Hey Washington: Follow The People

“Those in the know” say that We the People should forget any progressive fantasy that – at long last – Washington might finally produce the kind of bold FDR-style agenda that America needs. They smugly lecture us that recalcitrant Republicans in Congress, not to mention a swarm of corporate lobbyists, are opposed to progressive change, so who could get it passed?

Here’s an idea: Try the people themselves. Those in the know don’t seem to know it (or don’t want us to know it), but big majorities across grassroots America are strongly in favor of the fundamental changes that Washington elites are rejecting. For example:

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  • Two-thirds of America (including a majority of moderate Republicans) say “Yes!” to doubling the minimum wage.
  • 72 percent of the people, including 46 percent of professed Republicans, shout their approval for Medicare for all.
  • Eight out of 10 Americans, including strong majorities of Republicans, support a paid family leave program like every other developed nation provides for their people.
  • What about increasing taxes on the rich, expanding Medicaid for poor families, raising teacher pay, spending more for early childhood education? Yes, yes, yes, yes say majorities, not just in blue states, but also in GOP strongholds like Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah.

These are not just poll numbers, but solid ideas embraced last year by a broad cross-section of voters in ballot elections across the country. For example, Florida voters enacted a constitutional initiative to up the state’s minimum pay to $15, with “yeas” topping “nays” by a whopping margin of more than 20 points – making it more popular than either Trump or Biden.

Instead of fearing the people, Democratic leaders need to get out of Washington and join them. Let’s rally and organize the power of outsiders to produce transformative policies of, by, and for the people.

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