Winning Elections While Rebuilding America
By Jerome Grossman
The Democrats must renew their bond with the working class. Listen to Peter Canellos:"During the five decades that the New Deal coalition governed national politics, from the 1930s to the 1980s, the relationship between the Democratic Party and working-class voters was an economic bond. Generations of Americans took it as an act of faith that Republicans represented the moneyed elites while Democrats stood up for the little guy. Since 1980, that relationship has eroded and now it's in tatters. Democrats have lost significant support among the working class.... Thirty years ago, the Democrats would have had a a ready response (to blue-collar dissatisfaction). By pursuing redistributive programs, from make-work jobs to urban development programs to costly expansion of rural infrastructure, the Democrats provided some economic first aid to distressed people and communities: …."
Hold your dollars, folks. Peter Canellos is not running for office. He is the Washington Bureau Chief of the Boston Globe. But he knows the lessons of political history in these United States and demonstrates how the Democrats have mobilized the working class by offering strong economic incentives. The two Democratic candidates for president, hopelessly centrist, should take notice.
The bitterness of the workers should evoke an authentic program to compensate for the three decade decline in wages and working conditions. Such a program should include reform of the labor laws that favor corporations over unions, a national minimum wage providing for decent living conditions, full employment legislation that guarantees a job to all who wish to work, national single-payer health insurance subsidized by the federal government, serious enforcement of occupational safety and health conditions in the workplace, replacement and maintenance of our decrepit system of highways, railroads, bridges, airports, etc.
Or would you rather spend three trillion dollars on Iraq?
Beyond the social benefits of spreading the benefits of our productive society more evenly, such a redistributive program might lead to political victory and occupation of the White House by the Democratic candidate. For references I submit Harry Hopkins and Franklin Delano Roosevelt who knew how to win elections while rebuilding the nation.
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