Hold the right people responsible and GET OUT THE VOTE!
After my post yesterday, there has been a LOT of push back here at Eclectablog and on Facebook from people accusing Michigan Democrats, including gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer and Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer, of “selling out” minimum wage workers. This is absolutely unfair and entirely untrue.
Was this legislation intended to kill the Raise Michigan ballot initiative? Absolutely. Is the bill passed by the Senate yesterday with bipartisan support inadequate? Yup. It sure is.
But this is not a sell out by Democrats and it’s not a “terrible compromise”. It is in fact far better than we could have ever hoped for had not Schauer and Whitmer shown the sort of leadership we all expect from them.
Let’s take a rational look at the situation.
As I have said repeatedly, Republicans are petrified of the ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage. They don’t support it and they know it will bring Democrats to the polls in droves. That’s a given. So, there is no question that they intended to kill it from the start, whether it was with Republican Senator Rick Jones’ odious legislation or the bill introduced by Senate Republican Leader Randy Richardville.
Either of these bills, if signed into law by Governor Snyder, would have put a stop to the ballot drive. They knew this and Democrats in the Senate knew this, including Senator Whitmer. Senator Whitmer had two choices: let Republicans run over them with shitty legislation while Democrats stood on the sidelines shaking their fists, powerless to stop it, or get involved and try to make the legislation better for workers.
Republicans were going to pass one of these bills one way or the other.
So, Senator Whitmer got busy. In her own words:
As disappointing as it was to see this legislation introduced, when it became clear that Republicans were intent on passing it and take that choice away from voters, I decided to roll up my sleeves, take a seat at the table and work to make significant changes to the bill to infuse it with some of the real demands of our workers.
In large part, I’m proud to say we got there.
This bill passed today is substantially better than the bill that was introduced last week. It provides a meaningful raise to countless workers throughout our state and, more importantly, ensures their wage will properly adjust upward with the rate of inflation in the future without us having to have these politically charged debates over and over again in the legislature.
Anyone who suggests that this was a sellout apparently does not to realize that it was this or the BS legislation that was originally sponsored by Sen. Richardville. There was no third path. There wasn’t the option to not compromise and still have a voice in the process. Had Democrats chosen to do nothing, we would have had the paltry increase in the minimum wage to $8.40/hour, not tied to the Consumer Price Index which will increase it as inflation rises, that was originally introduced.
This is, simply put, a fact. Anyone who believes otherwise apparently doesn’t realize that Republicans hold decisive majorities in the House and the Senate and that Republican Governor Rick Snyder would have signed it into law the moment it hit his desk. Period.
Does it suck? Oh, yeah. It sucks. Royally. We’ve lost something that would have really helped to drive turnout by Democrats in November. But, the Republicans lost, too. They lost the battle to keep the minimum wage at the insulting level they would have set it at.
So, be pissed. Be angry. But remember that this is exactly what happens when you fail to elect Democrats.
This sort of thing is exactly why I spent two days on the couch in my pajamas after the 2010 election in a deep depression. This sort of thing is EXACTLY why I penned a screed titled This whole “Teach Obama a Lesson” thing is working so perfectly, isn’t it?”
If we want to change the way things are going in Michigan, we have to take our victories when we get them, even if they’re small or partial victories. And we have to use that anger at the situation to pull up our pants, hitch up our belts and Get Out the Vote (GOTV) from now until the polls close at 8 p.m. on November 4th, 2014.
If you think that this situation is a reason to do the opposite, to NOT support Democrats or to not get inolved in the Democrats’ GOTV effort, you’re part of the problem. We don’t get to sit back and whine about not getting what we want if we aren’t willing to get out there and get our candidates elected with every ounce of energy we have.
So, yeah, be pissed off. Be angry. Be outraged. But don’t direct that ire at your Democratic allies. Aim that laser beam of ferocious disgust at the Republicans and use that white hot energy to help with the cause. Because if we do in 2014 what we did in 2010 — stay home on election day — we will have only ourselves to blame. And all the GOP overreach we’ve been dealing with since 2011 is going to look like child’s play compared to what the Republicans will do to us and our beautiful state on behalf of their corporatist benefactors if we give them four more years of total domination.
Don’t let that happen. GOTMFV.