The Congressional Progressive Caucus released “The People’s Budget” this week, which it dubs a “roadmap for the resistance.” Maybe the mere mention of a federal budget plan makes your eyes glaze over, but the “People’s Budget” is a dramatic document.
It presents a compelling alternative to Donald Trump’s “skinny budget.” Unlike Trump’s fanciful promises, it offers a sensible path out of the hole that we are in. Its values and priorities reflect those of the majority of Americans. The Progressive Caucus frames its budget around the central challenge of our time: how to make this economy work for working people, and redress the savage inequality that is undermining our democracy. It offers a strategy to get there, and a budget framed to support that strategy.
In February, one month after President Donald Trump took office, some 400 Democratic leaders convened in Atlanta to assess the damage and elect a new Democratic National Committee chair—a perhaps unenviable job that includes rebuilding a party in disarray. While establishment candidate Tom Perez won the title, he immediately appointed his more progressive runner-up, Keith Ellison, a populist Minnesota congressman and Muslim who leads the Congressional Progressive Caucus, to the newly-created role of deputy party chair. A month later, Ellison is leading the charge against Trump’s travel ban, calling on Republicans to collaborate on infrastructure and tax reform, launching a nationwide “Democratic Turnaround Tour” to bring the party’s message to states it lost in 2016, and, among other things, restarting his podcast. We the People covers how working-class Americans affect the economy. The first episode will focus on women in the age of Trump, and includes an interview with NARAL’s Ilyse Hogue.
“If you look at the podcast in general, it really is about how people outside of the millionaire and billionaire classes experience the economy,” Ellison told me. “It really is about dealing with people who are struggling to get a union or right to work. How people’s faith informs their economic outlook. How money informs politics.” Past episodes have touched on working-class issues such as payday loans and prison phone rates. Here, Ellison talks about the recent health-care debacle, how his party can win back women who voted for Trump, and how to get millennials on board with the Democratic message.
From his proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the United States, to his plan to deport 11 million immigrants, to his attack today on Minnesota's Somali-American community, Donald Trump's entire campaign has been built on fear and division. His strategy will fail miserably not only in Minnesota, but around the country because American families know there is far more that unities us than sets us apart.
While Donald Trump was spewing his hateful rhetoric at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport this afternoon, thousands of Minnesotans across the state were knocking doors, making phone calls, and engaging their community about the stakes of this election. For millions of Minnesotans of all colors, faiths, and backgrounds – including the 70,000 Somalis who add so much to our state – the choice could not be clearer. This Tuesday, I'm confident Minnesota will reject Donald Trump and reaffirm our fundamental American values of diversity and inclusion.