Minimum Wage! Hyaaah!
The Wall Street Journal's Jeanne Cummings has a report on an overlooked electoral phenomenon. Democrats are putting minimum wage increases onto state ballots as initiatives, hoping to ride them to victory the way Republicans (were perceived to have) rode gay marriage bans to victory in 2004.
Democrats first tested the minimum-wage issue in Washington state in 1998, a year after Congress raised the rate to $5.15 an hour. The initiative passed easily and raised the state's minimum wage to $6.50 an hour. The initiative was the highest vote-getter of all issues and candidates. Post-election polling suggested it boosted turnout by four percentage points, which helped widen the victory margin of incumbent Democrat Sen. Patty Murray and paved the way for Democrats to pick up eight state House seats and win control of the state Senate.
Added plus: if Democrats can make the Sun belt as economically inhospitable as the Rust belt and Northeast, maybe the blue states will stop hemorrhaging voters.