I do think the NYT editorial about how there is a supermajority of US citizens who are united but ignored is well worth reading. This clip alone tells the tale:
About 75 percent of Americans favor higher taxes for the ultrawealthy. The idea of a federal law that would guarantee paid maternity leave attracts 67 percent support. Eighty-three percent favor strong net neutrality rules for broadband, and more than 60 percent want stronger privacy laws. Seventy-one percent think we should be able to buy drugs imported from Canada, and 92 percent want Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices. The list goes on.
I am glad someone at NYT noticed. It’s hardly a novel observation, nor is it something that just cropped up. Folks have been observing the same thing for the duration of this century. I will draw on memory for the moment, but around the turn of the 21st century Michael Moore published a book called, Dude, Where is My Country? He laid out results from a whole bunch of opinion polls that made a very consistent statement: a significant majority of Americans wanted a lot of the progressive changes that many of us here advocate. The problem is that those of us making up this supermajority were often ignored then, and are ignored now. Almost a decade ago, I blogged about some polling numbers showing that a solid majority of Americans wanted more stimulus money to go to job development. That’s the sort of thing that Pelosi’s House could deliver on, but would die in the Senate in early 2010. That we have a solid majority who want to see progressive changes now and are ignored is no surprise at all given the current White House occupant and the current make-up of the Senate.
Thing is, this is a situation that is not sustainable. It is the sort of situation – where the people as a general rule are ignored by legislators and other political leaders – that political scientists might use to determine if a nation is a failing or failed state. I don’t think we’re quite there yet, but we are sure staring into the abyss.
I am not sure of any great solutions here. What I will note is what does not work: a divided opposition. Look at the disconnect between current despots and the people they are supposed to represent (e.g., Maduro, Orban, etc.). Look at how fragmented the opposition has typically been in each of those nations. Those who are in power get away with ignoring the aspirations of their people in large part because the opposition cannot get it together. We have an opportunity to not only get it together, but to keep it together. Do that much, and I think 2018 will truly be viewed by historians as a prelude for 2020. I am cautiously optimistic on that front.
Be smart: assuming the Democratic Party can reclaim the Senate and the White House, while maintaining the House, they need to be prepared to act forcefully on whatever program they run on and act forcefully on those concerns that matter most to those of us scraping by. Let’s also be prepped to hold their feet to the proverbial fire if they succeed in 2020.
Be smart (part two): Tired – “the US is divided; the Democratic Party is in disarray.” Wired – “we have the untapped energy of a supermajority in the US that can give us yet another Blue Wave.”