On her MSNBC program, Rachel Maddow explained how Scott Walker and Republicans around the country are doing a giant favor for Democrats.
Here is the video from MSNBC:
After explaining that D.C. Republicans are stuck in a 1990s culture war time warp, Rachel Maddow focused on the action in the Midwestern states, “This big shift that is happening in Republican politics is happening not in Washington. It is happening in the states. This is footage from the Michigan state capitol last night where thousands of people protested and several were arrested. They were protesting the package of bills just signed by Michigan’s Republican governor Rick Snyder who is vying Wisconsin governor Scott Walker for the Dick Cheney Prize as the Republican who does the most good for Democratic politics. As the Republican who most unifies and mobilizes Democrats and Independents and even many Republicans against really unpopular extremism in the Republican Party.”
She discussed Michigan, “Gov. Snyder’s union stripping. His imposition of what’s being calling financial martial law to rip contracts, union rights, and even local elections away from Michigan cities and towns if Snyder decides to. His massive new taxes on the old and the poor in Michigan in order to give away those revenues to corporations as tax breaks to not even fix the hole in the budget. This is an agenda that has shocked and galvanized and angered a lot of people in Michigan, just as it has in Wisconsin.”
After showing the negative headlines for Walker the day of his union busting bill signing Rachel Maddow continued, “This is the key. This is the most important thing to pay attention to in trying to determine whether democrats are going to be able to turn the pyric nature of this Republican victory in Wisconsin into something that both stops what the Republicans are doing here and exacts a political cost from the Republicans from having done it in the first place.”
Maddow talked about Ohio Democrats’ plan for a statewide referendum if the Republicans pass a union stripping bill. She also highlighted the historic political disaster that befell the Republicans after they tried this same stunt in 1958.
She said that Democrats need to be reminded that their base is working people, “Democrats do not always remember that their base is people who have to work for a living. Democrats do not always remember that the corporate interest party is the other guys, and that their supposed to represent people who the corporate interests would prey on if they didn’t have somebody defending them. Democrats don’t always remember that, but when Democrats do remember that they usually reap great electoral reward for it. When Democrats push for economically populist ideas, when they push for things that economically benefit working people, it is the closest thing there is to electoral magic for the Democratic Party.”
Maddow referred back to the success Democrats had with economic populism and minimum wage initiatives in 2006, and said, “This is the most potent political issue that Democrats have. It energizes Democratic voters in a way that almost no other issue does. Economic populism. This is the reason the Democratic Party exists. Defending people who work for a living and advancing their interests. Economic populism wins for Democrats every time. If you want a Democrat to win an election, put economic populism on the ballot. Put something like a minimum wage initiative on the ballot. Put Republican efforts to strip union rights on the ballot…”
The MSNBC host Democrats look at these headlines across Wisconsin, and say enjoy your signing ceremony, Gov. This is the best gift you could have ever given us. When economic populism is on the ballot Democrats win. In part because it’s not just liberals who support things like raising the minimum wage, it’s conservatives too. You don’t get 76% of the vote for something with only liberals voting, particularly in Missouri. What happens when Democrats decide to champion the cause of the rights of people who work for a living is that they broaden their base of support.”
Rachel Maddow concluded by explaining why recall and ballot measures are the ways that Michigan and Wisconsin Democrats will catch the tiger by the tail. She also mentioned how Missouri Republicans are helping Democrats jump start the economic populist movement there by trying to undo the ballot referendum passed 2006 minimum wage increase.
Rachel Maddow was right on the money. Politically speaking, Republicans like Walker, Snyder, and Kasich are doing the Democratic Party a huge favor. They are taking states that might have been in play for 2012 and are in the process of turning them solidly Democratic. The GOP decided to play on the Democrats home turf, and they are getting trounced. If taxes are the Republicans turf, working people belong to the Democrats.
As the 2010 midterm election demonstrated Democratic voters don’t care about tax cuts. Democrats tried to make repealing the Bush tax cuts their national message in 2010, and were rewarded for their efforts with low voter turnout, and a trouncing at the polls. Taxes are not a make or break issue for most Democratic voters, but when the discussion turns to economic populism, Democrats can’t lose.
Just as the GOP has branded itself the party of low taxes, the Democratic Party has a decades long history of battling for working people. Polls show that Republicans are traditionally more trusted on taxes, but Democrats are more trusted on understanding what it’s economically like for working people. This is an ingrained bias in the minds of voters which has been proven time and time again to be true.
Republican governors around the country began a war that they are destined to lose. Republicans in four swing states have fundamentally altered the 2012 election landscape with their power grabs. Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Missouri could have all been up for grabs, but each of these governors has turned Independents and some Republicans against them to such a degree that they have wrecked the immediate political future of the party in their home states.
Like George W. Bush did with his blundering Iraq War, the Republican Party has gotten the Democrats back in touch with their values and identity.