Mitt Romney does his best to maintain a public presence, even taking occasional rhetorical shots at the president who defeated him, though he rarely has unkind words about his own party.
The former governor, however, did talk to the Washington Post recently about the one issue on which he believes Republicans are “nuts.”
Mitt Romney, the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee, has been encouraging party leaders to develop better policies to address wage stagnation. For instance, he supports raising the federal minimum wage, a departure from Republican orthodoxy.“As a party we speak a lot about deregulation and tax policy, and you know what? People have been hearing that for 25 years, and they’re getting tired of that message,” Romney said in a recent interview. He added, “I think we’re nuts not to raise the minimum wage. I think, as a party, to say we’re trying to help the middle class of America and the poor and not raise the minimum wage sends exactly the wrong signal.”
In case anyone’s forgotten, as conservative as Romney’s 2012 platform was on a whole host of issues, he also endorsed a minimum-wage hike – and even supported indexing it to inflation.
Looking ahead, the failed candidate appears to be offering his party some valuable advice. The Post’s article detailed the GOP’s growing certainty about the importance of working-class white voters in the 2016 cycle, coupled with the challenge Republicans face in offering these voters an agenda they’ll support.
It’s not rocket science: working-class whites support a minimum-wage increase, and they’d likely be more inclined to support a Republican presidential candidate who intends to deliver one.
But this year, that’s not going to happen, Romney’s advice notwithstanding.
Over the weekend, there was a forum in South Carolina – the Kemp Forum on Expanding Opportunity – featuring six Republican presidential candidates, all of whom shared their thoughts on combating poverty. None endorsed increasing the minimum wage.
In fact, a surprising number of GOP candidates this year have publicly argued that the federal minimum wage should be $0. Carly Fiorina has suggested the law itself is unconstitutional, and Donald Trump, the alleged “populist” of the Republican field, also opposes an increase.
In October, Marco Rubio went so far as to say that Americans can’t live off jobs that pay only $10 or $11 per hour, but he nevertheless opposes an increase from the current $7.25. In fact, the senator has also criticized the existence of the federal minimum wage.
Romney’s advice may be sound, but it’s going unheeded.