No. The minimum wage did not become a pressing concern until an election year in which the public’s hatred of Obamacare is expected to be the central issue.
As The New York Times explained, Democrats see the minimum wage as an issue that “will place Republican candidates in a difficult position,” and also as a tool “to enlarge the electorate in a nonpresidential election, when turnout among minorities and youths typically drops off.”
(Unlike Republicans, Democrats consider it important to win elections.)
To most people, it seems as if the Democrats are giving workers something for nothing. But there are always tradeoffs. No serious economist denies that increasing the minimum wage will cost jobs. If it’s not worth paying someone $10 an hour to do something, the job will be eliminated—or it simply won’t be created.
The minimum wage is the perfect Democratic issue. It will screw the very people it claims to help, while making Democrats look like saviors of the working class, either by getting them a higher wage or providing them with generous government benefits when they lose their jobs because of the mandatory wage hike.