By Sarah van Gelder
The midterm elections are over. Women won historic gains in the House, which Democrats now appear to be on track to control. Voters in three red states ― Idaho, Nebraska and Utah ― approved expanding Medicaid, a repudiation of GOP efforts to discredit government run health care. And voters in Florida approved a measure giving ex-felons the right to vote ― one of the most significant expansions of voting rights in decades.
The most expensive midterm election in U.S. history fired up people on all sides, including many young people who went all out to put a check on the extremism of the Trump administration.
The changes needed to tackle these crises are monumental. To even start to address them requires huge political will. In the U.S., neither party is remotely up to it. Both are too wedded to the status quo and to the flow of money from large corporate donors and the super wealthy.
This is a good time to congratulate those who voted in spite of the obstacles. It’s a time to thank those who ran campaigns aimed at justice and inclusion, whether or not they prevailed, and to commit to supporting newly elected officials in being as bold as the times require.
But that’s not enough.
President Donald Trump is still in office, and he continues to be one of the most powerful and dangerous men in the world.
There are nearly 13,000 migrant children being held in government custody in the U.S., and immigrants throughout the country are living in fear of deportation and worse.
White supremacist and misogynist violence continues to threaten our communities.
The enormous tax giveaway to the super wealthy has helped raise our deficit 17 percent higher than last year, the highest it’s been since 2012, when the nation was recovering from a huge recession. Republican leaders have hinted they may look to cut Medicare and Social Security to make up the shortfall.
Meanwhile, the poor and middle class are increasingly insecure: A minimum-wage job doesn’t pay enough to rent a modest two-bedroom apartment in any U.S. state. Nearly half of Americans say they would struggle to cover an unexpected emergency expense of a few hundred dollars, and the insecurity and anger feed political extremism.
And, most daunting of all, environmental collapse is proceeding much more quickly than scientists expected. …
(Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2018. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )
These 14 Democrats Are At Core Of What Bernie Sanders Calls The ‘Most Progressive Freshman Class’ in Modern US History
By Jake Johnson
Common Dreams (11/9/18)
As conservative pundits and self-interested corporate Democrats predictably attempted to spin this week’s midterm election results as a win for so-called moderates and proof that the Democratic Party should tack to the center, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) dismissed this “absurd line” in an interview on Thursday and called the incoming crop of newly elected House members “the most progressive freshman class in the modern history of the United States.”
“Many of these folks are not just women, not just people of color, who campaigned on Medicare for All, raising the minimum wage to 15 bucks, campaigned on making public colleges and universities tuition-free, on undoing Trump’s tax breaks for billionaires,” Sanders told Rolling Stone‘s Matt Taibbi in response to one Washington Postcolumnist’s claim that Sanders-style progressives “scare” voters.
“I think the Washington Post is going to be very surprised at who shows up on the first day of Congress and gets sworn in,” Sanders said. “The political establishment notwithstanding, the future belongs to progressives.”
“The political establishment notwithstanding, the future belongs to progressives.”
The group of diverse and unabashedly bold progressives—disproportionately young and female—who will help shape House Democrats’ agenda in the months and years to come include Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib, Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar, New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and New Mexico’s Debra Haaland, all of whom ran on platforms including Medicare for All, ambitious climate action, and a $15 minimum wage.
Below is the full list of the newly elected Democratic representatives who were endorsed by Sanders and prominent progressive organizations like Justice Democrats and Our Revolution. [See chart by following link below.]
In his Rolling Stone interview, Sanders said the establishment dogma that candidates must temper their progressive positions and remain firmly in the center of the political spectrum to win elections “enabled Republicans to gain control of the Senate and the House and the White House and for Democrats to lose almost 1,000 seats in the previous nine years.”
This new group of elected progressives, Sanders said, provides strong evidence that unwavering support for immensely popular policies like Medicare for All and commitment to fighting for the working class produce voter enthusiasm that can’t be matched by business-friendly centrism.
“It wasn’t moderate Democrats or conservative Democrats who got young people into the political process,” Sanders concluded. “It wasn’t moderate Democrats who increased voter turnout in this election compared to four years ago, I think by almost 50 percent.”
As Ocasio-Cortez declared Tuesday night in her victory speech in New York, “When we advocate and champion the causes of our neighbors and our economic dignity, and come with innovative and ambitious plans for our future, there is no state beyond our grasp, and no community beyond victory. We just need to keep at it.”
(This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.)