“The 2017 victories go far beyond these important governorship wins [in Va. and NJ] into small towns, large towns and states in the south and north where we have numerous ‘firsts’ of transgender, lesbian, Latin, Sikh, Vietnamese, Sudanese, Liberian, black females/males, and white women being elected in countless leading political positions. Congratulations America! If there is anything encouraging in America since the presidential election last year it has to be this recent 2017 election cycle.”
-Heather Gray, Nov. 9 Justice Initiative column, https://justiceinitiativeinternational.wordpress.com/
November 7 was a very big day for liberals, progressives and revolutionaries. All over the country Trump and Trumpism were repudiated at the ballot box. The possibility of the Republicans losing one or more houses of Congress a year from now is very real.
Such an outcome won’t be “the revolution,” that’s for sure. But it would be a critical development, make it much more difficult for Trump, if he’s still in office then, or Pence and the Republicans to achieve anything significant in 2019 and 2020. It would also set the stage for the needed political battle within the Democratic Party over its future direction heading toward November, 2020.
That battle should be a top priority for all progressives. It is key to weakening Trumpism and building the mass popular movement for the transformational change urgently needed.
The progressive wing of the Democratic Party was strengthened by the November 7th election outcomes, by and large. Various reports indicate, as Heather Gray writes above, that this was not a typical set of Democratic Party victories. It is clear that the mass movement which the Bernie Sanders campaign brought together has not dissipated but is continuing to make its presence felt both in the streets and in the voting booths, through a mix of different organizations and efforts.
These twin tasks–the takeover or one or both houses of Congress by the Democrats in 2018 AND the strengthening of the progressive mass movement sparked by Bernie’s Presidential campaign and continuing—are realistically possible.
The Green Party should be part of this work. It won about 45 local races this year, mainly but not solely non-partisan school board and city council type races. There is no contradiction between running winnable independent campaigns at local levels—the kind of races the Green Party should be running right now—and giving support to progressive Democrats in Democratic Congressional primaries and, if they win there, in the general election. The narrow, purist politics of some of the current national Green Party leadership should be opposed by Greens who appreciate what time it is politically and strategically.
And, of course, the on-going community, labor and issue-based organizing, the mass demonstrations and direct action, all of the various tactics in our toolbox for transformational change, must and will continue. On some fronts, this organizing and activism will escalate, and we should all be trying to make that happen within our respective movements part of our intersectional movement of movements.
History is calling upon us to step it up, given the practical victories we can win over the coming year. It’s no time for narrowness or half-stepping it!
Ted Glick has been a progressive activist and organizer since 1968. Past writings and other information can be found at www.tedglick.com, and he can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jtglick.