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Draft Bernie?/Raising Minimum Wage

Nick Brana joins us to discuss his efforts to “Draft Bernie for a People’s Party;” and economist Ben Zipperer explains how, contrary to conventional wisdom, raising the minimum wage will not result in significant job loss.

Nick Brana was the National Political Outreach Coordinator on Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign through the 2016 Democratic National Convention and went on to become a founding member of “Our Revolution.” He is the founder and director at “Draft Bernie for a People’s Party.”


“The American people are progressive, and they’re ready for political change.  And representatives in Washington of both parties – the Democrats and Republicans – do not represent what it is that the American people want to see.  And so that’s kind of the starting intellectual foundation for this.” Nick Brana founder of “Draft Bernie for a People’s Party.”

Ben Zipperer is an economist at the Economic Policy Institute. His areas of expertise include the minimum wage, inequality, and low-wage labor markets.  Prior to that, Dr. Zipperer was research economist at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. He is a senior research associate at the Center for Economic and Policy Research and a research associate at the Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics at the University of California, Berkeley.

The skeptics of minimum wage increases have been consistently shown to be wrong by very careful economic research… minimum wages – at least the kinds typically passed in the United States – tend to do their job.  And what I mean by that is they tend to raise the wages of low wage workers and give them higher income; and they do so with very little to no negative costs in terms of employment losses.”

Ben Zipperer economist at the Economic Policy Institute


  1. Afdal says:

    This “Draft Bernie” into a brand new party thing is so unproductive that I’m almost inclined to believe it’s some sort of false flag operation to keep progressives divided and useless. Nick Brana’s examples of the Republicans and Democrats displacing their predecessors is countered by the scores of progressive political parties that have been attempted over the years–several with the name “Progressive” themselves and using the EXACT strategy centering around the strong personality of an individual like Bernie Sanders–and they all failed. There is ONE national progressive third party out of the tens that have been attempted in the last 30-40 years that has actually managed to survive and thrive: Join the Greens already and make use of their decades of struggle for ballot access and infrastructure.

    I’m sorry, but making what amounts to essentially a clone of the Green Party and ignoring what already exists is just idiotic. Cults of personality are not a way to create lasting political power. Issues like single-payer healthcare and getting money out of politics, while they have very broad cross-party and independent support, are simply not the same as an issue that defined the soul of a nation like slavery did in 1850.

    What progressive organizers really need to be fighting for right now is switching to an different voting system such as Approval voting that can actually overcome Duverger’s Law and allow meaningful representation of more than two political parties. Although we like to tell voters to have the courage of their convictions and stop “falling for” the mindset of lesser-evilism, the reality is that the problem is not a matter of morals or courage or beliefs; it is a matter of our plurality voting and single-member district representation creating systemic suppression of multiple choices. Change to a voting system that eliminates strategic voting, and third parties can grow organically and displace establishment parties that have lost the trust of the people–as you have seen happen in many other countries since the Great Recession whose electoral systems and representation are far more developed than ours.

    And shame on you, Ralph, who should know what I write here better than just about anyone, for failing to confront Brana over his complete dismissal of the Green Party like so many other softball interviewers of his. Good grief I expected at least you to have some perspective on this.

    • Kyle B says:

      As a fellow Green, I am inclined to agree. The party is already there. The platform is already there. The candidates are already there. In my home state of North Carolina, the Green Party just had a major win that reduced the needed signatures of something like 94000 down to just under 12000, despite Gov. Cooper’s (Dem) attempt to veto it.

  2. John Estok says:

    I think Bernie needs to go home to Vermont and run for governor, get elected and put as many of his proposals into action in VT. Huey Long did this in Louisiana before he went to the Senate. Long is never given much credit but deserves it for alot of the new deal. Bernie needs to be the Huey Long of our times. He probably shouldve dont this when Obama was still Pres. Real reforms dont start in the beltway-they start in the state/local level. Lefties cant wait & hoping for some magic to suddenly occur in WDC.

    • Youri says:

      right right on Afdal. would be much better for Nick Brana and all those involved in Draft Bernie to just put their skills and passion into reforming electoral law and help strengthen the Greens, Socialist alternative, Party for socialism and Liberation and the Justice Party. Or even better merge them into one party call it the Green Progressive Party, the New Left Party or what not and if Bernie wants to be the first elected leader of it fine but they are wasting their time Draft Bernie and Bernie is an independent in name only and always sides with Democrats as he has a truce between them all the time. I’m no longer Feeling Bern after he peddled Russia conspiracy theories thereby discrediting WikiLeaks and throwing his supporters and delegates who protested for him under the bus, as well as throwing Palestine under the bus, and Sanders’s foreign policy is deeply flawed as its essentially the catastrophe of proxy wars in Syria and the Saudi slaughter with US-UK weapons in Yemen. We need leaders who are socialist/progressive at home but anti-imperial overseas and Sanders is no Ralph Nader or Jill Stein, Rocky Anderson or Kshama Sawant and Gloria La Riva in that respect.

  3. Tyler Samler says:

    Hi Ralph

    I enjoyed listening to your discussion around minimum wage. As a Special Educator I see the impact on children of low wage earners, whose parents are absent from their lives in order to earn enough to provide. Multitudes of children are coming into Kindergarten with significant skill deficits from these familial environments. Entire life trajectories are being impacted. The early years of life could be so enriched with more parent involvement, if their wages were adequate. Thank you for speaking to this! Keep up the fight!

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