Issues Over Party

The public has come around to several of the positions that liberals and progressives have been pushing for years. A year ago, Peter Dreier in The American Prospect magazine followed the results of various polls and showed that to be the case.

This is true on health care, taxes, gun Safety, criminal justice, abortion, education, and unions, and more.

On Health Care:
• 60 percent of Americans believe it is the federal government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have healthcare coverage.
• 60 percent of registered voters favor expanding Medicare to provide health insurance to every American.
• 58 percent of the public favors replacing Obamacare with a federally funded healthcare program providing insurance for all Americans.

On Taxes:
• 78 percent of Americans think some wealthy people don’t pay their fair share of taxes.
• 80 percent think some corporations don’t pay their fair share of taxes.
• 87 percent say it is critical to preserve Social Security, even if it means increasing Social Security taxes paid by wealthy Americans.

On Gun Safety:
• 84 percent of Americans support requiring background checks for all gun buyers.
• 77 percent of gun owners support requiring background checks for all gun buyers.

On Race and Criminal Justice:
• 84 percent of Americans believe police officers generally treat blacks and other minorities differently than they treat whites.
• 60 percent of Americans believe the recent killings of black men by police are part of a broader pattern of how police treat black Americans.

On Abortion:
• 58 percent of Americans believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

On Education:
• 63 percent of registered voters—including 47 percent of Republicans—favor making four-year public colleges and universities tuition-free.
• 59 percent of Americans favor free early-childhood education.

On Unions:
• 61 percent of Americans—including 42 percent of Republicans—approve of labor unions.

Thus, as Dreier proposed, “Most Americans are liberal, even if they don’t know it.” On many key issues progressives are in the majority. So why don’t we have movement towards accomplishing some of these goals. Conservative and right-wing folk push the Republican Party to adopt and push their agenda. When will progressives and liberals push Democrats similarly?

As Leonard Pitts has point out, “It’s not just opinion polls. It’s also presidential polls. Republicans have won the popular vote only once since 1992.”

You may ask how is it that so many Republicans win elections when they oppose so many issues that the public favor. It seems that some voters see Democratic candidates as different from the issues. The Republican propaganda machine is apparently successful in demonizing Democrats.

In the recent election, some people voted for Democratic issues but against Democrats. This suggests that Democrats should campaign on the issues and not the party.