In the end, it wasn’t even close.
America has elected an African-American man as President, which is something that citizens of all races, here and around the world, can rejoice in. It just says something decent about human possibility, and we could use a little decency right now. It’s also an utter rejection of the right’s politics of fear and greed. It will be decades before there is another Republican majority in Congress.
We won’t know how many of Obama’s votes in New York came on the WFP line for a few days – stay tuned.
In New York, the results are also terrific, if not quite so historic. For the first time in decades, the State Senate will no longer be controlled by Republicans. It is now in the hands of a Democratic-Working Families majority. We built a solid partnership with Senate Democrats, knocked on more than half a million doors for progressive change, and in the end – the voters responded.
We wake up today with a real opportunity -the best in our lifetime – to transform America and New York.
It goes without saying, but say it we will: If we want to transform yesterday’s results into a real break from the shipwreck of the last thirty years – we have to start by realizing that this election was just Round One. And round two is going to be just as tough.
President Obama will need to be supported and pushed at the same time. His training as a community organizer gives one confidence that he will understand that dynamic.
Democrats in Washington and Albany will be under enormous pressure to play it safe, even as everyone knows we need bold action and some kind of new New Deal. And if the play-it-safe crowd dominates, then Obama (and we) will not succeed.
Make no mistake: the corporate bigwigs and free-market fundamentalists understand that this is the fight of a lifetime. They want nothing more than for the Democrats to disappoint us, because then the hopefulness that Obama represents can be stuffed back in the bottle and cynicism can regain its place in our national political culture.
We can’t let that happen. Whether it’s health care, trade policy, jobs programs or organizing rights in Washington, or rent regulation, public financing of elections, family leave or fair taxes in Albany, this election has set the stage for an entirely new social contract between the government and the people. This was an election that opens up a real possibility – small but real – that we could make genuine progress as a society in terms of equality and freedom and sustainability. In other words, democracy.
In short, the real meaning of yesterday’s election isn’t decided yet. What comes next is up to us. And we need to get ready.
Working Families voters, members, affiliates, supporters, chapter leaders – we poured everything we had into critical campaigns. We’re exhausted. And more than a little proud of what we accomplished together.
And we’re psyched. There’s a lot of work to do. We ask that you do your share, whether that means attending a neighborhood or union meeting, signing a petition, riding a bus to a demonstration, going on a lobby visit, making a financial contribution, or just talking to a stranger about the need and desirability of the common good.
That’s all for now.
WFP Executive Director
Bertha Lewis, Bob Master, Sam Williams,
P.S. - If you can, please help the WFP prepare for the year ahead by making a generous “I can’t believe Obama won this is so great oh my God” contribution.
We promise we won’t waste a penny.