As a whole, non-voters are more progressive than voters, and Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Keith Ellison has a new program to get them to the ballot box.
One in three. That’s how many people eligible to vote actually did in 2014. It was the lowest turnout since World War II.
We’ve seen the results of declining turnout. Democrats have lost 910 state legislative seats since 2008 and have only 18 governors. Republicans have the biggest majority in Congress since the Truman administration.
I am launching a Voters First program to put voters at the center of our politics with effective grassroots organizing and a commitment to increasing turnout. Voters First aims for a resurgence of civic participation to take back the states and the Congress. Today, I’m calling on campaigns to commit to run by Voters First principles. I’m also asking for individuals and groups to endorse our effort at votersfirstcampaign.com.
What is Voters First? A Voters First campaign commits first to boost voter turnout by 3 to 7 percent over the last comparable election cycle and invest in field to achieve this target. There is an ideological gap among voters. According to a Pew poll, 78 percent of consistent conservatives vote, but only 58 percent of consistent liberals do.
Consultants and donors routinely ask candidates how much money they are going to raise for their TV advertising budgets. They should also ask them how much they are going to raise for organizing voters. Why? Because while TV ads may help convince a voter whom to support, there is little evidence TV ads help turn out new voters. In fact, negative ad wars can turn off voters by reinforcing cynicism about politics.
Read Rep. Ellison’s entire commentary at The Nation.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon and a coalition of progressive leaders launched The Progressive Agenda to Combat Income Inequality, kicking off a campaign to ensure progressive voices are heard throughout the 2016 election cycle.
At the core of The Progressive Agenda is the principle that our economy must work for all Americans, not just the super-wealthy.
“The Progressive Agenda comes down to a very simple concept – we need to reward work again,” said de Blasio. “We need to reward work, not wealth.”
To address the pressures faced by working families, the agenda focuses on raising wages, lowering the cost of child care and higher education, and pursuing tax fairness that will put more money in the pockets of working families while ensuring that the wealthiest pay their fair share.
“We need a strong foundation for every child and every working family to thrive,” said Merkley. “To do this, we need to restore an economy that works for working Americans.”
The Progressive Agenda
To Lift the Floor for Working People
1. Raise the federal minimum wage, so that it reaches $15/hour, while indexing it to inflation.
2. Reform the National Labor Relations Act, to enhance workers’ right to organize and rebuild the middle class.
3. Pass comprehensive immigration reform to grow the economy and protect against exploitation of low-wage workers.
4. Oppose trade deals that hand more power to corporations at the expense of American jobs, workers’ rights, and the environment.
To Support Working Families
5. Pass national paid sick leave.
6. Pass national paid family leave.
7. Make Pre-K, after-school programs and childcare universal.
8. Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit.
9. Allow students to refinance student loan debt to take advantage of lower interest rates.
To Ensure Tax Fairness
10. Close the carried interest loophole.
11. End tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.
12. Implement the “Buffett Rule” so millionaires pay their fair share.
13. Close the CEO tax loophole that allows corporations to take advantage of “performance pay” write-offs.