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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

‘Progressive Legislative Exchanges’ Needed to Tap Dem Ideas

Veteran congressional staffer Bill Goold is doing some creative strategic thinking over at the HuffPo, where today he shares “Building Progressive Staying Power,” proposing the establishment of “a progressive legislative exchange” for shaping and refining ideas into legislative reforms. As Goold rolls it out:

The resurgent progressive movement needs to think more long-term, come together quickly, and systematically build a Progressive Legislative Exchange to share and hone a steady, perpetual stream of the best, actionable ideas that progressives and liberals, near and far, have to offer for public and private sector problem-solving. This is a very egalitarian, 21st century idea whose time has come and is all the more attainable because of the Internet and other far-flung communication capabilities. Progressive leaders and activists have it within our grasp to organize and create a permanent incubator and clearinghouse for conceptualizing and refining progressive legislation to serve the public interest and address myriad problems confronting our nation and our world that will connect and empower imaginative thinkers inside and outside of Congress as never before.
…Imagine an organized intersection on-line and otherwise through which progressives can exchange, funnel, and refine ideas and proposals for possible legislation that interested Members of Congress and their dedicated hard-working, over-stretched staff can easily survey and pick and choose for possible further development, introduction, and advancement in the House and Senate. Conversely, this Progressive Legislative Exchange could also make it possible for Members of Congress and their staff to efficiently post or otherwise make available any pieces of legislation they have conceived and want to further refine before the bill(s) and/or amendment(s) are formally introduced, subjected to hearings, and voted upon.

Among Goold’s interesting examples of ideas that can be shaped into legislation:

Provide a tax credit and other financial incentives to enable all taxpayers to invest more reliably in socially and environmentally responsible companies that employ Americans;


Establish enforceable worker rights (e.g. freedom of association, prohibition against job discrimination) and environmental safeguards as cornerstones for all future U.S. trade agreements;

Goold cites a compelling need to “capitalize more fully upon this rare window of opportunity when lasting, historic change is attainable because of last year’s elections.” He see’s the exchanges as a unique way Dems can leverage “our existing comparative strengths,” including “a stronger hand in the free-wheeling intellectual marketplace of ideas” and faith in government, in glaring contrast to “the pinched, narrower marketplace of commercial ideas and self-interested, short-term profit-making” of the GOP.

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