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7 Winning Issues for Democrats (If They Only Had the Guts to Fight)

It's not enough for progressives to count on Republicans to lose in 2012. Democrats need to find some issues to fight for. Here's a few suggestions.

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But it shouldn't matter. Democrats should take note instead of a poll that hit swing states Ohio, Missouri, Montana and Minnesota and asked voters about raising taxes on large incomes to reduce the deficit. The higher the income proposed for taxes, the more willing voters were to increase the tax burden.  Sixty-six percent of Ohioans were willing to raise taxes on those who make over $150,000 a year, while 78 percent of them would tax millionaires more.

More importantly for Democrats looking for an issue for the campaign trail, 48 percent of Ohioans would be more likely to vote for Senator Sherrod Brown (who, it should be noted, joined Bernie Sanders in his Senate floor speech) if he led the fight in Congress for a millionaire's tax. Forty-seven percent of Minnesotans would be more likely to support their senator, Amy Klobuchar, and 42 percent of Montanans would be more likely to support Jon Tester.

Overall, some 72 percent of voters support higher taxes on those who make over $250,000 a year, including some 54 percent of Republicans. The rich are getting richer and the unemployed aren't getting any closer to employment. We've had years and years of tax cuts under the false claim that they create jobs. It's time for Democrats to point out that those wealthy job creators simply aren't creating jobs—and then raise their taxes and...

1. Create some jobs.

Right-wing columnist Michael Medved's worst nightmare goes something like this:

”In the president’s rousing vision, the new jobs program, designated 'America Works,' would hire people immediately for desperately needed federal projects while simultaneously providing money from Washington for positions at the state and local level, as well as partially subsidizing new jobs in the private sector.

Warming to his message, Obama declared: 'Cynics will respond to this plan the way they always react to new ideas and fresh starts. They will say, “You can’t do that” or claim that “we can’t afford it.” But Americans know better. They know that we can’t afford not to act, or to protect a stale, shabby status quo at a time of national crisis.'

'How can we say we can’t afford to start hiring again, to do all the jobs that desperately need doing, when all around us we see accumulations of wealth unprecedented in human history?'”

It's funny how Republicans' worst nightmare looks like a progressive dream. Putting millions of Americans back to work? Subsidizing jobs by taxing the corporations that have so far failed to hire? Where do we sign up?

Medved wrote this in a plea to his fellow conservatives to wake up and do something about jobs. When even one of the nation's far-right voices sees the need for a jobs program—even if only to forestall the impact a real jobs program might have on the progressive vote—and the Democratic president is doing nothing, what's wrong?

Democrats need to get out in front of terrible jobs numbers and right-wing critique. They need to articulate a jobs program now. Thirty-nine percent of the population thinks that this recession isn't a recession—it's a permanent decline for the country and the state of all of our lives. Forty-seven percent think that unemployment benefits should be extended even if it means increasing the deficit (44 percent think they should not be) and 60 percent are either “somewhat” or “very” worried that someone in their household will soon be out of work.

Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton, called for a renewal of the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps on Friday when jobs numbers came out. Michael Medved desperately fears a bold move by the administration on job creation.