Early this year, Democrats took a wrong turn on the road to midterm election success when they chose raising the federal minimum wage as a major issue to drive voters their way at the polls, reports suggest.
With international events such as the Ebola epidemic, the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorism in the Middle East, and the storming of the southern U.S. border by illegal aliens, the minimum wage issue, considered by Democrats to be a surefire winner earlier this year, has disappeared under a flood of foreign policy concerns, and has been very little help to struggling Democrats, the New York Times
In addition, the electoral impact of the Democratic tactic has been blunted in several key states as Republican candidates, while not accepting the federal $10.10 minimum favored by the Obama administration, cannily have been supporting more modest increases on state ballots, in effect stealing the impact of the minimum wage issue from their Democratic opponents, the Wall Street Journal
In Alaska, for example, Republican Dan Sullivan, challenging Sen. Mark Begich, who supports Obama's federal $10.10 increase, agreed to back a state initiative to raise the minimum wage from $7.75 to $9.75, and said, "Because it is a state-driven initiative, I do support the motion to place a minimum wage question directly to the people of Alaska, and I personally intend to vote for it," the Journal reports.
GOP Rep. Tom Cotton and his Senate opponent, incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor, both support raising the Arkansas state initiative to raise the minimum wage to $8.50, the Journal reports.
Democrats were counting on a repeat of their 2012 presidential tactic of painting the Republicans as the uncaring party of the rich, kicking off on April 30 when President Barack Obama gave a speech strongly endorsing a higher federal minimum wage and blasting Republicans for their opposition to it.
"Either you're in favor of raising wages for hardworking Americans or you're not," Obama said, saying Republicans "won't raise wages for millions of working families when three-quarters of Americans support it? That makes no sense."
Since then, however, world events have driven the minimum wage issue onto the back burner.
Mark Mellman, a Democratic pollster, told the Times, "His [Obama's] ability to project those issues in these races has been limited by the competing realities. The press is much more interested in what he's saying about ISIS than what he is saying about the minimum wage."
Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, told the Times, "I think it has pretty much fallen flat. People see it as an election-year stunt, and it is."
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