In the wake of this week’s midterm elections, I breathed a sigh of relief, considered so many hard-won highlights, and am reflecting on what it all means for our road ahead.
I live in Massachusetts. Here, we elected Maura Healey as our governor—a former basketball point guard who as Attorney General sued ExxonMobil and did not back down despite huge pressure and intimidation. Our new Attorney General Andrea Campbell is poised to continue the fight against abusive industries. And this is just one way that election results are building momentum for people-power and democracy.
Don’t get me wrong. I feel in my bones the threats to democracy in this country. And I am gravely concerned for what that means for people and basic rights in the U.S., as well as the implications globally, especially for people most impacted by the intersections of corporate power and structural racism.
But the gravity of that concern and the staunch belief that the people will ultimately win get me out of bed in the morning: to fight with you to challenge corporate power, going right to the root of the rot in the system, and working together to tilt the playing field toward justice.
Corporate power was evident these midterm elections, from funding right-wing candidates to lobbying against commonsense, live-saving ballot initiatives. But the tide of people-power demanding and creating progressive change was on display, too. I am especially inspired by the ongoing and visionary leadership of Black and brown organizers who are building power in this country behind a progressive agenda.
Together we are demanding a democracy that protects all of us instead of just the interests of an elite few. And all across the country, we saw significant victories for progressive ballot measures and candidates that gives me hope for the future.
- Climate champions holding key positions of power, like Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who has gone toe-to-toe with Big Polluters in the past by suing fossil fuel corporations for climate deception. Given that his opponent was funded by a Koch Industry subsidiary, his victory is evidence that people-power can overcome even the largest of corporate entities.
- Californians overwhelmingly voted to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products state-wide – despite Big Tobacco’s multi-million dollar efforts to lobby against this ban.
- Voters in Nebraska and Washington D.C. approved of higher minimum wages in both states, despite the restaurant industry’s attempts to derail similar legislation across the U.S. over the last several years.
- Massachusetts passed the Fair Share Tax, which adds a four percent tax for people earning over $1 million annually. The money raised will be directed to schools and transportation, increasing equity and access to these vital public services.
These are just a few examples of some wins that I’m excited about. And to be clear, our work is far from over. Because building a just and liberatory world for all is an ongoing process, a long road. And together we will build a world based on what we all need to thrive.
As a lifelong organizer, I know how important it is to fight to win, pace ourselves for the long haul, and celebrate every single win we rack up. Then, we roll up our sleeves and dig even deeper into the work once again.
But it will take all of us to turn this vision into reality. And you are at the heart of making this change possible.