“We have a senator who’s good for business,” he said. “It’s time for us to have a senator that’s good for the people of this state.”
- Former Democratic state Rep. Paul Sadler speaking on why he decided to run for US Senate. [LINK]
For some time our politics and economics have been steered by an assumption. That if the people and our government serve business first, eventually we will all benefit. The so-called “free market”, trickle-down, approach. It should be clear to anyone from the middle class on down that this assumption is false. As the unfairness and inequality of our political and economic systems have been on the rise, so have the bank accounts and balance sheets of corporations and the already wealthy. It only seems logical that potential candidates for office would see these issues as an opportunity to run and win.
Over the recent decades the great equalizers, things that built the American middle class, have been under attack. Pensions, unions, public education, higher education, affordable health care, Social Security, unemployment insurance, etc.. What we know as the social safety net. Two other things that built the middle class, that are talked about less, are business/corporate accountability and higher taxes on higher income/the progressive tax rate. The investments made in research and development (R&D) that began in the 1950′s in the government and at public universities paid off in the later years – one of them is called the internet.
But those kind of public investments are a thing of the past. They’ve been sacrificed to tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and corporations. They’ve been sacrificed to privatization schemes like toll roads. And some have just been sacrificed and are crumbling. But that’s where the opportunity lies for a politician today. It’s time to put first what’s right for the people, and the future of our country. It’s time for equal sacrifice from those (including corporations) with the most. It’s time for accountability from everyone (and corporations are people too).
What concerns the people most right now are jobs, health care, and the economy. But not just a job, but a job that pays a living wage. A job that pays enough, as Theodore Roosevelt so aptly put it, “..to make morality possible”.
We stand for a living wage. Wages are subnormal if they fail to provide a living for those who devote their time and energy to industrial occupations. The monetary equivalent of a living wage varies according to local conditions, but must include enough to secure the elements of a normal standard of living–a standard high enough to make morality possible, to provide for education and recreation, to care for immature members of the family, to maintain the family during periods of sickness, and to permit of reasonable saving for old age. [Emphasis added]
As a society we have failed until our economic and political standards are high enough to make morality possible. That’s why running on ideas like Franklin Roosevelt’s Economic Bill of Rights. The American people are ready for action that will help them and invest in our country’s future. Which is why President Obama’s recent speech was so well received.
But it’s also perplexing why, for all the good that is contained in the above quote from Sadler, a few lines later in the article he’s quoted as saying that he’s going to make his campaign about something completely different.
Sadler said he thinks the debate over the national debt, budget deficits and immigration will define the 2012 Senate race….
Sadler, or any Democrat for that matter, will have a hard enough time getting elected statewide or in areas like Williamson County. But their only chance is to make the election about the issues that matter to the people. If Sadler, or any other Democrat for that matter, makes their election campaign about issues that are polling in the single digits, they will have absolutely no chance of winning.
Texas and Williamson County are tough places for Democrats to win. But one of the main reasons they’re having trouble breaking through is because they’ve been running campaigns about issues that, for the most part, don’t matter to the people. In other words they’ve been unable to convince enough people that their election will make a difference in their daily lives or in their future. That means they’ve been running on issues that are no good for the people of this state. And until that changes, it’s unlikely their chances of winning will either.
The good news is there’s still time for all Democratic candidates, announced and those still pondering running, to make their campaigns about the issues that are good for the people.