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New Poll Shows 66% Of Republicans Oppose The TPP, Spelling Possible Trouble For Ayotte

Former NH State Senator Jim Rubens Challenges
Sen. Ayotte to a debate on American worker wages

A poll released today by the conservative group Americans for Limited Government and independent pollster Pat Caddell shocked the establishment about voters’ attitudes on the 2,000 page Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership agreement.  The shocker: 66% of Republicans oppose the TPP.  Some highlights from the results: 

– 69% of Republicans say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate for U.S. Congress who promises to put a stop to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

– 63% of Republicans oppose an effort to pass TPP in a special session of Congress.

– 85% GOP voters agree that “political leaders are more interested in protecting their power and privilege than doing what is right for the American people.”

– 76% of Republicans say “the same political elite who have been rigging the political process in Washington are the same ones that have been rigging trade deals that hurt Americans, but benefit themselves.” 

-77% of Americans oppose a Republican leadership effort to vote on TPP in a lame-duck session.

– An astoundingly low 4 percent of GOP voters think that free trade deals have been “more of a benefit to the U.S.”.  

Jim Rubens issued the following statement in response to the poll results: 

“Since the first drafts were leaked in 2014, I have publicly opposed the TPP.  I am firmly on the side of American workers.  It’s time for the U.S. Senate to take the side of American workers and against the crony capitalists and their bought-and-paid-for politicians who want to export American jobs and drive down American wages.

“Conservative Republicans are way out front in opposition to the TPP.  It’s unfortunate that Sen. Kelly Ayotte not only supports this crony capitalist agreement, but she voted last May to give President Obama fast-track trade authority to grease it through Congress.  New Hampshire is among the top 10 states most hurt by our trade deficit with China, having lost over 22,000 jobs over the decade ending 2011.  It’s clear that voters think that Washington career politicians are selling them out.

“Many people have referred to the TPP as ‘NAFTA on steroids’ because this deal benefits other countries at the expense of American workers who are being replaced by cheap foreign labor.  85% of GOP voters have lost faith in the Washington political class because of their blatant crony capitalism.  I’m running for senate to give voters a way to stop this wholesale sell out of the American worker.”

In the press conference discussing the poll results, pollster Pat Caddell predicts there will be significant primary losses based on this issue.  

Rubens challenges Sen. Ayotte to a debate on TPP and how to get American wages rising again.

(Leo W Gerard) Donald Trump: The Answer to Curses

Donald Trump (Jamelle Bouie FLIKR)

Donald Trump (Jamelle Bouie FLIKR)

Donald Trump dares to say out loud what many people secretly think.

It’s a dark secret some people never share because they know it’s so offensive. Sometimes they say it only when they feel safe, when they’re among like-minded family members or with friends trying to drown financial fear in mugs of beer.

Working America, the community affiliate of the AFL-CIO, talked to white workers in hardscrabble communities in Pennsylvania and Ohio over the past two months and found “huge,” as Donald Trump would put it, support for the Republican frontrunner, even among Democrats. Backers said they admired Trump for speaking his mind. What they really meant was that Trump spoke their minds. As one woman put it, “He says what most of us are thinking.”

Americans are cash-strapped and fearful. They’ve been working hard, following the rules and falling behind. They’re looking for someone to blame. That’s when they think of “the other,” the black guy, the brown guy, the woman, the Muslim, the gay, the person they don’t really know, the person a little different from them who they suspect must have taken their job or promotion or opportunity.

Like a preacher of prejudice, Trump validates cursing the nation’s marginalized and accusing them of emptying workers’ bank accounts. Trump tells workers to point a finger at undocumented immigrants. He sermonizes excluding desperate refugees based on religion. This high priest of hate urged “Trumpeters” to stomp a Black Lives Matter activist seeking equal rights.

Fight among yourselves! Fight among yourselves, he urges.

2016-01-31-1454263542-4763177-Trumpimage.jpg

Image by Thierry Ehrman on Flickr.

