When are we going to know the results of this election? What can we do about voter suppression? And are Democrats finally giving up on trickle-down economics? Zach and political strategist Cristina Uribe answer these questions and more as they discuss what this election means for our economy and the health of our democracy.
It’s not too late to vote! If you’re unsure how, go to vote.org. And if you already voted by mail, track your ballot and make sure it was accepted!
Cristina Uribe is a veteran political strategist and manager working at the intersection of advocacy and politics. She has held senior management roles at several organizations, including California Director of the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center (BISC), Senior Advisor for Strategic Initiatives at the National Education Association (NEA), and Western Regional Director at EMILY’s List. She has led campaigns and civic engagement efforts in dozens of states across the country.
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Nick’s twitter: @NickHanauer
Hey, Zach Silk here. I’m the president of Civic Ventures. Today, we are going to be listening in on a program that we do on Nick Hanauer’s Facebook page. We do a review of the week’s news on Fridays, and you can check it out by going over to Nick’s Facebook page. And we talk about the news of the week. What’s overrated, what’s underrated. And it’s a way for us to kind of review things. It’ll be familiar to you. We mostly talk about economics and politics and how those two things collide. But this last Friday, I talked to one of my close friends and a political expert, Cristina Uribe. And we talked about the coming election, which is today. And we did an AMA. On this episode, we hope that we bring a little clarity to the political and also economic ramifications of the results today. We think we can give you some sense of what’s likely to come, what it’s likely to mean. And we hope it gives you some ease as you head into tonight.
If our questioners were any indication, many of you are probably feeling some anxiety about today, and that is totally reasonable, but here’s the couple of things that I want you to think about. And it came out in our conversation with Cristina. The first thing is it is an extraordinary display of civic engagement. We are watching. We are watching record turnout year over year over year. To be clear, it’s not unique to this year. ’17, 2018, and 2019 showed record turnout in elections all over the country. We are seeing an unprecedented amount of civic engagement, and that is the future of the country.
And so no matter what the outcomes are tonight, and it was likely to be several days ahead, as we sort out who won this election and we count every vote, you should know that we are in a period of unbelievable civic engagement. And we here at Civic Ventures and Pitchfork Economics really do believe that the people are on our side. And what that really means ultimately is when we’re all engaged, the politics will get better. The most important thing of course, is you should make sure you vote. If you have not voted already, you still have time. Please make sure that you participate in the process, and enjoy the episode.
Hello everybody. This is Zach Silk. Welcome to Civic Action Live. We have a special show this week. We are doing a cross simulcast with our Pitchfork Economics team. For those of you who don’t know, Nick Hanauer hosts a podcast called Pitchfork Economics. You should subscribe to it. You can hear Nick talk to some of the most interesting thinkers in economics and public policy in the world. He interviews them, talks to them. And then occasionally, we do bonus episodes just like this, where we talk to other people about other things that are happening in the world. A little while ago, we talked to our good friend, Cristina Uribe, about politics and the elections. And we thought, “Here we are on the cusp of the latest, most important election of our lifetime.” And we thought we would dial Cristina back up and talk to her about the election as we head into this.
Now we have asked people on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, you can find us there. You can also find Pitchfork Economics there for questions. And so we’ve already solicited some questions, but just like we do every week on Civic Action Live, we would really love for you to ask some questions now, live. Feel free to put those in the chat and we will answer them. And so Cristina and I are going to take those questions, we’re going to answer them to the best of our ability, and we’re excited to talk. But first, let’s take a little moment to introduce Cristina. Cristina, welcome.
Hi, Zach good to be back. I love it.
So good to have you. Will you tell everybody a little bit about yourself?
Sure. I am a political organizer, campaign strategists, activists, thinking of all the descriptions for what we do. Work on ballot campaigns. It’s the only marketable skill I have left at this point in my career from local candidates, statewide ballot measures, national efforts, but a lot of state and local as well. And a lot of work with organizations and institutions. I’m definitely much more sort of a movement institution person, versus individual candidate work, but run the gamut, which is how I met Zach and had spent a lot of time in Washington, actually. Not recently, but can’t wait to get back. But yeah.
