The Democratic Party Needs To Become More Liberal

The Democratic Party Needs To Become More Liberal

Have you been happy the Democratic Party's choices?

Jake VP.
Jake VP.

We've all heard it: if only Sanders was the nominee we wouldn't have President Trump. This could be true, but looking at this one scenario isn't too helpful. Instead, we need to take a look at the Democratic Party as a whole.

The party is only going more and more left, with Sanders being an excellent example, and that looks to be a good thing for the party. For one thing politicians, even Democrats seem to overestimate how conservative their constituents are. Also, this has increased the number of people running, and with opposing Trump a lot of people are getting into politics.

But the Democratic establishment does not seem to be on board. The biggest example being that "prominent Democratic House members and DCCC [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee]officials making their preferences clear early on in a race, telling outsider and often more progressive candidates to run for lower office or wait for another cycle."

But this approach is all wrong, especially if districts are more left than we imagine them to be. By backing the more moderate choice the DCCC, and the Democratic Party has decided to alienate liberals. Also as the Republican party only goes farther and farther right, if the Democrats seek to find the middle, they will end up further right as well.

One example is how the Democrat's lack of support for unions has come to hurt them. Right-to-work laws being one of the biggest drains on unions, it is startling to note that they have"decreased Democratic presidential vote share by 3.5 percent." The New York Magazine also notes that "The effect of right-to-work laws, according to this research, are large enough that it could have easily cost Hillary Clinton Wisconsin and Michigan—two states that went right-to-work before the 2016 elections."

Also given how unions have played an important role in funding the Democratic Party it is surprising to see the Democrats letting them fall apart.

What needs to happen is a more grass-roots level approach to the Democratic Party. Right now, in the time of "Resist Trump," the energy is here, and the DCCC is only shooting itself in the foot by meddling in elections on the other side of the country.

The Democratic Party is doing no favors by seeking to be centrist, especially when so many voters have their minds made up about certain issues. For instance, essentially all Democrats are pro-choice, and so they have already lost anyone who is pro-life. So instead of trying to win over an economic conservative, who will never vote Democrat because of their pro-life stance, the Democratic Party should be investing in people who it's base are excited to vote for.

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Photo by Mirah Curzer on Unsplash

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An Analysis Of Richard Wilkinson's "How Economic Inequality Harms Societies"

Why we find a way to fix Income Inequality

Richard Wilkinson is a British social epidemiology which is the study of patterns, causes, and effects of health and disease conditions in populations. He is best known for writing a book in 2009 called “The Sprit Level,” which talks about how income inequality effect eleven different health and social problems in modern nations (Mostly Western Democracies). These are physical health, mental illness, drug abuse, education, imprisonment, obesity, social mobility, trust and community life, violence, teenage pregnancies, and child well-being.

In 2011, Wilkinson did a TED-Ed talk reflecting on how income inequality affects many different aspects of society— not just the economy. In this lecture, he first shows us a graphic of life expectancy vs. GNI (Gross National Income) showing us that the U.S has the highest GNI but has the fourth lowest life expectancy compared to all the modern nations. Then, he shows how much richer the top 1/5 of society compared to the bottom 1/5. Singapore had the highest inequality out of all the advanced countries; the top 1/5 is 9.7 times richer than the bottom 1/5. The U.S was second with the top 1/5 being 8.5 times more affluent than the bottom 1/5. Japan had the lowest income gap of just a 3.4 difference followed by the Scandinavian countries Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.

Wilkinson goes back to all of the health/social problems that stated from his book, and he puts it on one index; the U.S was at the very top of health/social issues. The correlation of the income gap to social issues was practically the same. He states that in developing countries national income and economic growth in markets are the ones who see increases in fixing health/social problems, this is not the case for richer modern nations, especially in the western hemisphere, it is more about the inequality. He made a comparison of people in prison, and lo and behold Singapore along with the U.S have the most prisoners per 100,000 in the modern countries. He states that it is not about crime in these unequal societies it’s about punitive/harsher sentencing along with the U.S and Singapore being the last modern nations to keep the death penalty. Wilkinson also points out that the Scandinavian countries have better social mobility, going up the food chain. It is ironic because Wilkinson states in his talk that, “If Americans want to live the American Dream they should go to Denmark.”

