New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio delivered a strong message on behalf of progressives to the Democratic Party in the wake of the midterm election losses:
As a Democrat, I’m disappointed in last Tuesday’s results. But as a progressive, I know my party need not search for its soul — but rather, its backbone.
The truth is that the Democratic Party has core values that are very much in sync with most Americans.
We believe in taking dead aim at the income inequality that infects our communities — from big cities like New York, to small towns and rural areas across the United States.
We believe that the wealthy should pay their fair share so we can lift people out of poverty and grow our middle class.
And we believe in rules that prevent big corporations and Wall Street banks from unraveling workers’ pensions, suppressing employees’ wages and benefits, and rigging the system to reward wealth instead of work.
This year, too many Democratic candidates lost sight of those core principles — opting instead to clip their progressive wings in deference to a conventional wisdom that says bold ideas aren’t politically practical.
To working people, it showed Democratic weakness — a weak commitment to the change desperately sought by struggling families, and a weak alternative to a Republican philosophy that has held America back.
Bold, progressive ideas win elections.
A week after midterm election losses for Democrats, Senator Elizabeth Warren is set to join the Senate Democratic leadership.
As the Strategic Policy Advisor to the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, a newly created position, Warren will bring progressive priorities to Senate Democrats’ agenda.
“Life is about to get harder in the Senate when Republicans take over control, but this is a seat at the table for all of us — and that matters,” Warren wrote in a letter announcing her appointment.
She outlined the progressive agenda in a post-election op-ed in the Washington Post, where she called for better regulating Wall Street, making college affordable, protecting Social Security and raising the minimum wage. Warren also renewed her call for government investments in infrastructure, research and education.
But she cautioned against cutting deals in a reactionary attempt to counter the public perception that the Congress and the White House can’t get things done.
“Yes, we need action. But action must be focused in the right place: on ending tax laws riddled with loopholes that favor giant corporations, on breaking up the financial institutions that continue to threaten our economy, and on giving people struggling with high-interest student loans the same chance to refinance their debt that every Wall Street corporation enjoys. There’s no shortage of work that Congress can do, but the agenda shouldn’t be drawn up by a bunch of corporate lobbyists and lawyers.”
On November 5, we lost an inspirational progressive leader, a loyal advocate for working families, and our founder. Lane Evans will be missed, but his legacy never forgotten.
In 1985, Lane joined with Senator Tom Harkin and Jim Hightower to create a network to support progressives, and 21st Century Democrats proudly carries on with our three co-founders’ vision today.
“He was a kind person and, for a Marine, he was a gentle person. He had no bluster. He wasn’t given to tubthumping speeches. He had an inherent goodness about him that everyone recognized,” Senator Harkin said about his longtime friend.
Always a true progressive, Lane never backed down in his support of the middle class and labor unions, leading the fight to protect Medicare, Social Security and benefits for the most vulnerable throughout the Reagan era and beyond.
Faithful to his core values, he faced criticism back home in his more conservative district for voting against trade agreements, voting for gun control and defending the rights of gays in the military. Lane also opposed Reagan’s policies in Central America, the first Gulf War in 1991 and the Iraq war in 2002.
Throughout his career, he was known as a tireless advocate for veterans, fighting for years to extend benefits to the victims of Agent Orange. He then turned to drawing attention to Gulf War illness, PTSD, veteran homelessness and banning the use of antipersonnel land mines.
Committed to reaching out to new Democratic leaders at every level, Lane is recognized for the key roles he had in electing Paul Simon to the U.S. Senate, Jan Schakowsky to the U.S. House and Harold Washington as Mayor of Chicago. And in 2004, Lane became one of the first to endorse and campaign for Barack Obama in his bid for the U.S. Senate, which the president acknowledged in a statement.
“Lane was one of my earliest supporters when I ran for the Senate, and I was proud to have him by my side when I was elected president. Above all, Lane was an American hero, a dear friend and a beloved public servant of the people of Illinois.”
As we remember all that Lane has done for working families and progressives everywhere, our thoughts are with his family and friends.