Who Do Republicans Listen To?

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The lovely folks at the Princeton University Press sent me a copy of the 2nd edition of Larry Bartels’ Unequal Democracy today. “Completely revised and updated,” they promise. I haven’t read it yet, of course, but I figured I’d browse through all the charts and find something interesting to post. Here’s one:

When Democrats took control of Congress in 2007, one of their first initiatives was a bill to raise the minimum wage, which had been eroding downward for more than a decade. Republicans refused to support an increase unless it was paired with a tax break for small businesses, and they made this stick by filibustering the bill.

This is despite the fact that literally everyone supported raising the minimum wage except for one tiny group: well-off Republicans, who were slightly opposed. Nevertheless, this tiny group controlled the entire process, with Republicans doing their bidding even though 70 percent of their own party wanted the minimum wage to go up. In the end, small businesses got their tax break and the bill passed. It was the only way to get Republican legislators to pay attention to the will of literally the entire country except for rich Republicans.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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