Trump was born a one percenter. He went to an exclusive private school and college. His rich daddy gave him a big fat business loan to get him started. He benefited from multiple bankruptcies, the use of low-paid undocumented workers on his construction projects, tax breaks, tax havens and special rules and deals for the super-rich.  Wealth created by the productivity of laborers like those Working America interviewed in Pennsylvania and Ohio flowed up to him. He got richer; their wages stagnated. Now, he’s a billionaire telling them that dirt poor Hispanics caused their problems. He says, “Don’t blame private-jet-owning one percenters like me! Blame those struggling immigrants!”

It’s a topsy-turvy Trump world.

It is a world, however, where workers’ economic anxieties are totally legitimate. For three decades after World War II, as worker productivity increased, so did their compensation. Productivity rose 97 percent; wages 91 percent. This was a time of shared prosperity.

The good times ended in the early 1970s, however. From 1973 to 2013 hourly compensation of the typical worker grew just 9 percent while productivity jumped 74 percent.

People like Trump, the already wealthy, benefitted from the difference. They took for themselves virtually all of the wealth that flowed from productivity growth. This terminated shared prosperity and spawned grotesque income inequality.

It is the real reason for worker anxiety.

If pay had kept pace with productivity, the average income of the middle 60 percent of American households in 2007, just before the Great Recession, would have been $94,310 – instead of the $76,443 it actually was, according to calculations by the Economic Policy Institute. That extra $18,000 a year would have staved off foreclosure for millions. But workers didn’t get that money; the wealthy like Trump did.

So, instead, Americans bailed out Wall Street and Wall Street foreclosed on their homes. And now Trump urges Americans to blame everything on immigrants. And Muslims. And Black Lives Matter.

Since the 1970s, as workers produced more but got virtually nothing in their paychecks to show for it, the rich like Donald Trump grew fabulously, outrageously, repulsively richer. The anti-poverty charity Oxfam reports annually on the growing chasm between The Donalds and the downtrodden.

In 2010, for example, it determined that the world’s 388 richest people had as much wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population.

This year, it found that 62 super-rich people had accumulated sufficient wealth to equal everything owned by the poorest half – 3.6 billion humans.

Oxfam explained part of what happened is that since 2010, the poor lost $1 trillion in wealth while the super-rich 62 gained $542 billion. That’s not just a little trickle of money dripping from the pockets of billions of poor people into the tax-sheltered secret bank accounts of the repulsively rich. It is a raging torrent.

Donald Trump, a billionaire who opposes raising the minimum wage, now at the poverty level of $7.25 an hour, is holding himself out to working people as the man who will stand as a dam against that torrent. By building a wall to keep out immigrants.

It is rules like a poverty-level minimum wage that make guys like Donald Trump richer. He can pay $7.25, which is too little to live on, to Trump hotel maids, who then must rely on food stamps and Medicaid to feed their children and keep them healthy. The hotel workers could be condemned as welfare mothers. But it’s Trump who is the beneficiary. Employers who provide inadequate pay and benefits expect American taxpayers to make up the difference. Then the rich employers pocket the profits.

And Trump has promised to keep it that way. He actually said American wages are too high.

Despite that, when Working America canvassed 1,689 people on their front porches, it found Trump had more support than any other candidate at 18 percent.

The canvassers found workers to be deeply fearful about the economy and eager to engage in conversation, often for extended lengths of time.

That does not bode well for The Donald who loves to talk at people – and to summarily fire them – but who hardly has a reputation as a great listener.

And some workers were repulsed by the billionaire’s rhetoric. One Ohio man told canvassers, “Trump is a clown.” Another said he was afraid Trump could “start a war with his mouth.”

Fifty-three percent of those interviewed remained undecided about a Presidential candidate and two-thirds of Trump supporters said they were willing to reconsider.

That is the answer to workers’ prayers.

New Hampshire Democratic Party to GOP Candidates: Welcome Back

Tonight’s result was years in the making for the GOP. Throughout President Obama’s administration, Republicans attacked the president at every turn, elevating the most extreme voices within their party. So it’s fitting that Ted Cruz – the man whose best-known accomplishment was shutting down the government and costing the economy $24 billion – won the Iowa caucuses tonight with the similarly divisive Donald Trump placing a close second. 

