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U.S. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid (C) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (R) lead a rally to celebrate the start of the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, October 1, 2013. The U.S. government be
From Wednesday's New York Times:
The White House and congressional Democrats are preparing to step up attacks on Republicans over pocketbook issues like the minimum wage in the most aggressive and coordinated move yet to try to reverse the Republican momentum that threatens their control of the Senate in the final two years of the Obama presidency.

The effort is set to begin within the next two weeks in the Senate when Democrats will call a vote on their proposal to increase the minimum wage to $10.10, and it will continue through spring and summer with additional legislation to eliminate the pay gap between men and women, lower interest rates on college loans and close tax loopholes that benefit corporations with business overseas.

This isn't exactly groundbreaking news. It's been clear for some time that Democrats were going to push for these votes to put Republicans on record and doing so is an important part of making these issues pop in November. As Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan puts it ...
“Ultimately, elections are about whose side you’re on,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow, Democrat of Michigan, who has been working with Mr. Schumer on the strategy.
... and these votes will help illustrate that. But at the same time, I hope that Democrats realize that these votes alone won't be enough to make a difference in 2014. They also need to be backed up by a concrete pledge to follow through on them after the election if voters decide to put Democrats back in control of Congress.

They don't necessarily need a "Contract with America" like Republicans had in 1994, but they need to do more than simply attack Republicans for refusing to raise the minimum wage. It's already a foregone conclusion that Republicans will reject a minimum wage hike; attacking them for what we already know won't be enough to win the argument or election in 2014. The story also has to be about what Democrats are promising to do if they win.

The fact that Senate Democrats can't really make pledges on behalf of House Democrats—and vice versa—complicates things, as does the fact that Democrats in each chamber are probably more concerned about what the election means for their half of Congress. But if they really want to make pocketbook issues a central part of the 2014 campaign, it's a challenge they need to figure out. Fear of a Republican Senate majority is a good reason to vote Democratic in 2014, but if you can combine that with a hopeful narrative about what Democrats can accomplish if they retake the House and hold the Senate, you have a much more powerful message, one that might actually motivate the marginal voters who Democrats need to turn out.

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Comment Preferences

  •  They sure do need to do more than schedule votes! (6+ / 0-)

    That kind of thing is far from enough.

  •  How About INFRASTRUCTURE Spending? (4+ / 0-)

    anything?

    or the usual small beer?

    "We are beyond law, which is not unusual for an empire; unfortunately, we are also beyond common sense." Gore Vidal

    by Superpole on Fri Mar 28, 2014 at 06:11:24 PM PDT

  •  $15/Hr. Minimum Wage = Livable Wage (4+ / 0-)

    When a person is to use only 25% of their monthly income for rent, then the place a person can rent when paid $7.25/hr. minimum wage is probably unfit for human habitation.

    •  You're right. Heard an interview with Senator (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jbsoul, Risen Tree

      Harkin.  He admits in the C-Span Newsmakers segment that $10.10 minimum wage was agreed upon because it puts people "just past" minimum wage.

      In other words, it sounded as though Dems were trying to deflect attacks by Republicans (in picking that amount).

      Considering that our minimum wage is SO inadequate, I fear that the $10.10 hike would also be inadequate to lift people to the financial level necessary for a secure existence.  (Not to say that it's not "better than" $7.25 an hours, or whatever it is now.)

      Mollie

      "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible."-- Frank L. Gaines


      hiddennplainsight--Relaunched 2014!

      by musiccitymollie on Fri Mar 28, 2014 at 07:44:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Going on Offense? (4+ / 0-)

    Its about time!

    "Some men see things as they are and ask, 'Why?' I dream of things that never were and ask, 'Why not?"

    by Doctor Who on Fri Mar 28, 2014 at 06:13:22 PM PDT

  •  They can pass it if they try hard enough (4+ / 0-)

    They can do it before the midterms if they target some vulnerable Repubs.

    Come on Dems, do the right thing.

    Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

    by Betty Pinson on Fri Mar 28, 2014 at 06:24:39 PM PDT

  •  indeed. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, jbsoul
    a hopeful narrative about what Democrats can accomplish if they retake the House and hold the Senate, you have a much more powerful message, one that might actually motivate the marginal voters who Democrats need to turn out.
    Democrats have to make it clear that if they are elected,  they will BE Democrats, and DO the things Democrats do, like create a REAL recovery  with no elephants standing in the way.

    don't always believe what you think

    by claude on Fri Mar 28, 2014 at 06:36:29 PM PDT

  •  When the Democratic Party will start telling the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jbsoul

    truth, on a national level, I'll get fired up. Until then, I'm just a lever-puller.

    Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

    by commonmass on Fri Mar 28, 2014 at 06:38:17 PM PDT

  •  Minimum Wage is a Diversion From the Real Issue (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jbsoul

    The real issue is the equitable distribution of the fruits of labor. A livable wage is not necessarily a fair wage. People deserve to be fairly compensated for their labor. Anyone working should not be on food stamps, period. Anyone not working but who wants to work, should be receiving every possible support to maintain their lifestyle while they wait for work. The productivity versus compensation data over time shows this has not been happening. The parasitic class, the alleged "elites" or best cheaters and scoundrels, exploit their positions and the slow, reactive legal system to line their personal nests.

    This is not to say a higher minimum wage is not a step in the right direction. What should be remembered is that it would be a step. It's not a solution.

    The solution is to recognize that government, and survival of the species, depends upon our collective recognition that sociopaths are a danger to society. They're not people to be admired or emulated. They're not role models despite what "Shark Tank" would have us believe. They are not model citizens. Sociopaths are unfit to run corporations and government institutions, yet there they are.

    •  You are expressing one of my core beliefs. (0+ / 0-)

      A lot of brouhaha is being created about how great it is that the Democratic Party leadership is keen on the idea of raising the minimum wage.

      But a bigger and more important consideration is buried beneath this one. And that is how many jobs we have lost.

      Is it not pathetic that people who need to be paying back their student loan monies have to deal with people from third world nations who are employed by Sallie Me to handle the student loan accounts?

      If Americans cannot even get jobs as collection agents for Sallie Mae, how can they ever hope to have employment?

  •  Too bad most Dems don't GAS about the poor (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jbsoul

    because if they did the smartest thing would be to do everything in their power to get the poor including the poorest of the poor registered to vote. Get them the ID they need and then get them to the polls. Let them hire busses if necessary.

    We are talking about over 50 million people, all who would most like vote for Dems.

    But Democrats would rather go on thinking the poor don't vote and can't contribute. This way they don't have to do much more than the Republicans to help them and can even hurt the poor without worry of consequence.

    Just imagine how different this country would be if BOTH sides had to fear the vote of the poor. I'll bet you wouldn't find Senate Democrats cutting food stamps twice in less than 6 months or Republicans saying poor children should scrub toilets for a lousy school lunch.

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