There was a bit of frank discussion about how Democrats are articulating the party’s message on the economy during a panel on the middle class. Two of the panelists, Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and venture capitalist Nick Hanauer, who co-founded Second Avenue Partners, said there had been a bit of a disconnect in how Democrats articulated their message on the economy in the 2014 midterms and until that changed, Democrats would keep “getting their butts kicked.”
Near the end of the panel, during a conference sponsored by the Center for American Progress, Hanauer was asked about actually successfully getting liberal policies passed into the federal level when they had been passed at the local level. Hanauer, in response, said that he thought “we did a horrible job as progressives of connecting with voters on these issues.”
He added that “we have not advanced an alternative theory of growth, frankly, that people can find compelling and until we do we’re going to keep getting our butts kicked. But there is much to be done around the country locally.”
Hanauer cited Seattle successfully passing a minimum wage hike to $15.
It’s a sentiment that comes as Democrats argue that the silver lining in the midterm elections can be seen through liberal ballot initiatives like a minimum wage increase passing around the country.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) said there was a disconnect in the last cycle.
“I think one of the most important things for people in Washington was to really listen. And to engage. And if you hear the struggles you can’t but come back here with a different fight in your belly than otherwise,” Baldwin said. “I don’t know that the problem was what we stood for, it was more of a disconnect in what we were fighting for.”
Baldwin said it’s important to look at these issues “as movements engaging people along the way I think we’re going to have a different outcome.”