If you listened to the so-called “liberal” media, Democrats have already lost the Senate, the House and the White House.
The media had Los Angeles turning red before all the votes were counted and, lo and behold, it turned out to be a progressive sweep in LA races. The stories about a “conservative sweep” in LA ran front page, top of page. The follow-up stories where journalists and editors apologized for jumping the gun and being so wrong? We were lucky if they ran at all.
Which brings us to Georgia.
Eli Day over at TAP has a good article that notes that local Democrats, especially Stacey Abrams — with her considerable organizing skills and clout — are out to prove the centrists wrong in the same way they were wrong about the two Senate seats in 2020 that turned Georgia blue:
For Georgia progressives, the task is mobilization. First, they must convince voters these races will have real consequences for people’s lives. More importantly, they must convince people to stick around and build popular power that will last longer than individual politicians, who come and go.
“We understand that if we don’t have a vehicle for the multiracial working class … then we won’t make the progress that we need to make even as we become a purple state and then trend blue,” Britney Whaley, the Southeast regional director for the Working Families Party (WFP), who’s based in Georgia, tells the Prospect.
It’s an increasingly common progressive argument: Voting for the “right” people isn’t enough. Most Americans have seen how corporate lobbyists swarm Congress after every election to block virtually anything good. The only way to make politicians reliably do things for ordinary people is through organized public pressure, progressive ones included
“The approach is just to, quite frankly, keep it real with people,” Whaley says. Instead of focusing solely on candidates, they’re pitching voters on “the power of us. The power that we have if we take collective action.”
IN A STORY ON GEORGIA’S POPULIST HISTORY, I boiled the remarkable 2020 and 2021 victories down to two core elements: aggressive outreach to Georgia’s younger and more diverse voters, plus plain economic populism that spoke to people’s desire for a fair and equal world.
The first half is well known. Back in 2014, Stacey Abrams began an uphill crusade to convince Democrats that they could win the state by tapping into the growing numbers of unregistered young people and people of color with a slightly more progressive message.
Few Democrats listened in the 2016 campaign. As Greg Bluestein writes in Flipped: How Georgia Turned Purple and Broke the Monopoly on Republican Power, Abrams and other local Georgia leaders practically “begged Hillary Clinton’s campaign to take the state seriously” in 2016, but their pleas fell on deaf ears.
Four years later, nothing was the same. Abrams’s strategy, plus suburban nausea with Trump, pushed Joe Biden to victory.
Then in the runoff elections in January 2021, Warnock and Jon Ossoff sent Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler packing.
Whether national Dems do their part this time around remains to be seen.
Look, national Democratic organizers do a lot of good work. They really do. But like all national organizations they tend to think they know better than the locals how to organize local campaigns. Stacey Abrams proved them wrong.
You can read the rest of the TAP article here.
From the home page of the Working Families Party.