This is without a doubt the most extreme Republican field in a generation – and we’re not just talking about the frontrunners. The Republican establishment has completely embraced far right values. Remember how difficult it was for an establishment candidate like Mitt Romney to tack to the center; now imagine how hard it will be for these extreme candidates: 

  • Ohio Governor John Kasich, a former managing director at Lehman Brothers, gutted women’s health protections as Governor of Ohio, opposed marriage equality, and cut food stamps while pushing for more tax cuts for the rich. Despite these right-wing stances, he is still considered the most moderate GOP candidate on the ballot.
  • Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush disparaged the children of immigrants, said he would have repeated his brother’s mistake in Iraq even knowing what we know now, and said he wanted to “phase out” Medicare.
  • New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who most Americans know for exacting retribution on his political opponents by causing a traffic nightmare on the busiest bridge in the world, has one of the worst records of job creation in the nation, and under his failed economic leadership, New Jersey’s credit was downgraded a record nine times.

Even worse for the GOP, the rest of the candidates are beating up on each other instead of challenging the frontrunners. As Politico reported yesterday, “For now, the candidates are trying to knock one another out of contention. In recent days, super PACs supporting Bush, Kasich, Christie, and Rubio have all released commercials attacking one another….the party’s top players have spent months trying — without success — to figure out how to halt Trump and Cruz’s momentum.” 

“No matter who wins in New Hampshire next week, the Republican Party has lost. Whether it’s Trump, Cruz, or any of the rest, whoever the GOP eventually nominates will be a toxic, damaged candidate with views that are way too extreme for independent-minded Granite Staters and the nation.” – Lizzy Price, New Hampshire Democratic Party Communications Director

Kasich Argues Paid Leave Hurts Equal Pay And Women Should Telecommute

Governor John Kasich Caricature  (Image by DonkeyHotey)

Governor John Kasich Caricature
(Image by DonkeyHotey)

Yesterday in New Hampshire, John Kasich admitted that he doesn’t support ensuring  paid family leave, which doesn’t come as a surprise with this group of Republican presidential candidates. Instead, he thinks women should be given the chance to telecommute because if they take paid family leave, they shouldn’t be paid equal to their male counterparts because their earning potential is diminished. Never mind the fact that every other developed nation offer paid leave.

But at least he’d invite women into the room where decisions are made. Gee thanks, Governor Kasich.

The idea of telecommuting is complete garbage.  Lets start with the fact that the majority of people do not work in an office building or via a computer.

81% of elementary teachers are women, how are they telecommute?  If you add all of education and health services together women make up 76% of the industry.  I would like to see the nurse who can check vitals, take a blood sample, and help bathe a patient from their home work station.

What about the fact that 1-in-12 American workers, works in the restaurant industry and 52% of those workers are women. How is a woman going to serve your food if she is telecommuting?

“What Kasich fails to understand is that paid family leave isn’t just good for women – it’s good for working families and good for the economy, which is why nearly every other developed nation offers paid leave,” said Lizzy Price, Communications Director of the New Hampshire Democratic Party. “When women do well, families do well, but Kasich’s backwards comments aren’t surprising. His administration made it harder for women in Ohio to get the health care services they need.”

“With just a month to go until the New Hampshire primary, the choice is clear – John Kasich and his GOP colleagues refuse to support hard working Granite State families by ensuring paid leave, while Democrats are fighting everyday to make sure those families have a chance to build strong families and succeed in the workplace.”


Recent excerpts from Kasich’s speech on workers.

Paid leave hurts equal pay: Kasich

Columbus Dispatch // Darrell Rowland

Sometimes, it’s the little things presidential candidates say along the campaign trail that come back to haunt them.

As Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders bicker over how to fund their plans for paid maternity leave, Ohio Gov. John Kasich was asked during a town-hall meeting on Friday where he stood.

His answer was that women shouldn’t be given additional paid leave but should get the chance to telecommute so they can stay competitive in their careers.