I am very interested in the topic of income inequality. I think that out of all the problems we face in our society income inequality and climate change are the two biggest we must immediately attack. This is why I supported U.S Senator Bernie Sanders for president because he talked about these issues many times. But the most amazing thing I saw when I was watching this video was, at one point, Wilkinson put up a chart that showed that people in states with the most income inequality in the U.S trust each other less. These were mainly more conservative states and, as I was looking at this chart, I discovered something. The states with the best income equality were North Dakota, New Hampshire, Utah, Wisconsin, Vermont, Indiana, Minnesota, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Kansas, Wyoming, and Michigan. Guess what they all had in common? They all voted for Bernie Sanders. The higher inequality voted for Hillary Clinton, the more conservative candidate on the Democratic side.

I thought that was pretty amazing, but it reinforces Wilkinson’s point, if states have lower income inequality, they will not just be willing to trust each other but they will be willing to trust their elected officials who want to continue the equal opportunity of economic equality. The interesting thing that opened my mind was Japan and Sweden have the lowest income inequalities in the world, but they handle it very differently. Sweden has huge differences in earnings but narrows that gap through taxation along with a generous welfare state with many job benefits. But Japan has smaller differences in wages for most jobs, so everyone is taxed at a lower rate, less welfare, fewer benefits. He states that in the U.S., it is very much a hybrid with the federalist system we have. But all that matters to him is that you close that income gap somehow.

I think that in American society, with jobs that pay very much differently, we should go with the Scandinavian model of taxing the wealthy at a higher rate that will balance out inequality. We used to do this as a nation in the 1930’s to the 70’s until Ronald Reagan became president and introduced “trickle down theory.” Ever since the 80’s the wealth gap has got larger and larger in the U.S, but hopefully, someone will step up to fix this massive problem we have right now. If you want more information about American income inequality, check out Secretary of Labor Robert Reich movie called "Inequality for All," which I highly recommend.

Cover Image Credit: Huffington Post

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Pete Buttigieg Is On Everybody's Radar Now, But Can Mayor Pete Really Become President Pete?

Charisma, polyglot and success in reviving a Midwestern city make him a viable candidate for president. But will this hold?


At the time of writing this, at least 18 people are vying for the Democratic Party nomination to challenge Donald Trump during the Presidential election in 2020. This includes some heavyweights, such as Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Kamala Harris and Senator Cory Booker. There are also fringe candidates, like Andrew Yang. Then there are the formerly fringe candidates. One person fits that bill: Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

Pete Buttigieg has erupted as a potential candidate for the Presidency. He recently took 9% of a recent poll in Iowa, the state that begins the general election season. The question is this: why has he gained so much traction? There are several potential reasons.

First, Mayor Pete has, at least compared to Trump, significant governmental experience as the mayor of South Bend. He has been mayor since 2011. He began his time in office at the age of 29 and has since been re-elected with 80% of the vote in 2015. His success in the city has shown: the city experienced significant growth following a population decline between 2000-2010.

The Mayor has also spearheaded some rebirth projects in the city, including converting the old Studebaker plant in town into a tech hub, conversion of the city streets downtown, and millions of dollars of private investment into the city. As a result, Mayor Pete can tout his success here as examples of why he could be president.

Other supporters claim that he is immensely talented and intelligent (though I do not like this reasoning). Mayor Pete was a Rhodes Scholar after attending Harvard. He knows myriad languages, including Norwegian. He is well-acquainted with various philosophies, including that of well-known intellectual Antonio Gramsci, whom his father has written on.

Though this line of thinking is flawed (I mean, Julian Castro attended Stanford, Cory Booker was also a Rhodes Scholar and Elizabeth Warren lectured at Harvard Law School), it is easy to see WHY he resonates: when compared to the President, Pete is levels above him.

Finally, a lot of what he says resonates with people. He speaks about his faith with fervor and honesty, something I appreciate greatly. He talks about the virtues of progressive politics and supporting policies like universal healthcare, labor unionism, combating climate change among other policies. His youth ideals combined are valued by many.

However, Pete still has his critics. Concerns about the gentrification of the city, wiretapping, and targeting of vacant properties that led to accusations of targeting of minorities in the city are what concerns many people. There were also previous issues with the police chief in the town, who recorded conversations, and who he demoted, which raised concerns for racial bias.

Whether or not this affects the primary at all is anyone's guess. However, he has momentum. Maybe Mayor Pete will become President Pete someday.

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