Why Dems Should Make a $15 Wage Their First Order of Business
By Robert Kuttner | Aug 03, 2018
Let’s make the increasingly likely assumption that Democrats take back the House in November. Nothing symbolizes concern for working people better than a higher minimum wage. And nothing jams Republicans quite as starkly as making them take a vote on this.
Do you doubt that? Here is a true fact. In the election of 2004—that’s the one where John Kerry booted a winnable election—activists in Florida qualified a ballot initiative raising that state’s minimum wage by one dollar, from $5.15 to $6.15
Well, you might say, that doesn’t affect all that many people, right? John Kerry was asked to come down and campaign for it. He declined.
How do you think the initiative did in this quintessential swing state, which George W. Bush carried in that election?
The minimum-wage initiative won overwhelmingly, with 71 percent of the vote. It carried every single Florida county, including some very conservative ones where the sort of working people who later voted for Donald Trump care about their paychecks.
The minimum-wage initiative won by three million votes. It received about two million votes more than Kerry did, and a million votes more than Bush did. If Kerry had accepted the invitation to go out on street corners and campaign for the minimum-wage hike, he might have been elected president.
So as I was saying, when Democrats take back the House, they should make a vote on a $15 minimum wage their first order of business. Any questions?