There are a lot of reason to feel hopeful about November. We’ve been winning. And even though the “generic” gap seems to be narrowing (between those who would prefer an unnamed Democrat to an unnamed Republican), there’s reason to think it’s wide.
We’re also making progress on redistricting. A state like Pennsylvania — which in 2012 gave Democratic Congressional candidates 51% of the votes but Republicans 13 of the 18 seats — is an example. It’s top court recently struck down the current districts as “clearly, plainly and palpably” unconstitutional. In November, if we get half the votes, we might get half the seats. What a concept.
But our Republican friends know all this, and will be doing what they can to hold their lock on power.
Their efforts will take many forms, but the one I think that could be most powerful is simply this — another round of highly publicized $1,000 bonuses in September and October.
Yes, those bonuses may affect only 5% of the workforce, if that. (The first round went to about 4 million out of 154 million workers — 2.6%.) But you don’t see a lot of stories headlined: 97.4% Of U.S. Workers Fail To Get Bonuses.
Giving 4 million workers $1,000 costs $4 billion. It sounds like a lot, but Exxon alone makes that much in 90 days. It would have been easy for corporate America to give those $1,000 bonuses while Obama was president — but why help Obama?
It will be easy to do it again this Fall, crediting the Republican tax cut and deregulation.
What’s another $4 billion to maintain Republican control of the United States government? The Koch brothers alone are worth $96 billion.
What the Republicans running in 2018 won’t remind you is that things were headed in the right direction long before Republicans got this lock on power. Obama handed Trump a string of 75 consecutive monthly gains in job growth . . . a 4.7% unemployment rate . . . the beginnings of wage growth . . . a Debt finally shrinking again relative to the economy as a whole . . . and record corporate profits.
They won’t remind you that, thanks to their massively irresponsible tax cut (Reagan budget director David Stockman’s characterization), the National Debt is now again growing faster than the economy as a whole.
They won’t remind you that they are borrowing an extra $1.5 trillion over ten years — in your name — not to put Americans to work at good jobs rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure but to hand out tax cuts.
And they surely won’t remind you that most of that money is going to those at the very top, including real estate developers like Trump.
Never mind that! YOU get $930! and YOU get $930! and YOU get $930! as I’ve written before.
Or in this case: YOU get $1,000! And YOU get $1,000!
What I think we need to do to preempt this October surprise is to mock it relentlessly — starting now.
Predict — loudly — that the same businesses that showered millions of workers with $1,000 bonuses — for a total equal to roughly 90 days of Exxon’s profits — will doubtless be showering twice as many workers (which is to say 5% of the workforce this time) with $2,000 bonuses — all of which will still cost corporate America just $16 billion . . . which sounds like a lot, but the Koch brothers alone are worth six times that much.
So the two things to do if you’re among the lucky few who do get those $2,000 bonuses are:
(1) Take them! You’ve earned them!
(2) Vote Democrat.
Because it’s the Democrats, not the Republicans, who fight to get you affordable health care and a higher minimum wage; the Democrats, not the Republicans, who fight for working families and consumer protections. The Democrats who gave us Social Security and Medicare and the social safety net that Republicans have fought every step of the way.
Expose the ruse over and over, week after week, long before those $2,000 bonuses are even announced, so people expect corporate America to try to keep the government in a Republican headlock with those headlines. When the bonuses materialize, voters — who are not dumb — will be glad to get them (as we all should be glad they did), but see them for what they are.
And if they’re just $1,000 again instead of $2,000? How cheap and insulting is that?
Make no mistake: I hope corporations give their workers raises and bonuses, just as they could easily have afforded to do in the last years of the Obama administration. I just don’t want anyone fooled — if they do it this summer or fall — as to why they’re doing it.