As Bernie Sanders Is Showing, This Country Is Much More Progressive Than You Think
With the races for the presidential nominations heating up, and Iowa and New Hampshire just a stone’s throw away, it is time for Americans to come to terms with the undeniable truth: We are a country of equality-loving, regulation-supporting, bleeding-blue liberals.
Despite the political division in Washington, the far-right rancor being spewed by G.O.P. candidates, and the contention in the Democratic race over Wall Street, campaign finance reform, universal health care, and how to handle ISIS, poll after poll shows that the people of this country strongly support progressive, liberal and democratic socialist ideas.
We just don’t like the linguistic packaging.
On wealth inequality, polls find that “a strong majority” of U.S. citizens believe the current situation is an urgent problem (including one-half of Republicans and two-thirds of independents), and think the current income and wealth distribution is unfair.
Despite Republican fear-mongering about big government, Americans “favor taxing the wealthy to expand aid to the poor,” and want Congress to rectify this inequalityby levying “heavy taxes on [the] rich” and increasing rates on people making over $1 million a year.
Americans also support steep progressive reform on Wall Street, with 50% to 58% of likely voters in favor of breaking up the big financial institutions.
Concerning the infusion of money in politics, Americans want campaign finance reform “with near unanimity,” and half would personally vote for a law establishing the government funding of federal campaigns. The support for reform is strong across party lines, with a prodigious 80% of Republicans, 84% of Independents, and 90% of Democrats believing money plays too large a role in the political process. Other polls show three in four Americans think there is too much money in politics and disagree with the concept of unregulated campaign finance.
Americans also support a substantial raise for low-wage workers, with 63% in favor of a $15 minimum wage by 2020, and 75% in favor of $12.50 by the same year. Other polls show that a majority of swing-state Republican voters support an increase, and 69% of working people favor an increase to $15. Concerning workers’ rights, a majority also want to improve scheduling for chain-store and fast-food restaurant employees.
On the power of money and big business in general, 75% of Americans think large corporations have too much influence in the country. With top CEOs making 373 times what their workers do, Americans think the government should take action to narrow the gap: one-third of Republicans want to cap the income of corporate executives, and 59% of Americans support government restriction of CEO pay.
Likewise, there is very strong support for universal health care. Just over 50% of Americans support a single-payer system, and 65% of voters think every American should have access to quality healthcare. Most Americans would be willing to pay higher taxes so everyone could have care, and put more faith in the government’s ability to hold down health-care costs than the private sector’s. 58% of Americans support a Medicare-for-all system, and a majority of Americans think the government should ensure coverage. A majority of voters in Republican states support Medicaid expansion as well, as do 56% of Virginians, including 55% of Republicans. A majority of Americans also support Social Security, with 65% of Americans in favor of its expansion.
On paid family and sick leave, four in five Americans support legislation requiring employers to offer paid parental leave (and even more support paid sick leave). Other polls have similar findings: 70% support paid sick leave, 67% support paid maternal leave, and 55% support paid paternity leave.
On ISIS, Americans oppose military action, with 65% of Americans against sending special forces to the Middle East, and 76% against sending conventional ground troops.
Other polls show that a majority of Americans support the regulation of CO2 as a pollutant, with over half of all parties — Democrats (80%), Republicans (54%), Independents (60%) — in agreement.
U.S. citizens also want better trade policies, with almost two-thirds favoring some form of trade restriction.
And on police reform, 86% of Americans think police should be required to use body cameras, and 87% are in favor of independent, outside investigations when police kill unarmed civilians.
Americans are hemorrhaging democratic socialism!
We are a people who idolize Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, Jesus Christ, Mother Teresa — individuals who represent solidarity, kinship and empathy. We respect and agree with the teachings that call us to revolution; to fight for all our fellow human beings; to deeply, truly transform the injustice and corruption long imbedded in human society; to eliminate such a tragic non-necessity as poverty with the institution of fair pay, health care, equal education, decent working conditions and financial reform.
We are a people who lionize the 1776 revolution, who look up to and admire those who stood strong against inequality.
We support Robin Hood-like taxes for the rich and the de-infestation of money from politics. We want a hike in pay for working-class people and health care for all humans sick and injured. We are in favor of destroying the vise-like grip corporations and their owners wield over our economy, regulations on the ghastly melting fumes we are spraying on the protector-bubble surrounding our planet, and heavy oversight of the people bestowed with murderous power and the grave duty of protecting others.
This slew of ideas have come to be known as liberal, as progressive, as democratic socialist, when, in reality, they are simply what we teach our children: don’t be greedy, treat others as you want to be treated, and speak up when you see injustice.
Who cares what they’re called?
As poll after poll shows, we like them.
Americans concur: a compassionate, fair land where babies grow up in equality and human beings are treated with respect and dignity is the country for us.
To make our values fit our reality, all we have to do is vote.
Because, after all, as studies show, when people vote, liberals win.