Liam O'Mara is not your typical anything. Growing up in a working class, union household, Liam worked jobs such as a longshoreman and a fry cook in his 20s before deciding, at age 30, to be the first person in his family to go to college, and then deciding to go on to earn his PhD in history and become a college professor.
Adding to his colorful resume, Liam is now running as the Democratic candidate to represent California's 42nd congressional district - one of the few districts in California where Republicans hold the edge.
I spoke with Liam for this week's episode of YDHTY to discuss his life, his candidacy, and the issues Democrats have had making their case to working class voters like him. You can listen below, on iTunes, Spotify, or whatever other freaky podcast dungeon you frequent.
Since Trump's surprise victory in 2016, much attention has been paid to working class voters without a college degree. So much so, that even they may be tired of all the attention.
Having been a member of that coveted demographic himself, Liam O'Mara has an understanding of both how Democratic policies would reverse some of the economic trends that have hurt the average American over the last 30 years and where his party has missed the mark in communicating this to the people who'd benefit the most.
Noting that 12% of people who voted for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primary flipped for Trump in the general election, Liam finds his party has been too willing to cede the economic debate to Republicans in the past, overlooking the economic benefits of Democratic policies to ordinary Americans and the harm decades of trickle down economics has caused. Rather than railing against the 1%, Wall Street, or America's largest corporations, Liam maintains his focus on kitchen table issues, such as health care, raising wages, and paid leave.
What I found most interesting during my conversation with Liam was his perspective on how the economy can be reimagined so that it's an engine for an improved quality of life, rather than one that looks to extract output from those in it. In Europe, for example, the laws are structured so people work shorter hours, have more paid leave, and overall higher wages.
While we've been convinced these are luxuries to a pampered population in America, data from the World Bank indicates per capita GDP growth in the EU hasn't differed all that much from the United States over the past 20 years. In short, we've all been suffering here in the US for nothing.
You can find links to Liam's site and a few additional resources below.
- Learn more about Liam's positions at LiamOmara.org
- Follow Liam on Twitter
- Learn more about the impact of American economic policy in YDHTY, Episode 47 - "Is America a Centrally Planned Economy"
- Hear Liam and I discuss what the decline of the Roman Empire can tell us about US tax policy and income inequality.