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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 2/23/18

A Pledge to Transform the Resistance, and America

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  • And, an end to oligarchy politics through publicly-financed elections, bans on corporate and big-donor campaign funding, and other electoral reform; and, a change in party nominating processes to ensure that outsider candidates get a fair chance.

  • What Voters Want

    These are the kind of reforms rank-and-file Democrats want, according to polling data. In a recent Harvard-Harris poll, Democratic base voters were asked: "Do you support or oppose movements within the Democratic Party to take it even further to the left and oppose the current Democratic leaders?"

    52 percent of those polled said they support them. In a telling sign for the party's future, 69 percent of voters aged 18 to 34 agreed. As we wrote in October 2017, this desire is not limited to the "Bernie Bro" stereotype promoted by political insiders. This position has greater support among female voters (55 percent), Hispanic voters (65 percent), and African-American voters (55 percent) than it does among whites (46 percent) and men (49 percent).

    But support for this agenda is not limited to Democratic voters. 75 percent of Americans support more federal spending on infrastructure, according to Gallup, while 73 percent want the US to place more emphasis on alternative energy. In another poll, 75 percent of Trump voters supported "taking action to accelerate the development and use of clean energy" by funding community upgrades and community renewable projects.

    Other polls show strong support for labor unions, increasing the minimum wage, reducing inequality, getting big money out of politics, and other key elements of this agenda -- and that's without advocacy and support from either political party.

    The report's agenda is also buttressed by a recent economic growth from the Levy Institute showing that the cancellation of all student debt in this country would lead to significant growth and the creation of more than 1 million jobs.

    Working for Change

    If the resistance remains focused on Trump to the exclusion of other issues, Trump will continue to dominate the media conversation as he has done for the past year. The debate also needs to address people's lives and needs. Otherwise, voters may believe Democrats are uninterested in stagnating wages, soaring out-of-pocket health care costs, or the grim reality that the American majority -- 80 percent, according to one survey -- lives paycheck to paycheck.

    Voters want leaders who will work for change. While this agenda was not designed as a litmus test, it certainly represents a platform that activists can use to assess political candidates. Conversely, candidates can use it to drum up support, knowing that it is backed by strong policy analysis and good politics.

    It's also backed by an impressive and diverse group of initial signers. It includes leading activists like Nina Turner, Jane Fonda, James Zogby, and Gloria Steinem; labor leaders like Larry Cohen, Randi Weingarten, and Leo Gerard; environmentalists Annie Leonard and Bill McKibben; political thinkers like Naomi Klein and Zephyr Teachout; and leading economic thinkers like Robert Reich, James K. Galbraith, and Dean Baker.

    (I genuinely regret not listing them all, since I've had to leave out so many terrific people. You can see them all here.)

    There are many ways to look at this agenda: as a political statement, as an organizing tool, and as a unifying statement. I also think of it as "11 ways we can make our own lives better" -- as individuals, as members of our communities, and as citizens. You can read it in full, and sign your own name to it, here.

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    Richard Eskow Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

    Host of 'The Breakdown,' Writer, and Senior Fellow, Campaign for America's Future

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