minimum wage, why try to make that an electoral issue?