I've seen this before. I don't want to see what happens next happen again.
In 2008, then Senator Barack Obama won the White House on a platform of "Hope" and "Change" and of bringing forth a new revolution of a progressive identity for America that would persist. And then, in the aftermath of the passage of the Affordable Care Act, he lost the House and nearly lost the Senate (which would fall a few short years later).
In 2010, the loss of the House stalled the Progressive America Obama tried to achieve. It stalled because of the rise of the Tea Party, that's true. But it also stalled because of the fall of the Obama coalition. It stalled because too many of us became disenchanted and disillusioned. Imagine what we could have achieved had we shown up for that election.
Governing is an exercise in compromise and patience, and many members of the Obama coalition grew impatient of compromise and many of us didn't vote in 2010. The result was devastating to the progressive revolution. Voter turnout drops in non-presidential years, but given the groundswell of support Obama achieved in 2008, the drop-off in 2010 was dramatic - and it ushered in years of Republican rule at the state and federal levels.
After Secretary Clinton's sweeping wins yesterday, it appears as though Senator Sanders will not be able to win the nomination. While this may revive those same feelings of disenchantment and disillusionment from six years ago in those of us who "feel the Bern," we cannot afford another 2010.
In 2010, Republicans picked up a net of six Governorships, five Senate seats, and sixty-three House seats. Given that it was a census year, that landslide meant the in the vast majority of states, Republicans were able to redraw their state legislative districts and congressional districts to their significant advantage. Having worked in the Ohio Statehouse for four years, I can personally vouch for the deleterious effect this had on debate, policy, and general decency.
Because of the Republican Wave, in Ohio (a state known for being a 50/50 swing state), our congressional delegation went from eight Republicans and ten Democrats after the 2008 election (it was eleven Republicans and seven Democrats before 2008) to twelve Republicans and four Democrats after redistricting (also reflecting the loss of two districts). And those numbers held steady, even as President Obama cruised to re-election in the Buckeye State in 2012. The revolution stalled because of structural forces, not ideological ones.
And here we are on the precipice of another monumental election. Especially after yesterday, unless something significant happens in Cleveland, the GOP will nominate a vapid, violent, xenophobic, troglodyte lunatic to represent its party in November. And as it stands now, the Democratic Party will likely nominate Secretary Clinton who twenty-five percent of Senator Sanders' supporters say they will not vote for. What then about the revolution? Will you give up or march on?
What about the liberals running for the US Senate? What about the progressive candidates running for the House? What about those statewide officeholders and state senators and state representatives? What about your city council? After all, most of the laws that actually affect our daily lives are written at the state and local level. Will you carry the mantle and forge forward against the conservative forces who want to pull us down with their regressive policies? Or will you relent to the external forces of obfuscation or the internal cancer of apathy?
There are twelve Governorships in the balance in 2016. Control of the Senate rests upon this election too. The ideological balance of the Supreme Court lies in waiting as the US Senate continues to equivocate on Judge Garland's nomination.
If you truly believe the rise of Senator Sanders is to be a revolution, the loss of a singular election cannot extinguish it. The fire must burn hot enough to endure the setback of any one election in order for the movement to prevail for whatever future comes. Over the last six years we have borne witness to the consequences of giving up too soon.
We can change the system, if we work together towards a common progressive goal from building up leaders from the local, state, and federal level. The Sanders Revolution has a choice to either become a liberal Tea Party, uncompromising and rash, or part of the solution.
I believe the moral arc of our country's history continues to bend toward justice because the American Progressive pushes it to do so.
Let's push together, not against each other.
Otherwise, Trump wins.
And we all lose.