December 17, 2018

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The midterm election is close but progressives see hard work left to do | US news

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Not long now!

Until the midterm elections. Four days in fact. But there’s still plenty people can do to help candidates between now and then.

  • Indivisible, a collection of thousands of progressive activists across the US, has a number of resources on its website. There is a list of more than 500 local events between now and election day, including phone-banking efforts and on-foot canvassing. Through the national website, people can sign up to help with phone-banking remotely.

  • Our Revolution, the activist organization that emerged following Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, has a function where people can sign up to join its “texting team” and help get out the vote. Our Revolution says texting has proven to be “a vital digital tool” in enthusing supporters.

  • Justice Democrats, an influential progressive organization that helped Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez win her Democratic primary in New York, has endorsed 26 candidates in the midterms. The group has a list of those running and how people can help them, on its website.

Florida candidate Andrew Gillum …

… Has campaigned “on a decidedly progressive agenda that includes raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and a Medicare-for-All, single-payer-style healthcare system”, my colleague Sabrina Siddiqui reports.

Gillum is running against Ron DeSantis, a Trump-esque figure, to be Florida governor. If elected, Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, has also “vowed to expand Medicaid, raise salaries for teachers, enact stricter gun laws and combat climate change”.

But instead of being an opportunity to pitch progressive policies against Trump’s ideology, Sabrina writes, the election has been tainted by accusations of racial dog-whistling against Gillum, who is African American.


Law enforcement looks at Andrew Gillum and they don’t see someone they can work with. They see an enemy,” DeSantis warned the crowd at a recent rally.

“They see someone who is hostile to their mission and hostile to their purpose,” he added.

It appeared an unmistakable attempt to bring up the issue of police brutality – a conversation that has stemmed from several high-profile killings of unarmed black men. Gillum has said he favors “police accountability” and believes officers must restore trust in the communities they serve.

What we’re reading

The results of Tuesday’s midterm elections will be consequential, writes Gary Younge here at the Guardian: “But the process will not be democratic.

“Millions of people will be excluded, potentially hundreds of thousands of votes suppressed and many voting districts brazenly configured to favour one party or the other; not all citizens are eligible, not all those who are eligible are permitted to vote, and not all votes will carry the same weight.”

Gerrymandering, laws that restrict felons from voting, and voter suppression efforts mean that: “Whoever wins on Tuesday, democracy will have already lost.”

“Since 2016, there has been a raging debate about the main causes of Donald Trump’s shocking victory,” says David Leonhardt in the New York Times.

“On one side are journalists, political scientists and others who believe that racial resentment was the overwhelming reason that Trump won. On the other side are people […] who believe this story is too simplistic and that, while race played a big role, economic factors did too.”

Leonhardt references a new book – Can American Capitalism Survive? by Steven Pearlstein – which charts how political polarization between the two parties in Congress has increased as income inequality has risen in the US.



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