Sherrod Brown Launches the Dignity of Work Tour
Brown is preparing to run for President and is talking working class issues in Iowa
Even though the Iowa Caucus is one year away, the 2020 Presidential election is already heating up. Prospective candidates are making their way through early primary states, locking up endorsements and speaking to voters. For Sherrod Brown, a Senator from Ohio, his campaign tour is being called the ‘Dignity of Work’ tour.
Brown and his wife Connie made their first stop on Thursday in Iowa. The point of the tour is to talk to working people about real-world economic issues that affect them every day. These kitchen table issues often bridge the divide of partisanship. Some topics that have been discussed include the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), healthcare and lowering the Medicare age.
Brown believes that by talking about these economic issues, he will be able to win back voters who voted for Obama in 2012 but switched to Trump in 2016. Iowa, like much of the Midwest, supported Obama in 2008 and 2012 but then voted for Trump because they felt that the Democrats and Hillary Clinton had forgotten their issues. Instead of talking about strengthening their unions and bringing jobs back, Clinton preferred to talk about divisive social issues and that turned a lot of these Midwestern voters off.
Instead of talking social issues, Brown is seeking to highlight his progressive, yet common sense principals that helped him get re-elected in Ohio last year, in a year when Republicans won every other statewide office. Some of the positions he will be talking about on his tour, which will continue to New Hampshire next week, include a stepped program to provide universal healthcare, lowering the age to be eligible for Medicare from 65 to 55 or even 50, and strengthening tariffs to help protect workers in the Midwest and Appalachia who are seeing their jobs moved overseas or to Mexico. However, unlike Trump, Brown is advocating for the use of tariffs as a short-term solution, rather than the long term policy that Trump is proposing. Brown also talks about opposing NAFTA and rails against Trump’s phony populism. Instead Brown is offering these voters a real path to fix the problems that so many elected officials in Washington D.C. have overlooked.
The voter's reaction to Brown’s tour will not only be a major factor in messaging for himself and other Democratic candidates, but it will also help him make the decision on whether he should jump into the race. While he is taking all of the needed steps, he has said that he won’t officially make an announcement about his plan to run for President until after the tour ends in March. If Brown runs, he will be a formidable opponent in the Midwest. Politico recently said that Brown’s base is similar to that of another Presidential contender Joe Biden, saying that Brown is Biden without all the baggage. With his tour through the Midwest, we will see if Brown is the white working class whisper for the Democrats or if the party will have to keep looking for another person to bring back the Obama- Trump voters.