Democrats Are Spoiling for an Internal Battle About Raising the Minimum Wage

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If there is one thing that defines politics over the last decade or so, it is that Republicans cannot be trusted to compromise (nor should you want to compromise with supervillain-evil politics). Because of this, a new model of change is needed—a broader sea change, one that involves actually making the case for the thing you want instead of pre-compromising and whining about how Republicans are not respecting norms. They never will; you won’t get any credit with them, or with voters, for trying to appease their vile politics. You have to try to defeat them.

And yet! Here we are, with today’s story in Politico about an internal Democratic schism forming over raising the minimum wage, a massively popular policy that many of them still cannot get their heads around supporting without compromise.

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According to Politico, progressive Democratic leaders are reportedly committed to a $15-an-hour minimum wage bill while some moderate Democrats are floating an alternate bill that would tie the minimum wage to the local cost of living—ensuring that those in poorer areas remain poorer. Thirteen Democrats, including Rep. Terri Sewell and Rep. Lucy McBath of Georgia, and Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota, are pushing this alternative bill, per the site.

Their policy reasoning is flawed—supporters of the alternate bill argue that increasing the wage over a period of only five years would result in lost jobs, which is a spurious conservative talking point—but their political reasoning is even worse:

Some moderates have argued that Sewell’s bill has interest from Republicans, unlike the Democrats’ dream proposal, but long-time Democrats argue they need to send the message to their base.

This is not going to happen. It is a fairy tale. Republicans are not going to help you pass this—or any—minimum wage proposal. You think Mitch McConnell is going to do this? That Mitch McConnell? No, he won’t.

It’s better to pass the actually good policy than chase a false dream of bipartisanship on a far worse policy, which disadvantages voters in the areas you’re supposed to represent, and in doing so, lend your support to a party of snakes and villains who would trade the lives of every poor person in America for a tax cut to Chevron. Don’t pretend like Republicans want anything that would help a minimum-wage worker; you’re fooling yourself, and your voters, if you think they do.

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About the author

Libby Watson

Splinter politics writer. libby.watson@splinternews.com