iOS app Android app

Mike Lux
Michael Lux is the co-founder Democracy Partners, a political consulting firm whose mission is building the progressive movement. Previously, he was Senior Vice President for Political Action at People For the American Way (PFAW), and the PFAW Foundation, and served in the Clinton White House from January 1993 to mid-1995 as a Special Assistant to the President for Public Liaison. While at Progressive Strategies, Lux founded, and currently chairs American Family Voices.

Lux serves on the boards of several other organizations including the Arca Foundation, Americans United for Change, Netroots Nation, Progressive Congress, and USAction. He also co-founded the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, Progressive Majority, Women's Voice/Women Vote, and the Center for Progressive Leadership. He played a role in the early days of launching the Center for American progress, Air America, and

On January 14, 2009, Lux released his first book, The Progressive Revolution: How the Best in America Came to Be. Lux's book was published by Wiley Publishing. You can purchase The Progressive Revolution by clicking here.

Entries by Mike Lux

Puppets of the Koch Brothers

(0) Comments | Posted August 27, 2015 | 2:09 PM

I have been arguing for some time that the Republican Party establishment is now thoroughly controlled by the Koch brothers and their close circle of billionaire cronies. On the policy issues that matter the most to the Kochs -- on climate change, taxation and the budget, education, labor and wages,...

Read Post

Julian Bond's Path and the Crossroads in Front of Us Today

(3) Comments | Posted August 18, 2015 | 4:44 PM

I have been thinking a lot about the incomparable Julian Bond the last couple of days, but as he would no doubt be saying, in spite of our sorrow, we have to keep our eyes on the prize. The contrast could not be greater between the violence in word and...

Read Post

Trump and the Koch-heads

(0) Comments | Posted August 7, 2015 | 12:17 PM

The debate season is starting, and there is no doubt that it is entertaining. The media's obsession with Trump will not be diminished by last night's debate, as both the moderators and the other candidates in both the prime time and happy hour debates circled around the persona of Trump...

Read Post

Wall Street, The Koch Brothers and the Alternative

(143) Comments | Posted July 15, 2015 | 2:16 PM

Wall Street and the Koch brothers have an agenda for America that, unless you are worth at least $50 million and are a top executive of a huge and powerful corporate conglomerate, won't work out very well for you. The Democratic Party must embrace a progressive populist economic agenda if...

Read Post

Trump, Jeb, Jamie Dimon: Out-of-Touch 1-Percenters

(0) Comments | Posted July 9, 2015 | 2:12 PM

Donald Trump is getting the lion's share of attention in the Republican circus right now, but he is hardly the only 1-percenter who is utterly out of touch. The media loves Trump for his arrogant grandstanding and his remarkably unfiltered quotes -- they make him so much less boring than...

Read Post

SEC Commissioner: We Shouldn't Be Promoting Investor Confidence

(6) Comments | Posted June 14, 2015 | 8:36 AM

A leading Republican regulator, SEC Commissioner Michael Piwowar, said in a speech to Cato recently that the goal of the Securities and Exchange Commission should not be to "promote investor confidence," but instead to "promote investor skepticism." This is pretty remarkable, and it's a scary example of a radically libertarian...

Read Post

Modern Conservatives Hate It's a Wonderful Life

(163) Comments | Posted June 9, 2015 | 10:07 AM

I wrote on Friday about the way the modern conservative movement, and the Republican party which is owned by it, have devolved into a kind of meanness unrecognizable from the classic Bob-Dole kind of conservatism I grew up knowing in the Midwest.

Modern conservatism has slipped from...

Read Post

Two Kinds of Meanness: The Modern Conservative Movement

(441) Comments | Posted June 5, 2015 | 2:27 PM

I grew up and did my early work in politics in Nebraska, and my wife is a farmer's daughter from rural Missouri. I spent about 10 years organizing and door-knocking for campaigns in rural Iowa. So I know a lot about the kind of Bob Dole conservatism that used to...

Read Post

ALEC: Paying for Corporate Lobbying With Our Tax Dollars

(1) Comments | Posted May 30, 2015 | 10:40 AM

My careful and objective analysis, based on 35 years in political life, is that ALEC is one of the sleaziest organizations in modern American political life. I know that sounds like a dramatic thing to say, but when more than 100 major corporations find it too embarrassing to be associated...

Read Post

Is the TPP Okay With Slavery? Really?

(79) Comments | Posted May 28, 2015 | 2:52 PM

So the fast track plan to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership has run into a new wrinkle after an amendment passed in the Senate debate: slavery. Yes, really, slavery: the Senate voted for an amendment that would make it more difficult for countries that engage in slavery to be in the...

Read Post

A Libertarian Dream: The 'Sharing Economy'

(6) Comments | Posted May 19, 2015 | 9:26 AM

Regulatory agencies do a ton of hearings and other discussions and events that don't get a lot of attention at the time, but turn out, in retrospect, to be important turning points in economic regulatory history. The FTC has what they are calling a workshop coming up on...

Read Post

Trade and the Enforcement Issue

(17) Comments | Posted May 18, 2015 | 12:26 PM

The trade debate is a thoroughly engrossing saga full of intriguing story lines, as both parties find themselves in civil wars as the strange bedfellows of Obama, McConnell, and Boehner, and the combined might of corporate America, try to ram home a deal that, with such an alliance, should be...

