Economic Inequality Solutions Make Gains in 2015

Posted on 04 Nov, 15 by Hayley Prim

In the 2014 midterm elections, many candidates ran away from core progressive beliefs and values. In turn, voters ran away from them.

But in 2015, the story is very different.

In yesterday’s elections, candidates across the country won by running on the type of concrete solutions to income inequality that voters are demanding. Moreover, the success of progressive economic policies can also be seen in places where voters had the opportunity to vote on proposals directly through ballot measures.

To be sure, 2015 is an off year for U.S. elections and races did not occur in every state or city. But in spite of that, yesterday’s results provide several data points that suggest a strong and growing trend of progressive momentum nationwide.

Tacoma, Washington joined a growing list of cities and states across the country to lift the floor for working people by raising the minimum wage when voters approved a ballot measure to increase it substantially to $12 an hour.

And in New Jersey, where election results also saw the Statehouse moving towards a more progressive makeup, the city of Elizabeth overwhelmingly passed a law expanding paid sick leave, so workers won’t be forced to choose between their health and their paycheck.

In Columbus, Ohio - the largest city in one of the most important Presidential battleground states - Andrew Ginther was elected Mayor by a wide margin of nearly 20 points. In this tough, open seat race, Ginther was able to break through by appealing to the economic issues that mattered most to Columbus voters. During the campaign he embraced progressive policies like universal pre-kindergarten, and after school in every neighborhood. And the results speak for themselves. Ginther will join those like fellow Ohioan Mayor Nan Whaley of Dayton on the frontlines of fighting for progressive change at the local level.

In Philadelphia - also the largest city in a key battleground state - Jim Kenney won the mayoral election with an overwhelming 85% of the vote, the largest percentage of the vote won by any Philadelphia mayoral candidate in a general election since 1931. Kenney ran on a purely progressive platform that included addressing income inequality, making pre-k universal and ending mass incarceration.

In Houston, progressive candidate Sylvester Turner ran on improving treatment and prevention as an alternative to mass incarceration, expanding afterschool, and standing up for comprehensive immigration reform. He finished first in yesterday’s voting and is well positioned to become mayor in the upcoming runoff.

Despite a small number of elections in 2015, the story of the year in politics is very clear: voters across the country are demanding progressive change. This momentum will only strengthen through 2016 and beyond.

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