Will Labor Day Gridlock Hurt the Dems?

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


This weekend congressional Democrats may rue the day that they required states to put up big promo signs on road construction projects telling drivers that it was funded by the stimulus. That’s because, according to the Wall Street Journal, the record number of stimulus-funded road construction projects are threatening to cause huge traffic jams in lots of major metro areas around the country, potentially putting a serious damper on the last vacation of the summer for many travelers.

Joe White writes:

Roads and bridges need to be rebuilt and repaired, and in many parts of the country summer is the best time to get the work done. This year, the normal hassles of dodging construction delays have been exacerbated by some 12,000 or more highway projects funded by the federal stimulus program.

More travelers will be on the road, too. Compared with 2009, when the recession-era travel buzz word was “staycation,” the number of people taking a significant trip this weekend is expected to be up nearly 10%, auto club AAA predicts. Gas is under $3 a gallon, on average, so it’s no surprise that an estimated 9 out of 10 of those travelers will likely be doing exactly what I plan to do: Driving a long way in their cars.

The traffic jams couldn’t come at a worse time for Democrats. Already they are heading into the final stretch of this year’s midterm election campaign season facing a host of grim polling numbers suggesting that they could lose not just the House, but the Senate too. But those polls are based on data from calls conducted BEFORE millions of American hit the road this weekend. Now, instead of winning kudos for creating jobs with all those road construction projects, Democrats could suffer the wrath of millions of Americans who got stuck in traffic. After all, thanks to the big signs on the road, all those Americans mired in endless traffic jams will know exactly who to blame for their troubles.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest