The minimum wage increase for those employed by federal contractors on future projects that the president is going to announce tonight is about as good a place as any for him to begin circumventing gridlock in Congress. It won’t affect that many people, and can’t really be “costed out” at this point. But it will help build public momentum for an across-the-board minimum wage boost, and another occasion for conservatives to explain to us that we really need a lower minimum wage or none at all.

This is one of those subjects where public opinion is pretty resolutely on the side of Democrats. So using it to dramatize Republican obstruction while helping real live people earn a better living is precisely the kind of thing Obama should be doing tonight.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.