Although a significant majority of Americans support "progressive" policies, the US electoral equilibrium is forever balanced on a knife-edge between GOP and Democratic victories. That's not merely a result of gerrymandering and voter-suppression, either.
US elections are decided by mobilizing habitual nonvoters, who primarily stay home because they don't believe change is possible.
That's not an unreasonable position in a country where the minimum wage and care deductions have been frozen since the 80s.
The Democrats control the White House, the Congress and the Senate. They have an opportunity not seen since 2008 - when Obama threw away this hard-won opportunity, on the eve of a grave economic crisis created and exacerbated by ignoring progressive values and policies.
Preventing another generation-long cycle of disenfranchisement is only for starters. Once that's done, they have to fight for the House and Senate in 2022.
That's tough sledding. The president's party usually gets creamed in midterms. The exception? Midterms where the president faces a crisis with decisive, bold action to materially improve peoples' lives.
Lucky for Biden, Trump bequeathed him a hell of a crisis to face.
Today, The American Prospect published a massive package on the collapse of left community organizing. While the right mobilizes its base with gun clubs and evangelical churches, the left focuses on "analytic activism," which is powerful, but incomplete.
Community organizing is a longitudinal, relationship-based, face-to-face project that creates durable political force.
It's the kind of project that we celebrate Stacey Abrams for: a decade-long, unglamorous, project aimed at structural change.
The Prospect's package is full of uplifting and sobering reports from the field, postmortems on projects like Indivisible, and an account of the challenge ahead of us.
"Progressives need well-developed voter contact plans for voters of color, suburban voters, young voters, and union members/supporters in six states that will likely determine which party controls the Senate in 2023: AZ, GA, NC, OH, PA, and WI."
"We must start organizing in those seven states *now*. And when I say now, I mean yesterday...We need to fund organizations that have a connection to the voters they are organizing...We must help nourish the indigenous organizations that grew out of the Trump resistance."
And: "Organizing solely around Trump is not a strategy to win."
That's so important. The Dems can't solely campaign against Trumpism - they need to campaign FOR something.
A vision and a plan. A track-record. Material improvements to the lives of people in crisis.
They have just over a year to accumulate accomplishments to run on. And the progressive wing of the party has shovel-ready proposals that can pass *now*, and create massive changes in the lives of everyday Americans.
The only single mom in Congress, Katie Porter, has the Family Savings for Kids and Seniors Act, which indexes savings allowances for care (daycare, senior care, afterschool care) to inflation. The $5k currently permitted hasn't budged since 1986.
And Bernie Sanders is confident that we can get a $15/h minimum wage RIGHT *now* through the Senate budget reconciliation process. The minimum wage was last raised in 2009. It has lost ground against inflation since 1968. It should be $24/h.
It's no use nurturing an army of grassroots organizers unless they've got something to campaign against. US elections are won by convincing stay-at-home voters that their vote matters - that change is possible.
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