Saturday, May 27, 2017

How the Trump era is pushing Democrats toward a new clarity


House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has announced that if the Democrats take the House in next year’s elections, within the first 100 hours they will pass a bill to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. While this might seem like just some unimportant posturing — Republicans will probably still have the Senate, and they have the White House, so such a bill would have almost no chance of becoming law — it shows something important that’s going on within the Democratic Party. To say the party is “moving left” is basically true, but too simplistic. The Trump presidency is pushing Democrats toward a new kind of clarity — but they’re still arguing over what form it will take. On the minimum wage, Democrats have been steadily upping their demands in the past few years, as Republican resistance to any increase has hardened. It started at $9, then became $10.10, then $12. At the start of the 2016 campaign, Bernie Sanders supported $15, and Hillary Clinton supported $12, but by the end of the race, she was on board with $15 as well (albeit with some caveats). The bill Democrats are now rallying behind would raise it gradually to $15 by 2024, then index it to inflation.

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