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2018 Must Be Our Year

Progressives need to win in 2018 just to get the ball rolling.

The rot in our government is rampant. For too long, Democrats and Republican incumbents have pointed blame for the country’s ills at the voters of the other party when it’s often those elected officials at the core of our problems. Congressional approval ratings below 20% don’t lie. 2018 must be the year that we vote in real progressives that represent our values.

The Democratic Party as it stands today is an obstacle to a progressive agenda, but it can and must be the platform from which the people take back American politics. Establishment Democrats will try to keep us out as they had in the 2016 elections and the DNC chair elections, but progressive momentum is translating into the 2018 midterms. As of April 24, 2017, 408 Democrats have declared their candidacy — almost a 60% increase from this point in 2014. It’s a good sign that the energy we need at the state level is there.

Special elections held in the wake of Trumps cabinet picks have proven thus far that progressives can play ball in the country’s most conservative districts. In the Kansas 4th, James Thompson closed Trump’s victory margin of 27 points to just over 6 in his race against Republican State Treasurer John Estes. He might have won, but Thompson got no campaign funding from the DCCC (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee), whereas Estes raised $130,000 from the NRCC. The DCCC refused Thompson’s request for $20,000. Only later was he reluctantly given $3,000. He had to raise the other $292,000 himself. Meanwhile, the DCCC was busy stuffing the Georgia 6th special election with $6 million, a race that Democrat John Ossoff still didn’t do well enough in to avoid a runoff. What the Kansas 4th proves to us is that we can’t rely on the Democratic establishment for anything in 2018 — they would rather lose to a Republican than win with a progressive.

We must deliver on the 50-state strategy which they only give lip service to. Democrats do so poorly in “red states” because they assume they won’t stand a chance and will end up wasting their money. Instead, they put all their chips on the regular races and the normal battleground districts. If they want to stand a chance, they will have to stand for something.

Being anti-Trump isn’t enough because many of the people we must sway voted for him and his lie that he would “drain the swamp.” Voters aren’t going to swing in large numbers for the regular players that the Democratic Party puts up either because they are part of that swamp. The only way to deliver in currently red states and districts is to field truly progressive candidates that have no reservations in their duty to their constituents. We will deliver here because many voters told us a progressive is what they wanted in the 2016 primary election when Senator Sanders won many races over Hillary Clinton in these areas.

Places where incumbents have gone unopposed for years are not a sign of overwhelming approval from the electorate. It is more frequently a result of few alternatives and the powerful party congressional committees which choose who gets money and who starves. When an elected official runs unopposed, they don’t have to work for the support of the electorate and therefore don’t necessarily represent their values and concerns. Every incumbent needs to be challenged if only for the reason that it is healthy for representative government. Conservative and centrist Democrats better be just as worried as Republicans, because we’re going to primary everyone in our way regardless of party affiliation.

Who we need is you. You are far from alone in your desire to see a change in your community and country. The average individual willing to sacrifice their time and effort to run for office or support someone who could have the best chance anyone ever has to affect the outcome of an election, simply because they understand their community better than those representing you in DC. We cannot wait for 2020 just for another chance to put a progressive into the White House because the President can’t do anything with the Congress against them. Progressives need to win in 2018 just to get the ball rolling. So get your team together and get going. 2018 must be our year.

Written by Hank Jirousek

The rhetorical baby-faced killer: Chicago-based.

Hank Jirousek is a Writer for Progressive Army.

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2018 Must Be Our Year