Progressive Populism on the Rise

I have written a bit on what I call "progressive populism" -- the trend we have seen in the country that, like its conservative cousin, comes from a deeply seated anti-elite and anti-establishment sentiment, but which is unique in that its manifestations are less anti-government than opposed to powerful interests. As seen in Oregon earlier this year, this trend led to the first income tax increase approved by voters in 80 years, one directed at the wealthy and at corporations. Now word comes from SurveyUSA, via Swing State Project, that voters in Washington are exhibiting the same kind of progressive populism in a strong way:

A proposed initiative would create an income tax in Washington state on people making $200,000 per year and on couples making twice that. It would also cut the state's portion of the property tax by 20%, and end the business and occupation tax for small businesses. Do you support? Or do you oppose? This proposed initiative?

Support: 66 percent
Oppose: 27 percent

This measure, which would increase revenue while not raising taxes on the middle class, earns strong support across the board from the Washington electorate -- not only from Democrats (75 percent of whom support the initiative) but also from Independents (63 percent support) and even Republicans (57 percent support). Remarkably, the initiative draws support even from self-described Conservatives, who support the measure by a 50 percent to 45 percent margin.

I have said it before -- including in the halls of the West Wing: Progressive populism works. If the Democrats hope to be tap into some of the clear unhappiness of the electorate, rather than letting that discontent sweep them out of office, they would be well served to read these numbers and learn that while voters are definitively in an anti-establishment mood, they are not necessarily in an anti-government one, and, what's more, their unease about the current economic climate might actually compel progressive, rather than conservative, change if framed effectively.

Tags: populism, progressive populism, Washington, Taxes (all tags)



Populism defined

Raising taxes on the wealthy is both popular and progressive, but it's more regular progressivism IMO. Prog. Populism would be in my mind stuff like a bonus tax or windfall profits tax or hard price caps on premiums (among other things) and high MLR requirements. 

by vecky 2010-04-22 06:23PM | 0 recs
Great news, but...

...I've got to agree with this sentiment. Where does the democratic party end and populism begin?

A progressive tax policy was a major part of the democratic party platform. I'm not sure if it ever ceased to be, or whether furthering it died when Bill Clinton declared that "the end to big givernment is over" in 1994.

So my question is: how is this result progressive populist as opposed to just plain old democratic (party)?

Also, when we assign policies to associated left movements that may or may not overlap with the democratic party but are still assigned another name (i.e., populism, progressivism), especially one names that the majority of the population is unfamiliar with, do we not provide cover for our elected democratic officials to run from these policies?

by NoFortunateSon 2010-04-22 10:35PM | 0 recs
RE: Great news, but...

Does Robert Rubin apply?  Kuttner's new book 'peril" is a fantastic read, am in the 2nd chapter.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-04-22 11:55PM | 0 recs
RE: Populism defined

Its populist because its brought on to the ballot measures is my take-- a pretty populist procedure to create laws, at least in this case.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-04-22 11:53PM | 0 recs
Yeah but

When the electorate learns the truth about the healthcare bill and its true costs....ots gonna be lights out for the party in November



by BuckeyeBlogger 2010-04-22 09:38PM | 0 recs

Not 1% over 10 years! Oh noes!

Sorry, Buckeye, you lost. The bill passed. And all these minor quibbles over cost will be lost in the background noise over time. No ones marching to the poll over 1% over 10 years.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-04-22 10:39PM | 0 recs
RE: Yeah but

You mean the way you learnt the truth about the Health Care a couple of days ago?

by vecky 2010-04-23 02:11AM | 0 recs
Way to change the subject

do you have anything to add on the topic, or are your Fox News talking points running dry so you have to change the subject?

by ND22 2010-04-23 08:19AM | 0 recs

I forgot, your not interested in truth just perpetuating the lies coming from Reid and Pelosi....

by BuckeyeBlogger 2010-04-23 11:27AM | 0 recs
RE: Oh...

there are none so blind as those who will not see.

Though I think being willfully blind is also known as lying. 

by vecky 2010-04-23 01:40PM | 0 recs
So still no comment on the poll?

I see. 



by ND22 2010-04-23 03:38PM | 0 recs


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