Yeah, it’s been great. I’ve known Cristina a long time. She’s one of the best in the business and like us here at Civic Ventures, she’s a movement person, which is different than if you’re a party person, which is to say that you’re just loyal to the democratic party and it doesn’t matter what the democratic party does, you’re going to be loyal to them. Or you’re a candidate person, which is basically, you’re loyal to a set of candidates or personalities. We believe, and we work on things that are going to change the world, which is, that’s what movements do. And that’s one of the things I love about Cristina. And that’ll be fresh perspective for everybody here. We’re not here to tote the party line. We’re here to tell you what we think is going on as we’re trying to change the world.
Let me say a couple of things at the outset. And then we’re just going to get right into questions. If you have questions, please do give them to us. We’d love to take them. Please put them in the chat and we’ll cover them. The most important thing, I just want to say, we want to make sure that you are keeping yourself and your loved ones safe. We are in the middle of a pandemic. We totally recognize that. We don’t spend a lot of time on this show talking about it because it’s just part of the overall atmospherics. We are in what is, no doubt, the third wave of this pandemic as we see cases spike all over the country, please keep yourself and your loved ones safe. Get good information. There’s so much disinformation floating out there. Obviously most importantly, wear a mask, stay distant, wash your hands, follow those protocols, keep yourself safe.
Secondly, people are voting. Here we are. It’s election time. It’s really important for you to make a plan to vote. And this is also an important time to please be careful about the information you’re consuming. There’s a lot of disinformation out there. They’re going to try to confuse you. Our opponents in particular are trying to confuse people. The more confused you are, the less likely you are to vote. Don’t fall for it. Please make a plan, vote, get everybody you know to vote. The cool thing is people are voting and they are voting in record numbers. We know that there are almost 80 million, maybe just a bit more today, people who have already voted. That puts us on track for record turnout. Some people say that we may have higher turnout than we have had since 1908. So over 100 years and we’ve had big record turnouts.
2008 was a big turnout year, 2012 was a big turnout year. We know that there were big turnout years in the sixties. These are big turnout years, but we are now talking about record turnout. 80 million people have already cast their ballot, and in some places, and the state that we’ve been kind of looking at is Texas. They have already counted more votes today than they had in 2016 in many places in Texas, including the Houston area, which is a growing metropolis and really a key to winning Texas. So anyway, really, really impressive stuff. Cristina, when you think about voting, when you can just give everybody listening today, what do you think about and what should they think about as they’re headed into this last few days?
Yeah, I mean, you already said make a plan for folks who haven’t. And so we’ve had record numbers. So we also know there’s a lot of people out there who either requested a ballot and haven’t sent it back. So to your point, put in a drop box or take it to your polling place or registrar voters on election day, a lot of early voting sites and tons of places. You just said Texas, Harris County. We were saying earlier, just yesterday, we went 24 hours. So to reflect that not everyone, because there are still people working, work these weird schedules and can’t even go during the early voting hours, so they just make it 24 hours. So if you’re coming off your shift at 9:00 PM or 10:00 PM, you just go over and vote. We’ve seen arenas, right? In the NBA and major league baseball here in Oakland, the Coliseum is an early voting site and it’s going to be open.
And it’s great, because a lot of times some of these arenas are located in places where there may be more disenfranchised voters or voters who are typically not sort of a focus of outreach or don’t hear enough to then sort of drive by their arena. And come vote here is also a great thing. So the record number of people who are voting, the record number of first time voters that we know in some states are making up some of those numbers as well, but we still live in a country where record numbers sometimes can still be woefully short of who is eligible to vote, so if you are registered, or if you live in a state like mine in California, where on election day, if you’ve moved or something, you can still register in person, go to vote.org, because election rules are different in 50 different States and even in counties. So go to vote.org.
It’s a great resource to answer these questions, like how can I early vote? It’s not too late. So even if you’re listening to this on election day and it’s in the morning or afternoon, still not too late to vote. So go there. Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE is also a great hotline if you run into any problems while you’re voting early or there’s some confusions or questions, we make this sound really easy. But as someone who voted for the first time at home this election, I had questions. I always vote in person and this was my first time voting at home. And I really took my time. That’s the upside if you’re voting from home, where do I sign? Okay. Use blue or black ink, really going through.
And so I also know that it can feel like when everyone’s talking about voting, that it’s something that you naturally should know how to do. And whether it’s your first time at 18 or 20 voting, or first-time voter, I think Shaq said he’s voting for the first time this year and he’s 45. That’s okay. I think that’s exciting. I love the sports metaphor. Elections are bandwagons. Get on this bandwagon. We’re going to win, so you want to get on it. It’s not too late, jump on board and make sure that you get your vote in because as you and I both know, working a lot of state and local elections, there’s more on the ballot than what’s at the top of the ticket. And literally every vote counts, especially when you’re looking at state ballot measures or local city council races or state legislative races, every vote.