“The one thing we need to do for working women is to give them the flexibility to be able to work at home online,” Kasich told the man who asked the question. “The reason why that’s important is, when women take maternity leave or time to be with the children, then what happens is they fall behind on the experience level, which means that the pay becomes a differential…

About a third of women are employed at work sites that offer paid maternity leave to all or most female employees (21.6 percent for all employees, 13.5 percent for most employees), according to the 2012 Family and Medical Leave Act Technical Report.

Virtually every other developed nation offers paid leave, often for several months. In the U.S., workers at companies that employ at least 50 are entitled only to unpaid leave — although some corporations voluntarily offer several weeks of paid time off, and California requires it…

 

Clock ticking for GOP candidates in New Hampshire

WMUR

… “I don’t ever want to make decisions without having women in the room,” Kasich said. “Because without it, I don’t think you’re getting the full picture on how to do things. I’m not like, pandering here, this is the way I roll.” …

NEXTGEN Climate New Hampshire: Republican Presidential Candidates Refuse To Accept Climate Science

(Image curtesy of NextGen Climate)

(Image curtesy of NextGen Climate)

There no question that climate change has become the subject of highly charged, intensely partisan fighting in recent years. That hasn’t always been the case—it used to be an issue of settled science and healthy, bipartisan conversations

It’s not really clear what changed or why. The influence of deep-pocketed oil interests on the Republican Party?  The Oscar-winning warnings raised by former Democratic Vice President Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth? Simple stubbornness along party lines? 

It’s anyone’s guess.

But regardless of how we landed in this political situation, the evidence of man-made climate change continues to mount, and our planet continues to suffer the consequences. 

Meanwhile, most of the current Republican candidates for President have doubled down on their refusal to act to combat climate change’s harmful effects—many even deny that it’s a problem in the first place. And though some Republicans have managed to admit that the climate is changing and that humans may play a role, those willing to do so definitively and wholeheartedly are a rare breed.

It’s time to end the politicization of our environment.  Science isn’t a partisan question, and the ideological blame game draws energy and focus away from the real fights: protecting our planet, promoting energy independence, and creating American jobs. Let’s give Republicans an opportunity to back down from these dangerous stances—and let’s all get to work.

If, by 2030, we can get to the point where 50 percent of our energy comes from clean sources, we can win those fights. Meeting that benchmark will not only help to cut our greenhouse emissions—it would also help create over 1 million good-paying American jobs in the process. Just retrofitting our existing infrastructure alone will grow the national GDP by $145 billion dollars, and families will have up to $400 more in disposable income.

These are not Republican or Democratic programs; they’re simply American aspirations. This “50 by 30” goal is ambitious, but it’s absolutely achievable…provided our political leaders are willing to cooperate and act boldly, together. United, we can harness the same scientific know-how and technological prowess that helped to make us the country we are today. That effort could make the difference in saving the world.

Granite State Students Can’t Afford GOP Policies

College Grads (Dan Zen FLICKR)

College Grads (Dan Zen FLICKR)

GOP Budget would cut Pell Grants, affecting over 27,000 New Hampshire students

CONCORD, N.H. – Carly Fiorina may be on the college circuit in New Hampshire this week, but the truth is that her party has grand plans to slash student aid and make college less affordable.

New Hampshire college graduates have some of the highest student loan debt, but nearly no Republican presidential candidate supports President Obama’s plan to let students refinance their debt.

Not only would Republicans refuse to help students with reasonable options to pay off their debt, but many of them would slash Pell Grants and federal student loans, which are lifelines to over 27,000 New Hampshire students and their families.

But that’s not all:

  • Carly Fiorina opposes the debt-free community college proposal by President Obama.
  • Jeb Bush oversaw a nearly 60% tuition increase as Governor of Florida, and under his leadership Florida earned a failing grade in affordability of higher education.  He even called President Obama’s debt free community college proposal “more free stuff”
  • Marco Rubio refused to support a bill that would allow students to refinance their student loans, and even voted against a measure that would have prevented student loans from doubling. His tax plan would eliminate the deduction on student loan interest, and he supported budgets that drastically slash Pell Grants.
  • Rand Paul wants to slash Pell grants, which are a financial lifeline for many low-income students. And Paul has even said that students shouldn’t be able to refinance their loans because of the “danger” that comes with “overturning contracts.”

