Sunday, March 19, 2006

Progressive pocketbook issues not seen as "liberal"

David Sirota has an especially intriguing and important paragraph in a recent interesting column on the Working Families Party.

First, the background. The WFP is a "third party" in New York where the electoral laws permit "fusion" voting. Under this arrangement, more than one party can nominate the same candidate and votes under the various labels will count. Historically, the "American Labor" party was a fusion ticket pon which many socialist garment workers were able to vote for FDR in 1936 without voting for the dreaded Tammany Hall Democrats. Today, there are a number of fusion tickets in NY, including Conservative, Right to Life, and Liberal. The WFP is the newest.

Now, for the interesting paragraph

Voters in two of the most closely-decided Bush states were read a description of the WFP as a party that fights on "pocketbook" issues "like the outsourcing of jobs to other countries, the cost of prescription drugs and increasing the minimum wage." Voters then rated the party on a scale where 1 was extremely liberal and 9 extremely conservative. Fifty-seven percent of voters labeled the WFP at 5 or above.

Hmmm, maybe if the Dems pursued a strategy of "pocketbook" progressivism/populism, they might just have the potentional to garner a fair share of votes from "non-liberal" working class voters.

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