Yeah, right on. Let’s get voting. I will say famously that people have kicked around this notion that Donald Trump last time won by something like 77,000 votes spread across three states, right? That’s awfully close when you think about, there were 140 million votes cast. 77,000 was the difference between him winning and losing. And let’s be clear, you and I have both worked on local elections where it’s tens or hundreds of votes which separate the winner and the loser. So really honest to goodness, every vote counts. Now I will say, there’s a lot of cynical people out there, and there’s probably some people that are listening right now who feel like, “Well, does my vote matter? Why would I vote? There’s other ways for me to express my activism, my desire to make the world a better place.” What do you think about that, Cristina? You must run into that a lot.
I have said from the very beginning that I feel like in the work that I do, my opponent, this year has not been Donald Trump, it’s been cynicism. And people have a lot of reasons to feel that way. I absolutely get it. Whether it’s from the economy or student loans or healthcare, or violence against black people and the killings that we’ve seen and all this sort of movement that we’ve seen in the streets, my feeling has been with folks is, let’s bring that movement and that energy to the ballot box, right? The election is not an end point. It’s an inflection point. And it’s an important tool for those of us who care about, like you said at the beginning, movement building and really changing policy and changing the direction of our country. This is an important tool that we can’t leave in the toolbox.
It’s not the only one, but a very important one. And I really feel like this election is an opportunity for it actually to be about us, not even about the candidates, but about those of us who show up and really setting a tone for the future that we want. And we definitely shouldn’t be shaming people who feel that way. This is a, again, call in moment. It’s okay if you have felt that way, I get it. I have felt that way sometimes. And I do this work, right? Hope is a discipline. It is something you have to work at. It is a muscle we don’t use enough. And so I understand that completely. And so my message always is, this is one way, and this is really for us, sort of to take ownership over our democratic process and our democracy to really shape what comes next.
I love this hope as a discipline thing. You just have to keep practicing and no one is saying, certainly not you or me, that voting is the end. That is only the beginning. It’s one of many steps. We want you to be engaged. Absolutely you should express yourself. Marches and protests matter. Contributing to your organizations that you believe in matters. Somebody’s got to pay those organizers to hit the street to do the good things, right? And also voting so that you have a choice about who you are lobbying when we’re going in to tell them what they should be doing for us. So it’s a really important piece. It’s a part of the chain. It’s obviously not the end destination. So let’s make sure that we all get out there and vote. There’s a lot of talk Cristina, about voter suppression. Eric asks, “How big of an impact will voter suppression have on the results this year, and is there anything that we can do about it?” What do you think about that?
Yeah, so voter suppression shows up in many forms, including, as you said earlier, disinformation, right? So what we can do is not spread disinformation, not feeding into that cynicism, voting, again. And then once you voted, get your friends to vote, get your family and friends, those texts that we’re all getting, we talked about this, those aren’t from bots. Those are from volunteers who are like, “What can I do? How can I make sure?” People who are delivering food to the polls, right? Long lines in a functioning democracy should not be happening, but we know that is the case. So there’s folks who are bringing music to the polls while folks wait outside, who are bringing food to the polls, showing up and sort of bearing witness what’s happening, I think, is important and being a resource for folks around where they can call. Like I said, 1-866-OUR-VOTE.
We know there’s a lot that’s happening with the courts and different challenges, but the best sort of way we fight back against that is overwhelming numbers. That is how we win this. There’s no doubt. There’s overwhelming numbers, and doing what’s in our control. I love a sports metaphor. You think about what the other side is doing, but the folks who are successful, run their plan, run their game plan, know what they’re going to do, have confidence in what they’re doing. And again, I do believe we’re going to win and we should start acting that way. And again, winning builds confidence and makes people feel stronger that they’re not alone up there, when they’re standing in line or dropping off their ballot, that they are part of something bigger. And that’s another way that we combat sort of the different barriers people have to go through, and day one of a new Congress and hopefully a new US Senate and a new administration, pass the Voting Rights Act. That’s what we do. And we keep this energy, like you said, past election day.