“Fiorina and other Republican presidential candidates continue to try and make it more difficult for young people to get ahead by refusing to support reasonable solutions that help tens of thousands in New Hampshire get an education. Granite Staters know that education is the key to success and they simply can’t afford Republican policies that put up roadblocks to an affordable education,” said Lizzy Price, New Hampshire Democratic Party Communications Director.

Ahead Of Labor Day, NH AFL-CIO And NH Democrats Blast GOP Candidates Anti-Worker Agenda

RAND PAUL (Stump Source FLIKR CC)

RAND PAUL (Stump Source FLIKR CC)

Ahead of the holiday weekend dedicated to honoring the sacrifices made by workers, the NH AFL-CIO and the NH Democratic Party, blast Republicans over their failed and out of touch policies that harm working families.

Labor Day is the annual holiday to “celebrate the progress of American workers,” said NH AFL-CIO President Glenn Brackett. “American workers are what make our country great.”

Labor Day honors the decades of progress gained through the blood, sweat and tears of American workers who fought for policies like weekends, paid time off, sick days, maternity leave, social security, on the job safety programs like OSHA, and dozens of other policies that would never have been without American workers standing up for them.

Earlier this summer, Jeb Bush told the Union Leader that people just need to “work longer hours” showing just how out of touch he really is.

Americans are still suffering the effects of the Great Recession that stemmed from the failed policies of the George W Bush presidency and the deregulation of Wall Street.

Not to be outdone, Senator Rand Paul recently said, “Income inequality is from people not working hard enough,” and also said, “if you work all day long, you don’t have time to do heroin.”

American workers have pushed their productivity to the highest levels in history, yet all of those gains have gone to the wealthy instead of working families.

Many Americans have been forced to work two or even three jobs just to pay the bills as wages have declined over the last thirty years (adjusted for inflation). I highly doubt Jeb Bush has ever had to take on a second or third job to pay his bills.

NH Democratic Party Chair, Raymond Buckley, said that it is “Democrats who are fighting for working families.” Democrats are pushing for a higher minimum wage, equal pay for equal work, and protecting Social Security to ensure that workers can retire with dignity.

“Jeb Bush wants to “phase out” Medicare and John Kasich wants to change Social Security for those close to retirement age, jeopardizing their future. Not to mention failed Republican policies of the past that favor the wealthiest few and leave the middle class behind,” said Buckley.

In New Hampshire it is Republicans who blocked a minimum wage increase and now are holding the state hostage with their draconian budget that would repeal healthcare for 50,000 hard working Granite Staters, to preserve tax breaks from wealthy corporations.

Brackett highlighted that under President Obama’s leadership “America has had 64 straight months of private sector growth.’

“The GOP economic plan seems to be demanding that middle class workers work even longer, while refusing to do anything to help middle class workers and their families get ahead. If they keep this up, it won’t be difficult for hard-working Granite State families to see that putting the White House back in GOP hands would be a disaster for our middle class,” concluded Brackett.

Republicans Are The Reason Our Public Schools Are Hurting

Jeb Bush on Education

The Republican Primary is always fun to watch as the candidates try to outdo each other the issues. Recently it was what to do about the problems facing our public school systems.

Our public education system is in rough shape and the majority of the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of Republican politicians who are starving our schools for money, forcing more and more standardized testing, and funneling our tax dollars to for-profit private and religious schools.

When you add all of these programs together it creates a disastrous ticking time bomb of epic failure.

The problems continue to feed themselves. It begins with cuts to the budget that lead to cuts teacher pay. This results in good teachers leaving the district and then bringing in new inexperienced teachers to replace them.

Then they test every student over and over, and reward high performing schools and make more cuts to low performing schools. (Can you see the problem yet?)

Then they give our tax dollars to traveling medicine men, selling snake oil to fix all of our problems by opening charter schools, stealing more money from struggling schools. Some of these schools take millions in federal, state, and local budgets to build new schools and then file for bankruptcy before they even open their doors.

