Democrats have lost the Senate, and what happens next is going to depend a lot on what President Obama is willing to stand up and fight for.
Thatâ€™s not a comforting thought. But itâ€™s also up to us and how far weâ€™re willing to go to pressure the president to do the right and necessary thing.
As we sort through the election results and think about what we as progressive activists should do next, itâ€™s worth thinking about why we lost.
Given the massive amounts of money dominating our political system, putting organizers on the ground in key states to build a community of motivated and hardworking volunteers who will go door-to-door and call their neighbors about why their vote matters is the only way we win. While almost every progressive was inundated with robocalls and mailers, a majority of progressives never had someone knock on their door and remind them to vote. Not only is this the surest and cheapest way to win elections, it also has the bonus of building our movement instead of investing in tactics that tear down our democracy in the process.
Last spring, CREDO SuperPAC launched a campaign to Save the Senate. It was the first national campaign with offices on the ground in key states focused on stopping Republicans. We did not want to wake up the day after the election wishing we had done more. We opened offices in key states, organized LOCAL volunteers to make 2 million phone calls and knock on over 65,000 doors. Our campaign was powered by over 45,000 donations by CREDO activists â€“ some contributing every week in the final countdown to keep these offices and organizers going. These local volunteers and donors from across the country helped put Gary Peters over the top, and we held Michigan. But in North Carolina, Colorado, Kentucky and Georgia it wasnâ€™t enough to close the gap and now Republicans control not just the House but also the Senate.
So we got beat in an election where the rules were rigged and our side wasted millions. But we do not quit. Too much is at stake.
What now? The landscape in Washington DC just got worse. Much worse. Progressives have to quickly pivot to the key fights we know are coming as a result of Republican control of the Senate. President Obama will be at the center of our strategy. And weâ€™ll need your help to push him to do everything in his power to break through the coming Republican blockade.
Itâ€™s worth noting that progressive base turnout was down in this election in part because President Obama has been far too reluctant to use his executive power to deliver victories on key progressive issues from climate to immigration to economic justice.
To make matters worse, the Republicans now in control of the Senate and House will do everything in their power to advance their Tea Party agenda â€“ including what Democrats refused to do, like getting rid of the filibuster for legislation, using reconciliation to pass bills with only 51 votes, and continuing to refuse to compromise in the face of Democrats all too willing to cave preemptively.
President Obama can no longer credibly suggest that there is a bipartisan path to progress â€“ though his advisors may urge him to do just that. He needs to take executive action. He must refuse to cave to Republicans. He cannot waste time negotiating with bad faith partners who have no intention of compromising ever.
Here are 10 things President Obama needs to do immediately — and 10 things that arenâ€™t likely to happen if we donâ€™t make him do it.
Thank you for everything you do to work for progressive change.
Becky Bond and Michael Kieschnick
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