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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

Is the TPP Okay With Slavery? Really?

(31) 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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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The D.C. Centrists' Straw Men

(11) Comments | Posted March 4, 2015 | 10:21 AM

One of the tiredest clichés in all of American politics -- and a favorite of D.C. "centrists" -- is that economic populism is all about beating up on the rich and redistributing income instead of pursuing economic growth.

A note here before I get into the main point of...

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Winning Marathons While Running Uphill

(2) Comments | Posted March 3, 2015 | 9:18 AM

It is easy to get discouraged about the American political scene. Billionaires and big business keep spending absurd amounts on buying up politicians and making sure they win elections. Republicans keep moving more and more to the extreme edges of the right. A lot of Democrats are either bought off...

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Larry Scanlon: A Progressive Battler

(4) Comments | Posted February 28, 2015 | 8:43 PM

The progressive community lost one of its toughest and smartest fighters yesterday. Larry died in a car crash on a trip to Florida, and all of us who had the honor of being his friend will miss him greatly.

Larry's long tenure as political director of AFSCME...

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Why Elizabeth Warren Strikes Such a Chord

(8) Comments | Posted January 19, 2015 | 2:55 PM

It seems like just about everyone these days is talking about Elizabeth Warren. I saw Jay Leno -not a very political guy or especially progressive- the other day on Bill Maher's show, talking about how shocked he was that Elizabeth Warren was only 18 months younger than Hilary because of...

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Elizabeth Warren's Economic Agenda

(12) Comments | Posted January 12, 2015 | 10:42 AM

On Wednesday, I wrote about the AFL-CIO's terrific event, their Raising Wages Summit, and the difference in messaging on economics coming from the Obama administration and Elizabeth Warren highlighted there. This difference in messaging is at the heart of the strategic dilemma Democrats have to figure out to...

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Elizabeth Warren and the Four Corners of American Politics

(14) Comments | Posted January 7, 2015 | 5:06 PM

The last couple of days have been a provocative view of the near-term future of American politics. There are four major teams on the scene at the same time, coming from four different corners of the field, and they all have some amount of political juice. How they end up...

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2015: A Year of Great Opportunity for Progressives

(0) Comments | Posted January 6, 2015 | 4:29 PM

Watching the Republicans glory in their new majority in the Senate and expanded majority in the House is hard to take for progressive Democrats. Democrats have dug ourselves a deep hole, and the country will suffer as the most conservative political party in American history controls the Congress. What very...

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Pulling the Princes From Their Thrones

(18) Comments | Posted December 24, 2014 | 4:47 PM

"He has pulled down the princes from from their thrones and exalted the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things, the rich sent empty away." Mary, the mother of Jesus, Luke 1:52-53
The Washington, DC version of what's left, right, and centrist are very strange indeed. People who...
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A Progressive Populism That Works

(6) Comments | Posted December 23, 2014 | 1:49 PM

There is a lot of talk in Democratic party circles about populism (which among Democrats is generally of a more progressive nature) vs centrism. All three terms -- progressive, populism, and centrism -- are thrown around way too loosely by pundits who rarely know what they are talking about. For...

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