Then they have to make more cuts to teachers and para-professionals starting the austerity cycle all over again.

The American Federation of Teachers thought it would be good to inform all of you of what a few of the Presidential candidates are saying our teachers and our schools.

Video

Our children deserve better than a schools system that is all test and drill. We need more arts, more music, more science, and more teachers. We need pay our teachers better so that we can retain the best teachers with the pay they deserve. We need to fund our schools properly and stop forcing cuts to staff and services. We need to stop this cycle of austerity that is strangling our public schools.  Our children deserve better!

 

(Leo W Gerard) Anti-Presidential: Money Grubbing, Community Disdaining Candidates

Donald Trump says exactly what the GOP believes. It’s a simple axiom: personal wealth accumulation is everything. Republican Party officials believe individuals like The Donald attain riches through their own guts, glory and gumption with not an iota of aid from community, country or, frankly, inherited wealth.

It’s just that when The Donald expresses their credo, he ignores the shinola and emphasizes the crass. Instead of going with the slick 2012 GOP convention theme, “I built that,” to aggrandize individual capitalist conquest, The Donald slammed a group of his primary competitors for serving their nation instead of themselves.

What The Donald failed to acknowledge is that some of them, like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, serve themselves through their so-called public service. This year, for example, Walker took a quarter billion dollars from Wisconsin higher education, gave it instead to a project by billionaire sports team owners to construct a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks, and now one of those rich guys, Jon Hammes, co-chairs Walker’s national campaign fund raising.

It’s a brilliant scam. The Donald, master of bankruptcies with four under his belt, really should be impressed. Walker is forcing the great majority of Wisconsin workers to pay taxes, not for projects they prize like schools or highways, but instead to further enrich millionaires who, in turn, fill Walker’s campaign pockets!

2015-07-26-1437929146-9656318-antiprezDonaldTrump2.jpg

Art on Flickr by DonkeyHotey

The Donald elevates capitalist endeavors, even those achieved through bankruptcy, over public service, suggesting non-millionaires are unqualified for office: “A number of my competitors for the Republican nomination have no business running for president. . . . Many are failed politicians or people who would be unable to succeed in the private sector.”

This echoes the derisive comments the previous Republican nominee for President, the quarter billionaire Mitt Romney, made about American people generally. He slammed nearly half of them, 47 percent, as slackers who receive government aid after they failed to be born to a famous rich man, as Romney was, and then leverage that silver spoon to make millions for themselves. Never mind that many of the 47 percent receive Social Security that they earned through a lifetime of hard work. Never mind that guys like Jon Hammes fatten their already bulging wallets with government handouts.

A specific “failed politician” that The Donald blasted was U.S. Sen. John McCain. The Arizona Republican, who suffers to this day from injuries he endured as a prisoner of war, didn’t defeat Barack Obama for the presidency. So The Donald called McCain a loser, a person who The Donald would fire, in fact, according to The Donald, not even a war hero.

The Donald explained that he preferred guys who didn’t get captured, guys like himself who evaded military service with a bone spur he claims he had on he forgets which foot, guys who pursued their self interest at the same time soldiers like McCain risked their lives for their country.

While The Donald cruised around Manhattan in his daddy’s limo, caroused at private clubs and collected his first million working for his daddy’s firm, McCain volunteered for military service, suffered three shattered limbs when his jet was shot down, endured torture in a Viet Cong prisoner of war camp for five years and refused to jump ahead of other prisoners for release, an offer the enemy made based on McCain’s familial connection to military brass. McCain joined up to make his father and grandfather, both four-star admirals, proud, not to exploit them to benefit himself in the way that The Donald used his daddy.

My union, the United Steelworkers, supported Barack Obama for President and agrees with John McCain on virtually no policy issue. Ever. It is, however, without question that McCain responded honorably to the call of duty for his country and sacrificed incalculably for that.

Despite McCain’s achievements as a soldier and a senator, The Donald felt entitled to belittle him as “incapable of doing anything” because he didn’t make millions by demanding rent money from impoverished tenants, as The Donald launched his career doing.

