Vot­ers de­cided to re­ject Trump­ism in the House

Orlando Sentinel - - OPINION -

Demo­cratic Party, many of them mem­bers of trade unions whose strength in num­bers gave them an in­creas­ing share of the gains from eco­nomic growth. Their long eco­nomic slide has gen­er­ated the kind of frus­tra­tions that dem­a­gogues through­out his­tory have twisted into rage at “them.”

Mean­while, most eco­nomic gains have gone to the top 1 per­cent, whose wealth is now greater than the com­bined wealth of the bot­tom 90 per­cent — giv­ing them enough po­lit­i­cal mus­cle to de­mand and get tax cuts, Wall Street bailouts, cor­po­rate sub­si­dies and reg­u­la­tory roll­backs. Th­ese in turn have cre­ated even more wealth at the top.

Th­ese were all trends be­fore Trump. Yet Democrats failed to re­verse them, even though Democrats oc­cu­pied the White House most of th­ese years (and dur­ing four of them con­trolled both houses of Con­gress). Trump has wors­ened them by slash­ing taxes on the wealthy and cor­po­ra­tions, whit­tling back the Af­ford­able Care Act and loos­en­ing re­stric­tions on Wall Street.

Jobs may be back, but they pay squat, es­pe­cially com­pared with the ris­ing costs of hous­ing, health care and ed­u­ca­tion. And they’re less se­cure than ever. One in 5 is now held by a worker un­der con­tract with­out any un­em­ploy­ment in­sur­ance, sick leave or re­tire­ment sav­ings.

Which pre­sum­ably is why Trump de­cided to fo­cus the midterms on hate and fear rather than on the econ­omy.

He thereby cre­ated a large open­ing for Democrats aim­ing for 2020. They can be­come the party of the bot­tom 90 per­cent by cre­at­ing a mul­tira­cial, mul­ti­eth­nic coali­tion to wrest back con­trol of our econ­omy and democ­racy.

They would fo­cus on two big things: First, raise the pur­chas­ing power of the bot­tom 90 per­cent through stronger unions, a larger wage sub­sidy (start­ing with a big­ger earned in­come tax credit), and Medi­care for all.

Sec­ond, get big money out of pol­i­tics through pub­lic fi­nanc­ing of elec­tions, full dis­clo­sure of all sources of po­lit­i­cal fund­ing, and an end to the re­volv­ing door be­tween busi­ness and gov­ern­ment.

The di­rec­tion couldn’t be clearer. It is the Democrats’ hour.

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