Commentary

As the manufacturing footprint in the working class has shrunk, so has the white male archetype that has historically defined the working class. Today’s working class is more female and racially diverse – with whites comprising less than 60% of the working class, down from nearly 9 out of 10 in 1970. Similarly, two-thirds of working-class women are in the paid labor market, up from less than half in 1970.

Despite the long legacy of discrimination in public accommodations—a central battleground of the civil rights movement—looking at each of these incidents individually allows us to believe the fiction that these are aberrations. [...]

In our nation’s operating system, aggressively controlling black people in public spaces is a feature, not a bug.

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Today marks the 68th World Health Day, a day to commemorate a global commitment to universal health care. Despite major gains with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the United States remains a global outlier when it comes to delivering affordable health care for its people. [...]

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Instead of policies and agency practices that divide us by doubling down on the grave inequality created by historic and current discrimination, we should advance policies that repair these rifts and bring us together. Policies like the Obama-era Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968 on which that rule builds, take strong steps to ensure that housing contributes to equalizing opportunity across race.

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From Me Too, to the Dreamers, to the Fight for $15 to Black Lives Matter — women, especially women of color, are leading new movements for equality, dignity and justice. On the electoral side, black women — long the progressive movements most stalwart and committed voters — are raising money, organizing and proving that the path to victory is paved by earning the votes of black women. Working-class black and brown women are leading worker justice campaigns that are winning higher minimum wages, stable scheduling practices and better benefits for all wage-earners.  [...]

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Last week, Betsy DeVos and the U.S. Department of Education did something uncharacteristic. In an extraordinary announcement, the Department argued that states do not have authority to oversee student loan companies operating in their states and that regulation should be left to the federal government. [...]

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Faced with jobs that don’t pay enough to make ends meet, health-care costs that break the budget, and public services exposed to countless rounds of cutbacks despite a growing economy, working people will push back. And, like the teachers across the state of West Virginia who walked out on strike for nine days and won meaningful raises and a freeze in health costs for all the state’s public employees, working people who push back sometimes win. [...]

Policies should genuinely address the economic challenges faced by working people and the families they support, while also directly challenging the racism that saturates American politics and policy. We’ve recently brought together concrete proposals to lift up working people of all backgrounds.
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Collectively, we can create safe and vibrant communities, provide quality education, and build the buildings, roads and infrastructure our nation needs to continue growing. We can carry out the diplomacy required to build good will and project our values throughout the world, defend ourselves and our allies from threats and respond to emergencies. We can ensure that we all have what we need to thrive and – when times are hard – survive. And a fair tax system is the best way to enact these democratic investments.

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For several years, Demos and our partners have been working to fulfill our Constitution’s democratic promise by forging a new legal order that is open to money-in-politics reforms, and marshalling the factual and legal arguments that could help the Court move in this direction.