Victories Keep Rolling as Our Revolution Doubles Down on Hyperlocal Focus
By Sam Rosenthal, National Political Coordinator
Our Revolution was founded in the wake of Bernie Sanders’s 2016 campaign to maintain the momentum of the movement he had helped to create. That movement can be reduced to a few bedrock ideas: that the American public is ready for real, progressive change; that change must come from the grassroots and flow up; and that the political revolution depends on the collective power of ordinary people across our country.
In our third year, Our Revolution has doubled down on our commitment to these principles. Guided by our local groups, we’ve endorsed candidates across the country who are the torchbearers of progressivism. Just as Bernie’s advocacy for a genuine political revolution sets him apart from other candidates on the national stage, Our Revolution’s hyperlocal focus has given us a unique platform.
Although our work covers diverse communities and contexts, we’ve noticed a striking repetition of themes as we support candidates and causes across the country. These common themes point to the problems that working people face every day, divorced from the rehearsed talking points and political battles that too often dominate the national conversation.
First, affordable housing is an issue nearly everywhere Our Revolution groups and candidates are active. Home ownership, traditionally considered the cornerstone of financial stability for American families, is farther out of reach than ever before for all but the wealthiest Americans. In Somerville, Massachusetts, where Our Revolution endorsed a slate of candidates in both 2017 and 2019, our electeds have fought hard to combat a rising tide of luxury development that has displaced longtime residents and made Somerville a difficult place for young families to settle down. Across the country, in Washington State, the housing crisis has led to skyrocketing homelessness. In Seattle and Tacoma, Our Revolution endorsees Shaun Scott and Courtney Love have both advocated for the creation of more transitional and public housing to ensure that every resident of Washington has a place to call home.
On another front, our groups and candidates are working hard to effect real criminal justice reform. This year, we’ve continued our support of progressive district attorneys — begun in 2017 with our endorsement of Larry Krasner — by backing Tiffany Cabán in Queens, Chesa Boudin in San Francisco, and more recently, Dave Clegg in Ulster County, New York. These candidates have been united in their opposition to arbitrary cash bail amounts, prosecution of misdemeanor drug offenses, and pretrial detention for low-level, nonviolent crime — all of which disproportionately impact people of color and low-income people. At the same time, some of our other endorsed candidates, like Tami Sawyer, who is running for mayor of Memphis, are calling for police retraining in de-escalation tactics, so that fewer routine police encounters end in tragedy.
And, while climate change is a global crisis, our candidates are working to address its effects in their own backyards. In the face of repeated assertions from the federal government that they are unwilling to address the major existential threat of our era, our candidates have led the way in pointing towards policies that can undo the effects of climate change while creating jobs and growing our energy grid. In Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Bethany Hallam and Christine Allen, both endorsed by Our Revolution in the County Council election, are facing up to the deleterious effects that decades of fossil fuel extraction have had on western Pennsylvania. By making sure that funds for air and water cleanup are actually devoted to that purpose and supporting plans to expand public transit, our endorsed candidates are fighting to clean up our limited natural resources while expanding green job opportunities across the state. At the same time, in Olympia, Washington, Helen Wheatley is working to clean up the waterways that are such a vital part of the city’s economic and social life.
These are just a few of the issues that unite our nationally endorsed candidates. But, by winning victories in the fall of 2019, we can set the stage for the battles that will come next year. We do this by backing candidates who are most willing to speak truth to power and be voices for truly progressive policies.