Money is everything for politicians like Trump and Romney and GOP candidate Carly Fiorina, who laid off 30,000 workers when she ran Hewlett-Packard then stuffed a$40 million golden parachute in her purse before leaving the ailing firm. For them, individual schemes to accrue cash are paramount. And the amount of dough collected is the true measure of a man. Or woman.

It may come as a surprise, then, to these self-aggrandizing capitalists that most Americans don’t believe human greatness is the sum of private jets and mega yachts bought with profits made on the backs of furloughed workers. And particularly relevant to politicians who evangelize careless Randian capitalism in the Bible belt is a recent poll that found the values of the faithful to be the antithesis of money worship.

Lake Research Partners released a survey last week of likely 2016 voters who are religious or faith affiliated. It found that devout voters reject the Republican concept that individuals build businesses by themselves and that every citizen must struggle alone in society competing for survival against neighbors and work mates. They rebuffed a culture based on the Donald Trump reality show The Apprentice – where contestants stomp each other to get ahead.

Instead, these religious voters believe in community where members sustain and strengthen each other.  They expressed strong support for policies that inure to the collective good including paid sick leave, increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour and investment in children even if that means raising taxes.

This, frankly, is not a surprising finding in a religious country that is a closely bound collection of states. Citizens of the United States have found that they can achieve far more through affiliation and cooperation. No individual state, not even the big ones like Texas or California or New York, could have won World War II. But 50 states together, with young people volunteering for military service and women stepping up to work in factories and old people buying war bonds, generated the synergistic power of community essential for victory.

Republicans who denigrate those values do so at their own peril. Americans aren’t selfish. They don’t live by The Apprentice theme song, “For the Love of Money.” Americans are better than that. And they deserve better than mean-spirited, self-serving politicians.

Granite State Legislators to Scott Walker: Good Luck. You’ll Need it.

Scott Walker 1 (Image by Gage Skidmore CC FLIKR)

CONCORD, N.H. – Today, several members of the New Hampshire state legislature penned an open letter to Gov. Scott Walker in advance of his trip to the Granite State. See below for full letter.

Dear Governor Scott Walker,

We wanted to welcome you to the First in the Nation Primary. You are a little late to the game, so we decided to help you out with some information about New Hampshire.

Last night, you said that raising the minimum wage was a “lame idea.” Lame idea? Really? Well, it’s an idea that 76% of Granite Staters support.

You should know that New Hampshire has no state minimum wage, which means we follow the federal minimum wage, which puts us at the bottom of any other state in New England. But it’s not for a lack of trying… or a lack of public support. People here don’t think the minimum wage is lame. They want it, and they want to raise the minimum wage so their families have more opportunities to succeed and achieve the American dream you talk so much about.

But frankly, your statement last night doesn’t shock us, given how you’ve favored the wealthy and corporations in Wisconsin.Time and time again, your budgets have favored the wealthy and corporations over working class families. In fact, your home-state newspapers have called out your budget the top earners in Wisconsin “would likely receive the majority of a $444 million proposed cut to tax rates and fees.” Even the Associated Press said that your proposed income tax cut “would give more money back to the rich,” despite your “billing it as a boon to the middle class.”

You’ve left working families in Wisconsin behind, and we don’t want you to do the same to our neighbors in New Hampshire. The fact is more than 100,000 workers in New Hampshire would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage. Nationally, more than half of all workers that would benefit from this increase are women. These are the same women who make less than their male counterparts, and who surely couldn’t count on you to fight for equal pay given your track record in Wisconsin.

So it seems we are at an impasse on this issue, Governor Walker. It is already obvious that your priorities don’t include helping everyday Granite Staters get ahead.

Good luck on the campaign trail. You’ll need it.

Sincerely,

Representative Michael Cahill, Newmarket

Senator Dan Feltes, Concord

Senator Andrew Hosmer, Laconia

Representative Doug Ley, Jaffrey

Senator Bette Lasky, Nashua

Senator Donna Soucy, Manchester

Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff, Penacook

Senator Jeff Woodburn, Dalton

Representative Andrew White, Lebanon

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