The math for next year’s 2016 presidential election works well for Democrats. The only problem, as past elections have shown, is that while Democrats outnumber Republican voters, they vote less often, especially in off-year elections.
But that old news may have a new narrative going forward, in Ohio and nationally. Last week, the Ohio Democratic Party did a little crowing of its own for a change in the wake of results from Election Day just concluded. ODP Chairman David Pepper ticked off the many races Democrats won, which include mayors in the five largest cities in the state and nine of the top ten cities that either have a Democratic at the helm or Democrats on council or both. Some of the winners represent ODP’s engagement efforts that spanned the state and harvested a new crop of officials progressive officials.
It’s the Middle Class, Stupid!
On Tuesday, former State Senator Nina Turner will speak at an event in Cleveland as part of the “Fight For $15” Day of Action March and Rally. Turner, who ran unsuccessfully for secretary of state last year, is engagement chairman for ODP. She will join City Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland and local workers at one of the 500 protests nationwide to call for a $15 per hour minimum wage, and union rights for fast food, home care and child care workers.
Ohio’s senior U.S. Senator also has plans to contribute to the theme of the day. Sherrod Brown, elected in 2006 and again in 2012, will call for passage of legislation that would support workers and promote economic opportunity for all Americans by raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour. Sen. Brown supports several bills that would benefit workers and middle class families, his office said via email Monday.
Sen. Brown, who withstood $40 million dollars of attack ads by Republicans in 2012, is a cosponsor of the “Pay Workers a Living Wage Act,” which his office said would phase-in a $15 minimum wage by 2020 over five gradual raises. After 2020, the minimum wage would be indexed to the median hourly wage and the tipped minimum wage would be gradually eliminated.
As Democrats move forward with selecting their standard bearer for next year, the good news is that the national numbers are with them. Their task isn’t new at all, but to reenergize the coalition of minority, women, student, seniors, Asians, Hispanics and African-Americans that sent Barack Obama to the White House in 2008 and again in 2012. The gaggle of Republicans running for president, including Ohio’s own John Kasich, have nothing new to offer that differ from the unsuccessful campaigns of John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012. Cutting taxes, less regulation and a smaller, more impotent federal government are still the meat and potatoes of the few GOP candidates who have released platforms.
Happy Days Could Be Here Again!
More good news for Democrats came on Monday with the release by Democracy Corps of its report “Winning the Senate with a middle class reform agenda.” The 37-page report offers Democrats a vision for retaking the Senate, which if done will likely mean holding the White House. Such a wave election would be a giant advancement toward leveling the political playing field made severely unlevel when Republicans won big in 2010, enabling them to control apportionment boards and redraw legislative districts to the GOP in power in about 30 states and the U.S. House of Representatives.
It’s no secret that Republicans have made Washington dysfunctional, not President Obama. The Obama Administration, working to overcome Republican obstacles, saved the nation from falling into a second economic depression by, among other actions, saving the auto industry, keeping General Motors afloat so it could recover with astounding success, taking up the slack from the private sector, keep states stabilized by employing more policemen, firefighters, teachers and nurses on the job than would have happened if Republicans had been in charge.
Key findings from the Democracy Corps report:
• A post-2016 Democratic Senate majority seems within reach as Democratic candidates are 6 points up in Colorado (Democratic hold), 5 points ahead of a Republican incumbent in Wisconsin (a Democratic pick up) and knotted in Ohio and Florida (both Democratic pick up states).
• Democratic opportunity springs from a Republican party that has grown apart from the country culturally and demographically, as the rising American Electorate [RAE]—unmarried women, youth and people of color—now make up a majority or near majority of the vote in these states.
• Democrats face two challenges, however: (1) insufficient engagement, particularly among unmarried women and millennials; (2) insufficient support compared to prior levels—among the RAE, particularly unmarried women.
• To take advantage of this opportunity, Democrats need to:
• Run unambiguously on middle class reform money and government message and agenda like the one tested in this poll;
• Increase the turnout of unmarried women and millennials;
• Improve the margin among unmarried women and white working class women, who are increasingly open to voting for Democrats;
• Brand the tarnished GOP that is too partisan for these times.
Read the full report here.