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Minimum Wage Votes Helped Democrats in 2006. Will 2014 be a Repeat?

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Laura ClawsonRepublicans blocking a minimum wage increase (which is to say, basically all the Republicans in Congress) might want to reflect on what happened in 2006:

Republicans might have overcome those hurdles [war in Iraq and the botched response to Hurricane Katrina] in Missouri and Montana had it not been for the minimum wage issues there. Those victories delivered the party a two-seat Senate majority.In all, Democrats picked up U.S. House or Senate seats in five of six states where voters approved raising the wage floor in 2006.

Of course, 2006 was a wave year and yes, there were other hugely significant issues. But minimum wage remains a very popular issue, and it’s going to be on the ballot in several states in 2014, including Arkansas, where Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor is campaigning on the issue even as he opposes raising the federal minimum wage. It has the potential to be a powerful turnout issue for Democrats in states with potentially close elections. But Republican opposition to requiring businesses to pay above poverty wages is so fierce that they’re handing Democrats this potent weapon for November’s elections.

This article was originally printed on the Daily Kos on March 10, 2014.  Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: Laura Clawson is the labor editor at the Daily Kos.

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