Yeah, absolutely. And I will say we’ve been at this a long time and the easiest and most important thing to do to help avoid the kind of suppression in chicanery is overwhelming turnout. Mostly suppression and chicanery work on the margins. And when they’re low margins elections like 2000 or 2016, that’s when they work. When they’re high turnout elections, where the margins are not so close, like 2008, for example, it makes it a lot harder. Let’s be very clear. In 2008, they were trying to suppress the vote too. They’ve had this machine running for a long time. This is the game they’ve been playing for a long time. They know that when everybody votes, they generally lose. Now, part of what that means is that we need to make sure that we don’t buy into the cynicism and we have overwhelming numbers. More people voting will help us prevent that.
The second thing. And I think it is really important for everybody is to make sure your vote counted. Just because you submitted your ballot, so many of us are voting from home. So many of us are voting with a ballot that we’re putting into a box or turning over, just make sure that vote got counted. There’s ways to track it. Almost every state has a tracking mechanism. You should make sure that it counted, follow your ballot until it’s counted. If it’s something has gone wrong, it might be that your signature changed or there might’ve been something that wasn’t received in time. Make sure that you are following your ballot.
The third and final thing is just making sure that you are supporting the institutions out there who will be fighting this battle. The election is going to be had on election day, but all the votes won’t be counted on election day. That’s not the way it works. It’s never worked that way in this country. And it’s important that you continue to support the people that are going to be protecting the counting process as we go. Cristina, you always talk about this. It’s not on election night, as Donald Trump keeps saying that somehow the election is over on election night. That’s not the way this works. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Democracy takes time and it’s worth it. Right? And so we want to get it right. And those of us on the west coast who have had voting at home or vote by mail or absentee ballot a little bit longer, here in California, Los Angeles County, it’s really big. It’s bigger than some states. They take their time getting it right, and making sure that every vote is counted. So we need to count every ballot, but it’s also every voice counts. Everyone’s gone through all this work. And so being patient and knowing it comes in waves, especially in COVID, it’s really important to remember that they’re also taking safety precautions in a lot of registrar’s office, a lot of local county offices, around how many people can be there, right? They have to have safe protocols as well. And so the counting that comes in on both election day of election day voters, and then having to process, different states have different rules around when they can start processing. In California, you can start processing, not counting, but processing.
So what Zach just talked about the signature. Checking the signature, making sure that the envelope was sealed correctly. All of that. And I can’t emphasize enough, follow your ballot. I got a text that told me my ballot was received and is going to be counted. And I was like, “Yay.” Again, I had never voted from home before. So I was like, “Okay.” Even I had, I trust the process, but I was sort of like, “Okay, goodbye, little ballot. I’m dropping it in this box I’ve never used before.” So that takes time. Record turnout. This is mostly, yes, local election offices who’ve been doing this a long time, but in a lot of states, absentee voting and vote by mail is very new in places like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
So we want them to take their time to get this right. We want them to count every vote. We want people to have the opportunity, if something’s wrong with their ballot, they’re contacted and know they can come down and prove it was them or do a new signature, whatever it may take. Again, this is such an important election. We wouldn’t want to rush it. And it does. It does take time. I do think folks should expect, because of COVID, and again, record numbers of people voting, that by Friday, we should have a good sense.
Obviously, this is both on our Civic Action Live and on the podcast, we talk a lot about economics and some people have some questions on economics. I thought we could just talk this thing through. “What do you think is going to happen to the economy in the short to middle term, if there’s not a peaceful transition of power?” Damien asks, “And then after a win, assuming that Biden won, how will that affect the economy?” Well, let me say a couple of quick things. First and foremost, we don’t know what’s going to happen with the transition. Donald Trump is a unique character in American politics. We just have never had anybody quite so willing to destroy norms. And there is a norm in American civic life that you have a peaceful transition of power. It’s actually not a rule. It’s not in the constitution. There’s not even a law about it. It’s a norm.
And we absolutely know that he has shredded basically most of our norms. There are of course legal boundaries that have helped prevent bad things from happening. He’s obviously been impeached for his behavior, but this will be a dangerous time for everybody. The one thing about this is that there is a lot of institutional power that will respect the norms. And the reason for that is the stability. One of the things about the United States that has kept us a thriving country for a very long time, even though people are not thriving equally, is we have a lot of stability. People really want stability. Stable transitions of power is an important part, even in times of real tumult. World wars, pandemics. Otherwise we’ve had that.
