Ruy Teixeira

Ruy Teixeira is a senior fellow and co-director of the Progressive Studies Program at the Center for American Progress.

Recent Articles

Don't Mourn, Mobilize

It's getting harder and harder to be middle class. As a result of the Bush administration's relentless tax-cutting agenda -- designed to limit the ability of government to deliver services -- the lives of middle-class Americans are becoming more difficult and less secure, in areas from health care to pensions to public schools. But, in the immortal words of Bob Dole, "Where's the outrage?" Why have these attacks not provoked a greater political reaction? And what chance is there for a progressive middle-class response to these attacks in the future? This lack of outrage seems particularly odd because the middle class is aware of the attacks upon it. People in general, and the middle class in particular, believe that Bush-administration policies have favored the interests of large corporations and the rich over those of ordinary people and the middle class. An early January CBS News poll found that, by huge margins, the public thought that Bush administration policies favor the rich (...

The Myth of the Investor Class

Although the ownership of stocks and bonds is more highly concentrated than ever, we've been hearing a great deal lately about the rise of an "investor class." This concept, used with much abandon by free-market theorists and political operatives, holds that the simple act of participating in the stock market, even if indirectly and in only small amounts, moves people into this new investor class -- a class that supports as little regulation and taxation as possible, because that benefits America's companies and therefore the stock market. How plausible is this? Should free marketeers really be cheered? Should advocates of social outlay, regulation and progressive taxation be alarmed? We can distinguish between two versions of the theory. In the shorter-acting version, as more voters own stock, they turn toward Republicans and Democratic conservatives to defend and extend their interests as stockholders. In the longer-acting version, as more voters own stock, they become increasingly...

Where the Democrats Lost

W here did the Democrats lose in 2002? A lot rides on this question; wrong answers will produce poor targeting and ineffective politics, and the Democrats can afford precious little of either. But right answers can set the stage for future gains in the 2004 election and beyond. Base Mobilization Perhaps the most common answer -- certainly among Democrats -- has been base mobilization. In this view, the Democrats' 2002 campaign failed to excite their political base, which consequently turned out at low levels and didn't offer the consistently high support the party has enjoyed in previous elections. Let's take the issue of support levels first. We are handicapped here and elsewhere by the absence of exit polls in this election, with the exception of a Los Angeles Times exit poll in California. However, a combination of telephone surveys taken right before, during and after the election, plus analyses of county and precinct voting results, does allow for some provisional assessments...

Next Steps

Let's try to organize our thinking about this election, shall we? (Those who prefer to panic may leave the room.) We'll look at four topics, in the following order: -- What happened? -- Why did it happen? -- Where did it happen? -- What does it all mean, especially for future Democratic politics? What Happened? Consider the following numbers: Senate: -2 House: -5 Governors: +3 These are, of course, the Democratic net losses (and gains) in the 2002 election. Repeat them to yourself several times; they do not seem, on the face of it, to indicate a Republican tsunami that swept away everything in its path. In fact, these numbers suggest the partisan balance of the country, at least in terms of voting and public support, has changed only slightly. This is different from, say, 1994, when huge Republican gains (52 House seats, nine Senate seats, 10 governors) really did dramatically change the partisan balance. But, when the country is divided as evenly as it currently is, small changes can...

Itty-Bitty Agenda

S ome say the Democrats don't have the courage of their convictions. Could be. But what I worry about more is that they don't have the courage of the public's convictions. Take the issue of war with Iraq. Polls have consistently shown that the public is leery of unilateral action in Iraq and would prefer not to act in the absence of backing from the United Nations and our allies. The public also wants to give weapons inspectors a chance to do their job and does not see any compelling necessity for immediate action against Iraq. Sound familiar? That's Al Gore's position and Ted Kennedy's, but it is supposedly such a far-out, liberal position that those running for office must strenuously avoid it. That's why the Democratic leadership in Congress, we are told, has been so circumspect in its reactions to George W. Bush's drive toward war. But that far-out, liberal position also happens to be the view of a majority of Americans. Maybe it wouldn't be so risky for Democrats to take a clear...

Pages