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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Support for “free” trade and welfare reform also sapped poor and working class support for the Dems.

As the Democratic Party increasingly focuses on social security and the minimum wage as key issues for a more populist approach as the key to future victories, John Russo, long time director of the Center for Working Class Studies in Youngstown Ohio, looks back at two other issues that played an important role in sapping working class support for the Dems in the 90’s.
Here’s his analysis of Ohio:

In January 2014, we celebrate two anniversaries – the beginning of the War on Poverty (1964) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA 1994). So it is a good time to consider how these two programs affected the working class and how they continue to shape working-class political attitudes towards the Democratic Party…
Together, NAFTA and welfare reform give poor and working-class voters, and the community and labor groups that advocate for their interests, good reason to feel betrayed by the Democratic Party. In Ohio in 1992, for example, labor and community groups engaged in massive organizing efforts to get President Clinton elected. Yet within four years, Clinton’s trade and welfare policies had undermined both good paying jobs and social and economic support structures.
Because of this betrayal, it would take more than a decade for Democrats to regain enough support to win statewide offices in Ohio…While support for Democrats reemerged nominally in 2006 and 2008 in Ohio and nationally, that support remains fragile and often relies on voters suspending their disbelief in Democratic Party politics.

You can read the whole analysis HERE

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