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Progressives Are Shaping the Blue Wave Against Trump

Big wins for Democrats raise hopes of progressive wave for 2018, despite Establishment obstruction

By Michael Sainato

November 8, 2017


Democrats and leftists won big in the 2017 general elections across the country. The results offered some hope that the political tides were turning against Donald Trump and widespread Republican majorities in congress and state legislatures across the country. While a blue wave may be imminent, progressive leftists are helping to shape and amplify it despite obstruction from the Democratic Party establishment intent on running and providing resources solely to candidates who fit their centrist ideal of what a Democrat should look like.


In Virginia, Democrats were successful in holding the Governorship seat with Ralph Northam's win. In the state's house of delegates, Democrats picked up 14 seats, including three from candidates backed by Bernie Sanders' organization, Our Revolution; former public defender Jennifer Foy, Elizabeth Guzman, and self avowed Democratic Socialist Lee Carter. Three seats are currently too close to call, but if the current results hold, Republicans would have lost their majority for an even 50-50 split in the state house. One of the most impressive victories was Lee Carter's, who unseated one of the most powerful Republicans in Virginia, House Majority Whip Jackson Miller. He did so without any help from the Virginia Democratic Party. The Richmond Times reported on October 22 that Carter opted out of receiving help from the Democratic Party due to leaks on their end from info about his campaign he provided, and the state party's effort to try to maintain editorial control over his campaign's messaging.


"We were able to succeed by entirely forgoing donations by for-profit corporations and industry interest groups, which enabled us to run on an unabashedly pro-worker platform," Carter said in an interview with me. "We delivered our vision of a Virginia where everyone can live and work, and not have to worry about how they're going to put food on the table, or how they're going to make the rent, or whether they're one injury or illness away from bankruptcy, and we delivered that message with an overwhelmingly powerful field program.  Our volunteers knocked on tens of thousands of doors - over 20,000 in the final four days alone - and that would not have been possible without the grassroots enthusiasm that comes from a strong message of economic empowerment."

"We were able to succeed by entirely forgoing donations by for-profit corporations and industry interest groups, which enabled us to run on an unabashedly pro-worker platform," Carter said in an interview with me. "We delivered our vision of a Virginia where everyone can live and work, and not have to worry about how they're going to put food on the table, or how they're going to make the rent, or whether they're one injury or illness away from bankruptcy, and we delivered that message with an overwhelmingly powerful field program.  Our volunteers knocked on tens of thousands of doors - over 20,000 in the final four days alone - and that would not have been possible without the grassroots enthusiasm that comes from a strong message of economic empowerment"



Other Our Revolution victories include Noelia Corzo for San Mateo-Foster City, CA School Board, Gina Morgenstein to Wallingford, CT City Council, Ted Terry for Mayor of Clarkson, GA, Jan Devereaux, Quinton Zonderva, Sumbul Siddiqui, and Dennis Carlone for Cambridge, MA City Council, all four Somerville, MA Ward Alderman seats, Andrea Jenkins to City Council Minneapolis, MN (the first trans person elected to city council of a major city), Carlos Menchaca for New York City Council, Brian Nowak to Cheektowaga, NY Town Council, Tamaya Dennard for Cincinnati, OH City Council, Jasmin Santana to Cleveland, OH City Council, Tristan Rader for Lakewood, OH City Council, Anita Prizio to Allegheny County Council in PA, Mik Pappas for Allegheny County 31st District Magistrate, Larry Krasner for District Attorney of Philadelphia, PA, former Bernie delegate Anna Payne to auditor of Middletown Township, PA, E.J. Zita to Port of Olympia, WA commissioner, and Alan Richrod to Aberdeen, WA City Council.


“Last night’s victories show the strength of our progressive movement, even in the face of a presidential administration that wants to take us backward. We are incredibly proud of all of our candidates and local groups that worked so hard to support them,” said Our Revolution President Nina Turner in a statement. “Our Revolution’s candidates won in every part of America--blue and red, rural and urban.  What we saw last night is a preview of what is to come and what is possible when local groups stick to progressive values, identify progressive champions and advocate for an America that works for all. Our Revolution is building a bench of diverse progressive champions at all levels of government who can change their communities and grow the progressive movement.”


New Jersey abandoned the legacy of Republican Governor Chris Christie by electing Democrat Phil Murphy. Democrats in the state of Washington flipped the state senate in their favor with the election of Manka Dhingra.


In the Minneapolis, Minnesota race, Socialist Alternative candidate Ginger Jentzen won the first-choice ballot, but did not have enough votes to outright win the election yet. Minnesota has ranked choice voting, which are still being counted and will determine if Minneapolis has officially elected its first socialist city council member. Our Revolution backed Minneapolis Mayoral candidate Raymond Dehn is also waiting on ranked choice results to determine his race.


Democratic Socialists of America backed candidate Seema Singh Perez won election to city council in Knoxville, TN. DSA member Charles Decker won an alderman seat in New Haven, CT. Other DSA endorsed candidates and self avowed Democratic Socialists who won their elections include Kim Janey and Lydia Edwards for city council in Boston, MA, Nikuya Walker for city council in Charlottesville, VA, Justin Farmer for Hamden, CT Town Council, Kara Gloe for School Board in Moorhead, ND, Denise Joy for city council in Billings, MT, and Joe Sipress to city council in Duluth, MN.


Photo credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

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