U.S. News: Economic Fairness Won the Election
Op-ed by The Fairness Project's Executive Director, Jonathan Schleifer
The popularity of successful minimum wage ballot initiatives shows that Americans voted to make ends meet.
By Jonathan Schleifer
December 1, 2016
Since the election, pundits, pollsters and Clinton supporters have been reeling from the results, trying to make sense of an election that was unlike anything they had predicted. The two pervading narratives heading into the election were either it was going to be won and lost based on race, gender, sexuality and religion, classic identity politics, or it was a referendum on change versus status quo.
In the end, both these narratives remain murky and contested. But the one thing that is clear is that even in this wildly unprecedented election, voters’ economic lives and struggles remained their north star. For many Americans, the election was all about – in James Carville’s well-worn words – “the economy, stupid.” And this time, voters in several states were taking matters into their own hands.
In the same election where two highly unpopular candidates split the electoral college and the popular vote between them, voters in Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington cast their lot strongly in favor of ballot measures that promoted economic fairness. As a result, more than 2.1 million workers will get a pay raise and in Arizona and Washington 1.9 million workers will have guaranteed paid sick leave.