Posts Tagged ‘Issues palette’

KAMPANJ | Michael Tomasky, special correspondentThe Daily Beast, har läst sex (troliga) republikanska presidentkandidaters böcker.

The New York Review of Books - March 19 2015

Dessa böcker skrivs ofta i ett försök att visa att politikern har tänkt till kring de stora frågorna USA står inför.

De vill visa att politikerna har ett intellektuellt djup och inte bara är en samling one-liners och talking points.

Men i realiteten läses de mest av policy wonks och journalister som bevakar presidentkandidaternas valkampanjer.

Mer intressant är själva böckerna – eller åtminstone Tomaskys recensioner av dessa – är den ”issues palette” som recensenten anser att alla valkampanjer kretsar kring.

Dessa frågor kan variera från val till val men gynnar alltid en presidentkandidat på bekostnad av en annan.

Och den sida som lycka identifiera och sätta agendan med en sådan ”frågepalett” kommer också sätta agendan och dominera debatten.

Tomasky förespår t.ex. att stagnerade lönerna för både arbetare och medelklassen kommer att bli en av de frågor som nästa presidentvalskampanj kommer att kretsa kring. Och detta borde gynna demokraterna på bekostnad av republikanerna.

I sin recension i The New York Review of Books skriver Tomasky:

In any given presidential campaign, there exists what we might call an “issues palette”—an underlying set of public concerns that seems likely to end up being what the race is fundamentally about. To take three obvious examples: the 1932 election was about the Depression; the 1980 campaign focused on stagflation, the Iranian hostage crisis, and the larger questions of statist failure; the 2008 campaign, from September 15 onward, hinged on the economic meltdown and its dangers.

The important point about these issues palettes is that they always tend to favor one party or the other, for the obvious historical reason that our two parties are associated in the public mind with particular sets of issues, and each is seen by most voters as good at certain things and bad at other things. If terrorism or deficit reduction is the top electoral preoccupation, the tilt will be toward the Republicans. If an election ends up turning on protecting Social Security and Medicare, that should favor the Democrats. (The condition of the economy underlies everything else, and the incumbent party is typically rewarded or punished based on its strength or weakness.)

So here we are, in the protean stages of the 2016 campaign, and already it seems that we can say, with all the requisite qualifiers, that the issues palette should be reasonably favorable to the Democrats. As matters are shaping up so far, the sense of many people I speak to is that the election appears destined to be about the condition of the middle class, the issue of wage stagnation, and the recognition (finally) that the American economy has been working far better for those at the top than for those in the middle or, obviously, on the bottom.


All this has been known for a long time, and groups like the liberal Economic Policy Institute have produced dozens of papers documenting the problem. But middle-class wage stagnation, and the inequality that has resulted as compensation at the top has surged, has never been the central economic preoccupation of Washington. It is becoming so now.

This is happening for a number of reasons, some of which have percolated up by design, others by accident. Certainly, President Obama has taken up the theme of middle-class incomes with considerable energy. Various Democratic-minded think tanks in Washington push the notion as well. The Center for American Progress, arguably the most influential of these groups, released in January a major report on “Inclusive Prosperity” that recommended a range of policies—increased profit sharing, greater bargaining power for workers, vastly more infrastructure investment—to bring the have-nots closer to the haves. The real significance of this report was that the commission that drafted it was co-chaired by Larry Summers, whose endorsement of these ideas might make them more politically palatable to Hillary Clinton.

So there is some coordination here, but mainly, it’s just the way the cards are tumbling. However prematurely, Washington seems to have agreed, around the arrival of the New Year, that the recovery is on and that we have entered a new economic phase. A new phase brings a new set of questions, and the one being asked most insistently these days is: Yes, all the indicators are positive, except wages, where growth has remained sluggish. What are we going to do about that?

Bild: Framsidan av The New York Review of Books,

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