While much has been written about the Democrats’ loss of white working class voters a year ago, the lower turnout among traditionally Democratic urban voters should be of equal concern. A winning Democratic strategy in 2018 must address both.
At the core, it's often the same concerns that unite these groups of voters. When people don't believe that leaders hear their concerns or are standing up for them, it shouldn't be a shock that they stay home -- or vote for any politician that promises to shake up the system.
After seven years of Republican control, Congress is on the wrong track for middle class Americans and those trying to get into the middle class. People are working hard, often at multiple jobs, and playing by the rules but see their families' futures in jeopardy. Neglected infrastructure leads to disastrous results, as seen in the drinking water in Flint, the shoreline of Lake St Clair or crumbling roads everywhere. Bad trade deals coupled with advances in technology threaten job security and a living wage.
Gov. Snyder’s corporate tax cut hasn’t produced the promised jobs with higher wages but instead resulted in higher taxes for seniors and working families, higher tuition costs and rising student debt. And yet Congress is pursuing even more tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest of the wealthy. Failing policies have left our K-12 students falling behind, putting our future at risk.
If Democrats want to take back Congress in 2018, we need candidates who will unite and inspire voters and lead a new movement for the middle class -- a movement focused on education and training that leads to better paying jobs, while protecting our air and water and restoring faith in our government.
There is no better place to begin that movement than Michigan’s 9th Congressional District, home of the Reagan Democrats and the Obama-to-Trump voters. Although several fine Democratic candidates may join the race, I believe Andy Levin’s vision, background and experience make him uniquely qualified to reach key voters and build a coalition for change to rebuild our economy and our disappearing middle class.
While he has a family with a long proud history of public service, Andy Levin has spent most of his working life outside of government. He has a strong track record of bold accomplishments and will bring a fresh approach, based on values that represent the best of Michigan.
When he served in state government, Andy Levin demonstrated his ability to get things done during Michigan’s great recession by creating the largest job-retraining program in the country. He has a long history of fighting for workers’ rights and human rights.
For the last six years Andy Levin has been working as a private sector entrepreneur,
helping communities throughout Michigan transform commercial and industrial buildings to be more energy and water efficient and add renewable energy – creating good jobs while improving public health, air and water quality.
Most importantly, Andy Levin brings an authentic desire to unite Americans in a moral quest for a just society. That means pursuing bottom-up economics to restore the middle class; fighting a moral and economic crusade to save our planet; recognizing the need for full rights and opportunities for everyone; and reviving our democracy to bring everyone’s voice to the table.
It's time to stop the race to the bottom and end the era of divide-and-conquer politics. In this moment of political confusion, people are looking for leaders they can trust.
I believe Andy Levin will be a strong, consistent voice for working families in Congress, and will bring the integrity and the bold ideas needed to restore the dignity and value of work and defend the rights of all.
David Bonior is a former Congressman from Macomb County and founder and chairman of American Rights at Work, a union advocacy organization.