I’m not suggesting that there will not be some real problems. My guess is the stock market will probably respond poorly to a contested transition of power. I think a lot of the most powerful institutions in corporate America and other places will not respond well to these things. It’s important that we, as citizens, stay resolved. We believe in the rules and we believe in the norms and we’re going to follow them. It’s really important that we believe that a transition of power should be peaceful. And we continue to express that. And we need to believe in the United States of America. There’s so much of what the other side is doing. They want us to stop believing in the prospects of this country. They really want to divide us. They really want to pursue a vision of the country that is actually antithetical to the vision that most of us share. And we need to make sure that we don’t fall into that cynicism.
As for the economy, look, we know lots and lots of people have been studying Joe Biden’s plans. And it’s not just us that consider ourselves left of center. JP Morgan, Citi Group, a variety of people have studied. Moody’s, they’ve studied his economic plans and they actually will say, conclusively, that more jobs, more wages, and higher GDP would be the result of his plan. And the reason they say that is because he’s following a plan that we believe in, which is, you should invest in people, make sure that wages are rising, and make sure that you are doing really significant economic stimulus when you’re in this kind of economic crisis. And he says it very clearly. Joe Biden, unlike Donald Trump, has very clear plans about this, about what he wants to do. You don’t have to be on the far left. The business community has analyzed these things and they will tell you higher GDP, more economic growth, more jobs and higher wages. And those are the things that we’re looking for, that everybody will benefit from those policies.
And I actually think right in the beginning, I’m not sure what you think, Cristina, but my guess is there’s going to be a lot of hunger for quick action on the economy. We’re in this terrible stall right now, we should have passed a second stimulus. We should’ve kept those UI benefits going. We should have put more money into people’s pockets. Those things were working. And the fact that it got stalled out in the Republican Senate and the fact that Donald Trump, the greatest maker of deals in the history of deal-making, couldn’t make a deal. There’s a lot of pent up demand everywhere for more stimulus. So I think that’ll probably happen pretty fast. I’m not sure of what your sentiment on that is.
Yeah. I mean, it’s tied to COVID right? Lots of folks have said this from the beginning. Getting our arms around COVID and the pandemic is directly tied to what happens on the economy as well. So we need to actually have a plan for that. Those concerns have not gone away. We’ve seen it in minds, both young people, across demographics, around the impact COVID has had on people’s both health, but also economic health. And so responding to those dual challenges, I think will be one of the very first things that a new administration does. And let’s be clear. It’s why we need to win back the US Senate. So we need to win at all levels. It will not be enough to just take back the White House. That will be important to have sort of a goalie in place there. Critically, critically, critically important, but we also have to take back the US Senate. That’ll be important, or at least get really close. But I think it’s possible to win back the US Senate to sort of get this country.
And we’ve seen that from folks. When people say they want to move on, what they really were saying is they are ready for some solutions and for a federal government that is working in partnership with our state governments, because Washington State and California and Oregon and Illinois, and a lot of states that are trying to confront this, cannot do it without a real federal partner and where people are sort of singing off the same song sheet and providing real relief. I know in my city, we’re facing massive budget cuts as it relates to the impacts of COVID and the effects that’s going to have. And luckily, our state had a rainy day reserve, but that’s just about gone now. So I do think that will be first order of business. And it’s what they’re hearing around what folks want when they talk about really turning the page.
So Cristina, we have a lot of questions. Otto and Tracy, and then some other people in the chat have been asking about money in politics and that’s kind of the corrosive influence of money in politics and what we might be able to do about it. And obviously, part of our challenge of course, is that we have this thing, not just Citizens United, to be clear, there are other Supreme court rulings over the last 100 years that have made it very challenging to regulate money in politics.
So I would love to get your, just, thoughts about it in general. I’ve got some thoughts I’d be happy to share, but what do you think about getting money out of politics, limiting its influence? I think the theory here, and certainly a lot of people share this is that that kind of corrosive effect where our elected officials are so beholden to moneyed interests, whether it’s corporations or the very rich and powerful, it distorts the politics. Why aren’t they working on our behalf as average citizens? It’s partially because there’s so much corrosive money in the system. What are your thoughts about it?
I think even people who don’t take corporate donations, who you’ll hear from elected officials, the amount of time they have to spend fundraising and calling people and asking for money, they don’t want to do it. You and I have both worked with candidates, no one likes to call and ask for money. And so it’s actually what makes then, the corporate money more corrosive, because that money shows up unasked, because it has expectations with it. And so we’ve seen a rise. Going back to Howard Dean, but also with Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and even this current election, record members of small dollar donations where individuals are, their $5 and $10, giving and making a huge difference. There’s a whole host of rules at the federal level that we need to start undoing because even in states where we have radical transparency, which I’m in favor of. So I think make it all transparent, make it all disclosed so everyone knows, who is paying for what and where the money is coming from does make a difference.
