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The People Speak on Raising the Minimum Wage | The Nation

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The Notion

Unfiltered takes on politics, ideas and culture from Nation editors and contributors.

The People Speak on Raising the Minimum Wage

It now looks as if voters approved all six of the state-level minimum-wage initiatives. In addition to Missouri and Ohio--which you read about on the Notion last night--the measures also passed in Arizona, Colorado, Montana and Nevada. That amounts to a rejection en masse of right-wing economic ideology; when asked, Americans obviously think hard-working poor folks deserve better. Most also required adjustments for inflation or changes in the cost of living. The overwhelming margins in most of the races were also exciting: more than two-thirds of voters approved the initiatives in Montana, Nevada, Missouri and Arizona.

These increases, small as they sound, will have a far more direct effect on the daily lives of Americans than many of the other matters so hotly debated and horse-raced in election season. That alone is reason for celebration. But the other question, of course, is, Did they have a broader impact on the elections? Was minimum wage the gay marriage of the left? That is, did these initiatives help turn out the Democratic base and help the Democrats win? We'd need more analysis of the data to say for certain, but it looks like they may have helped. Democrats took Senate seats in Ohio, Missouri and most likely Montana.

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