Sean McElwee

Beyond Trump: Why Progressives now have a real path to power

At first blush, the 2020 Democratic primary campaign was a blow to progressives. Two leading candidates on the left — Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders — both ran for president this year, along with a number of others who had worked to establish progressive credibility (including Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, former HUD Secretary Julián Castro, Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington, Sen. Cory Booker and Sen. Kamala Harris, the eventual vice-presidential nominee), courting various policy positions such as Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.

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How to make Joe Biden's administration the most progressive in history

On March 17, Jon Favreau, a former Obama administration official well known for co-hosting the popular Pod Save America podcast, tweeted: "Joe Biden will run on the most progressive platform of any Democratic nominee in history, and Bernie Sanders and the movement he inspired are a big reason why."

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You might be surprised at how far Americans are willing to go to overthrow the power of Big Pharma

As the 2020 election looms, “Morning Joe” pundits love to talk about “electability.” The out-of-touch television personalities chide the left for advocating policies they perceive as unpopular with the electorate. Yet, “electability” appears differently to primary voters, who increasingly see progressive politicians as prepared to beat Trump. The message that Democrats need to return to is an age-old one: rich, powerful interests are ripping us off, and it’s time to fight back.

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What Ruth Bader Ginsburg gets wrong about the future of the Supreme Court

When trying to appeal to the progressive base of the Democratic party, it is frightening to take on Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. After RBG said that the Supreme Court should not be expanded, however, there’s an opportunity — and even an imperative — to do just that.

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There are promising signs that America is waking up to the student debt crisis

The revolution to end the burden of student debt continues, with a recent proposal from presidential contender Elizabeth Warren to cancel $50,000 in loans for households making less than $100,000 a year, with lower amounts for those making up to $250,000. Following the Democratic wave, which was driven in part by a surge of youth turnout, it’s more important than ever for Democrats to embrace an ambitious progressive agenda aimed at benefiting the rising American electorate. An ideal policy would be total student debt cancellation.

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Why student loan forgiveness could be a major winning issue for Democrats

The revolution to end the burden of student debt continues, with a recent proposal from presidential contender Elizabeth Warren to cancel $50,000 in loans for households making less than $100,000 a year, with lower amounts for those making up to $250,000. Following the Democratic wave, which was driven in part by a surge of youth turnout, it’s more important than ever for Democrats to embrace an ambitious progressive agenda aimed at benefiting the rising American electorate. An ideal policy would be total student debt cancellation.

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How Unequal Voter Turnout and Vote Suppression Helped Elect Donald Trump

Though the election that shocked the pundits is now six months behind us, the data necessary to determine what exactly caused Donald Trump’s victory is still trickling out. Preliminary analysis completed by me along with leading turnout scholars Brian Schaffner, Jesse Rhodes and Bernard Fraga showed that turnout among African-Americans dropped in 2016, while Latino, Asian and white turnout increased. This week, the Census Bureau released new data on voter turnout that can help observers ferret out what happened. The Census Bureau’s data is a valuable source for understanding voter turnout, but should not be considered the final story. For instance, it suggests a decline in Latino turnout, which is at odds with voter file data. What we can know for sure is that stratified, inequitable turnout is distorting American democracy.

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Trump’s Supporters Believe a False Narrative of White Victimhood - and the Data Proves It

The right sees its political opposition as #triggered snowflakes who need a “safe space.” In the words of Trump’s chief strategist Stephen Bannon, “They’re either a victim of race. They’re victim of their sexual preference. They’re a victim of gender. All about victimhood and the United States is the great oppressor, not the great liberator.”

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What Went Wrong with the Democratic Party? Three Big Failures That Led to the Current Debacle

To an extent that is rarely true of an opposition party, Democrats can claim a mandate of resistance. Donald Trump lost the popular vote by a large margin, he’s incredibly unpopular and the Republicans have broken norms around using any tools available to gum up the opposition party’s agenda. In a welcome development, Democrats have largely avoided their classic debate about whether they should throw women or people of color under the bus in order to remain electorally competitive (though some pieces in this genre have slipped through).

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Race Remains the Great Divider: Even Rich People of Color Are Unlikely to Support Republicans

Imagine a rich person. For most Americans, the image that comes to mind is a wealthy white man. While white men certainly make up a disproportionate share of the wealthy, there is growing diversity among the wealthiest members of society. Given the increasing political salience of racial justice and gender equity, this diversity could have impacts on policy. I find that there are indeed large differences between rich men and rich women (defining that group as those earning more than $150,000 a year), as well as between rich white people and rich people of color. High-income women of color are far more progressive than white men.

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