You and I both know this, when voters know where the money’s coming from, that impacts their decision making as well. So I just think radical transparency at all levels and disclosure and rapid disclosure. And disclosure that’s easy to find. Updating, whether it’s the federal elections, commissions, or state databases, some of those are so out of date that even the disclosure doesn’t matter if you can’t find out about it and then starting to unravel and unpack Citizens United. We definitely have a lot of work to do there, but I do think there’s definitely will for it as well, where voters now understand the impact of money in politics and want it out.
Yeah. And I would say first and foremost, there is a lot of reforms coming. If Democrats take both chambers and Joe Biden wins, there’s already a set of reforms they want to pass right out of the gate that probably, although it’s hard to tell what this current make-up, the Supreme court would pass constitutional muster. But I think most of the people asking here are asking the right question. It’s very hard to regulate money in politics under this current constitutional read, right? Between Citizens United and this idea that money equals speech. It’s just really, really challenging. That said, a lot of states have done some interesting things around regulation and that has a big impact on your life. And you should be pushing your states to do more regulation on this.
Cristina mentioned one of the most important things you do is really important sunshine laws. That helps to dry up dark money. It really does. And there’s no question that states that have very good sunshine laws have less corruption. There is a interrelationship between those two things. The second thing is there’s a lot of constitutionally permissible restrictions on big money moving late. I know in many western states, for example, they restrict the amount of big money that can move in the final month. And as you might all understand, late money does have a big influence, and a lot of the dark money waits until the last possible minute. And there are ways that you can restrict how money moves, less about restricting money overall in the system, more about restricting how it moves. And that does seem to be constitutional, so we should be fighting for reforms. And as Cristina said, ultimately, we need to unwind some of these constitutional decisions, activism around ending Citizens United, activism around changing our understanding around this will be important, and activism around the Supreme court. And that’ll have a big impact on a lot of things we care about.
All right, let’s see. We want to do a couple of more things. So I think we’ll close out here in about five minutes. If you have last minute questions, this is a good time to do it. I wanted to take this one. This is a really important one. There’s a lot of chat here. Harry has this comment, and a few other people have asking about, is this the and of Democrats being trickled downers? As a reminder, Cristina, let’s cross all of our fingers. As a reminder, we here at Pitchfork Economics, and at Civic Action. We talk about, there’s three pillars to trickle down economics. The first and most obvious one that everybody talks about of course is tax cuts for rich people will somehow benefit the economy. The second one is deregulating the powerful will benefit the economy. And the third is wage suppression benefits the economy.
Now mind you, each one of those are patently false. They’re literally provably false. There is no evidence whatsoever that tax cuts for rich people lead to better things for the rest of us. Absolutely this idea of deregulating the powerful, all of the worst outcomes, whether those are public health outcomes, whether those are worker safety outcomes, or what we’ve seen in the regulation of the financial markets with the collapse of 2008, when you deregulate, generally speaking, that is bad for everybody else. Think about regulations that everybody should understand. Those are standards. We like to be held to high standards. High standards helps everybody. That is what we want. We want to hold people to high standards. This isn’t about crushing the market. We here are capitalists. We believe in capitalism, we believe in markets, but they’ve got to be regulated in order to have good outcomes.
And then finally, this wage question. The hardest thing for us has been watching Democrats give up on wages over the last, I don’t know, 40 years. But it really was accelerated by Bill Clinton and then ultimately through this entire wave of the last 25 years or so, a full generation where they never talk about wages ever, ever, ever. It has changed. Joe Biden, God bless him. He talks about wages all the time. He fought for the $15 minimum wage in the last debate, made an articulate case on it. He’s got television ads running in red states that says he’s going to raise wages $15,000 a year. He is really, really fighting on this question.
I’m hoping, and Cristina and I are crossing our fingers, but this could be the end of it. It doesn’t work. It’s bad politics. And it’s bad policy, this idea of this trickle down thing. And ultimately, you do not want to be playing the game on your opponents’ turf. And every time that we are talking about economics in trickle-down terms, we are playing on our opponents turf. We need to be playing on our terms. A lot of the people running for office are pretending that they’re not trickle downers, because it’s currently very unpopular, and we’ll see how they start to do being policymakers, and we’re going to have to keep a close eye on it as we go.
