Democrats’ Vision vs. Republicans’ obstruction By Mark Fernald

Dear Readers:

A couple weeks ago a columnist for Seacoastonline.com (which includes Foster’s Daily Democrat in Dover) wrote an op-ed saying the Democratic Party was in ‘chaos’ and lacked vision. You can read the op-ed here if you wish: http://www.fosters.com/news/20170507/democratic-party-in-chaos

I responded with a letter to the editor which is copied below.

Earlier this week, the NYT had an article on the race for NJ governor saying that all the major Democratic candidates were pushing a progressive wish-list of ideas. The article suggested that this put the candidates out of the mainstream, not ‘centrist,’ and not ‘establishment.’

The ten issues I raised in my letter to the editor are all issues that polling indicates are supported (and in many cases, strongly supported) by a majority of Americans. Our winning strategy is not to worry about whether our ideas are “progressive” or “left” or “centrist.” Instead, we should hammer home that the change Democrats want is right for America.

As a party, we do need to shape our message. Your feedback is welcome.

Mark Fernald

To the Editor:

Last week, Jeff Chidester wrote that the Democratic Party in ‘disarray’ and lacking ‘vision.’ He seems to have no idea what our representatives have been voting on this year, so let me inform him. Republican positions are included for contrast.

Democrats believe that the wealthy should pay their fair share in taxes. It is a disgrace that Warren Buffett pays taxes at a lower rate than his secretary, and a disgrace that Republicans have stood in the way of every Democratic attempt to right this injustice.

Democrats support a substantial increase in the minimum wage to help the working poor and to reduce the number of people who seek assistance from government and charities. Republicans say no. Apparently, Republicans would be happy to eliminate the minimum wage altogether, and let people work for peanuts, regardless of the impact on the workers, their families, and society as a whole.

Democrats support action on global warming. Republicans put their heads in the sand, ignore science, and declare global warming a hoax.

Democrats believe in democracy. Democrats oppose gerrymandering, which is nothing more than rigging the system so that the will of the people is thwarted. Democrats support non-partisan drawing of election districts. Republicans want to keep playing games with voting districts.

Democrats think everyone should have access to health care through affordable health insurance. Republicans gleefully vote to take health insurance from millions, and to allow insurance companies to discriminate against those with pre-existing conditions.

Democrats support equal rights for everyone, regardless of their race, creed, sexual orientation or gender identity. Republicans have lost the fight over marriage equality, so they have set their sights on the infinitesimal number of transgender people in America.

Democrats understand that in politics, ‘he who pays the piper, calls the tune.’ Democrats support campaign finance reform and overturning the Citizens United decision so that billionaires are unable to buy our politicians. Republicans are oppose any change because they enjoy being the political patrons of the rich.

Democrats support the right of workers to unionize, so that they can bargain with their employers for better pay and working conditions. Republicans have been working for years to destroy unions.

Democrats want to rebuild our infrastructure. Rebuilding costs money. Raising more money means increasing taxes. Republicans oppose any increase in government revenue, no matter what the source (even closing loopholes), and no matter what the money will be used for (including rebuilding our infrastructure). Republican ideology means our roads and bridges continue to crumble.

Democrats support government action to protect our environment, our food supply, and our people from pollution and pesticides. Republicans used to say regulations should be subject to cost/benefit analysis. Now they simply refer to regulations with a sneer, roll back environmental protections wholesale, and work to gut the EPA.

This is a partial list of issues where Democrats completely agree—and Republicans are completely opposite. If you agree with the Democratic vision for change, join us at the polls in November 2018.

Mark Fernald

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