Read Post

Exciting Ideas Driving Progressive Organizing

(0) Comments | Posted May 4, 2015 | 5:45 PM

There is a lot of great thinking about policy that is driving progressive movement organizing right now. While policy discussion in the traditional media confines of D.C. conventional wisdom is depressingly narrow, the progressive movement is bubbling with not only big and bold policy ideas but energy as to how...

Read Post

Senators Warren and Brown: Time to Let the Public In on the TPP

(0) Comments | Posted April 27, 2015 | 11:12 AM

This letter from Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown sets the perfect tone for the debate on the TPP. It is respectful while at the same time not backing down an inch in their criticisms of the process so far. It lays out the case on the whole secrecy...

Read Post

Mr. President: The More You Attack Us, The More We'll Fight Back

(38) Comments | Posted April 24, 2015 | 5:30 PM

The stories about the President and his aides escalating the fight with progressives over Fast Track and TPP are getting me worked up:

Democrats Prepare for Battle as Fast Track Nears the Senate Floor

Obama Compares Progressive Opposition to Trade Deal to...

Read Post

White House Trade Strategy: Talk Progressive, Use Wall Street to Negotiate the Deal

(20) Comments | Posted April 21, 2015 | 10:30 AM

At the Stop Fast Track Rally yesterday, AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka talked about the White House trying to undermine labor solidarity by going behind his back to local labor folks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade treaty:

Let's leave aside for a moment the disrespect that that shows to one of the administration's closest, tried-and-true political allies. I'm sure they are telling these local labor folks how wonderfully progressive this trade deal will be for workers. It isn't unlike the new Progressive Coalition for American Jobs organization that just popped up -- which seems to have no progressive groups in the coalition but uses progressive-sounding talking points to make the case for the TPP and the ability for the president to ram it through Congress, aka fast-track authority. Then there is Tom Perez, the generally progressive Secretary of Labor, using the same kind of arguments, pushing progressives to get on board.

All these progressive talking points would be a lot more persuasive if there was a single iota of transparency in the negotiations around the TPP, but it has been the most secretive trade agreement I can remember (and I was in the Clinton White House during the NAFTA fight). What is even more outrageous is that they haven't let anyone with a progressive mindset anywhere near the negotiations, which is a pattern dating back to the Clinton years.

When I was in the Clinton administration, I kept suggesting smart progressive people whom I thought would be great to have on the U.S. Trade Representative's negotiating team, because the president had promised that they would negotiate treaties with progressive values in mind. None of the people I recommended was ever seriously considered. And when I would arrange meetings for progressive-minded folks to come in and talk to negotiators from USTR, I got sent memos attacking me for trying to "undermine" the process.

The pattern continued in the Obama administration. I was on the Obama transition team, but no progressive I suggested was ever even interviewed for USTR. The folks appointed at USTR have all been Wall Street-oriented Democrats, including the current head of USTR, Michael Froman, who was a senior executive at Citibank. Shocking, then, that the TPP is, by and large, a giveaway to the finance industry.

One progressive I advocated for strongly, Ron Bloom, was appointed to the administration, initially to Treasury and then as the Senior Counselor for Manufacturing Policy (the "Manufacturing Czar," as some called him). Ron is a brilliant guy who had worked for the Steelworkers Union, and he did a great job in that role. However, it was announced to all concerned that Ron was to have no portfolio in terms of trade policy or negotiations. Having the manufacturing czar have nothing to do with trade is like telling the Interior Secretary they should have no role in the national parks, or telling the Treasury Secretary they should leave banking policy to someone else: It is absurd on its face. But the Obama administration has never wanted a progressive anywhere near trade policy.

This administration can talk all day long about how progressive the TPP is going to be, but if they were willing to be more transparent in the negotiations, or maybe appoint someone with progressive values to be part of the negotiating team, it would be a lot easier to believe...

Read Post

Elizabeth Warren's Comprehensive Wall Street Reform Agenda

(89) Comments | Posted April 17, 2015 | 2:49 PM

Elizabeth Warren has given her fair share of great speeches, and has written some outstanding legislation on reforming Wall Street, but her speech on April 15 to the Hyman P. Minsky Conference was the best Wall Street policy speech I have ever heard her, or anyone, ever give. It...

Read Post

The Angst of the Rich and Powerful

(7) Comments | Posted March 30, 2015 | 3:16 PM

There have been a couple of recent articles that relate to money and politics that, while infuriating on many levels, have also struck me as very funny.

One of them came out yesterday, a broadside no doubt planted by a Wall Street lobbyist intending to frighten Democratic party...

Read Post

Most Important Election of 2015: Chuy Garcia's People's Campaign Versus Rahm Emanuel's Big Money

(7) Comments | Posted March 23, 2015 | 2:48 PM

Every so often, a local election comes along that has enormous implications in terms of the national political narrative. Back in the 1980s, Harold Washington's stunning upset of the Daley machine in Chicago was one of those moments. Bill de Blasio's surprising come from behind win in NYC a couple...

Read Post

Two Campaigns That Are Game Changers

(3) Comments | Posted March 11, 2015 | 12:32 PM

I'm signing on to two exciting campaigns that would both build the diversity of the Democratic Party's leadership and add to progressive strength in this country: Donna Edwards for U.S. Senate from my home state of Maryland, and Chuy Garcia in the upcoming Chicago mayoral election. They are very different...

Read Post