Can I just say, too, Zach, on that, because this is your topic. I was just going to say my favorite thing. I don’t watch a lot of debates. That’s just self care for myself. [inaudible 00:33:06] voting for, but hearing Kamala Harris refuse to call them tax cuts and say “tax bill,” the tax bill that the Republicans passed, because that’s what it was for the rest of us. I just, that was again, really smart because who doesn’t want a tax cut? So it just becomes, we sort of buy into that it must not be bad because it’s something we’re going to get someday. But it was a tax bill that the Republicans passed, signed by the Trump administration. And that is something that is coming due on all of us. So I even just think the work that you all are doing and language is really important where we’re all trying to unlearn all this, what you just said, it doesn’t work. And we know that. We’re living through that.
All right. Cristina, we’ve got an action we’re going to ask people to take. I’m going to just prompt you to think about your last thoughts for our audience here. Let me tell people the action first. So here’s the deal folks. We’re trying to elect all these people, but we need them to take action to address income inequality. We have a really unique moment here where a group of policymakers, particularly to Congress are going to be thinking differently about the economy than they’ve thought in a full generation. And we need to make sure they hear from us. And we have a handy tool to do that. Speaking of texting, you can text Rand, R-A-N-D, text Rand to 67076. That’s 67076. Or you can go to civic action.com/rand. And we’re going to post that both in the show notes and on the live stream.
So here’s the deal. For many of you who’ve been following along, you know that there was this groundbreaking study released by the Rand Corporation, one of the most reputable research institutions in the world, where they were able to put a dollar mark on the amount of money that has gone from working people to the top 1% over the last 40 years. And to be clear, it’s a big number. If you feel like you’ve been getting screwed, it’s because you have, and it’s been getting screwed to the tune of $2.5 trillion a year, $2.5 trillion. And what that means for the typical worker is $42,000 a year. Can you imagine? Now, to be clear, this means our economy is very prosperous. Our economy is very productive. We are a wealthy country. That continues to be true. The problem is we’re not sharing in it. It used to be that as you got more prosperous and more productive, everybody was sharing in it.
Then something broke. And when that broke, the wealthy kept sharing in higher and higher amounts. So there’s about $2.5 trillion that used to go to everybody that’s going to the top 1%. And what that means for you is you, today, should be making $42,000 more a year. What would $42,000 more mean to you? Think about that? I mean, it’s incredible. And so that is the kind of scale of the problem we’re talking about, and that’s why we need you to take this action. So again, text Rand to 67076, and you’ll be able to get in touch with your Congress person to tell them, read the report and take action. All right, Cristina, we just got a couple of minutes left. Do you have any other final takeaways as people head into election night?
Yeah. Believe that we can win. I’m not even being flip about it. I actually do believe we can win or else I wouldn’t be doing this work. Why even vote? To that very earlier question. So I do believe we can win. And I know that’s the beginning of all the questions that are coming in around the economy and COVID, and all the things that we care about. Yes, it’s about silencing that noise and not having to worry about 2:00 AM tweets anymore, but it’s about so much bigger at every level, whether it’s the climate or the economy or healthcare, or being able to hug our families and friends again, and having a government that believes in science and is looking out for all of our best interests, that cares that there are still thousands of people dying everyday from COVID.
That’s why I already voted. That’s why I’m going to do everything in my power between now and Tuesday, which is the last day to vote, not the day everyone votes, but it’s the last day to vote, so I’m going to do everything in my power so I don’t wake up the next day or a couple of days later having any regrets about what could I have done. This is really our opportunity. I really do feel like this is our election. This is so much about all of us and everyone who listens to your show. So I’m excited. I mean, I’m excited for election day.
Well, thank you, Cristina. It is always a pleasure to talk to you. For everybody out there, thank you so much for joining us. We really appreciate it. Follow along, be safe, be vigilant, be hopeful, and vote. Thank you all.
Pitchfork Economics is produced by Civic Ventures. If you like the show, make sure to subscribe, rate, and review us wherever you get your podcasts. Find us on Twitter and Facebook at Civic Action and Nick Hanauer. Follow our writing on medium at Civic Skunk Works and peek behind the podcast scenes on Instagram at Pitchfork Economics. As always from our team at Civic Ventures, thanks for listening. See you next week.