The best thing that Democrats — including President Obama — have come up with lately are measures to remind voters that Democrats care about the worsened economic condition of ordinary working families and Republicans don’t. Obama, for instance, went to a recent gathering of Democratic governors meeting in Connecticut, and urged them to raise the state minimum wage. Even if Republicans in Congress block the President’s efforts to deliver a higher national minimum wage, he said, governors and legislatures could and should raise the minimum at the state level. Good move.

Even better are state referenda to increase the minimum wage. These not only draw to the polls voters likely to vote for Democrats, but put Republicans in the awkward position of having to explain why they oppose giving America a raise.

A variety of other ballot initiatives could remind working voters why Democrats protect their interests and Republicans don’t. Massachusetts and other states are likely to see ballot measures mandating paid sick leave. That idea has the support of overwhelming majorities of voters — even more than a minimum wage hike–because paid sick leave affects everyone.