Progressives had much to celebrate winning up and down the ballot in November 2017. Democrats won
both Governor races in New Jersey and Virginia. Murphy in New Jersey ran pledging 100% renewable
energy for the state of New Jersey. Northam ran as an unapologetic backer of abortion access and rights
and for strong gun safety requirements.
Victories also extended to a massive pickup of seats in the Virginia House of Delegates to flipping control
to the Democrats in the Washington State Senate, giving Democrats control of both legislative chambers
as well as the Governor’s Office. Climate change activists won a key local race in Washington possibly
stopping an oil terminal in the process.
In Denver voters approved nearly $1 billion in community investments as well as an initiative requiring
green roofs on new large buildings.
These elections raise some questions for me, though. First, let me say that winning elections is
important because there are real consequences. However, they raised a fundamental question: “Does It
Matter How We Win?” I believe that as we continue our post-election analysis, this question raises
others we should not shy away from as we plan for our 2018 races:
- If progressives disparage the fairness of the system, does it cast a shadow on the ability for
government to play a positive role in the lives of people? There are data that shows that
discussing elections as rigged turns off some of the very people we try to reach.
- Do we need to focus our elections on increasing turnout, even if we can win without an increase
in turnout? Or should we focus some of our efforts and dollars on opportunities to increase civic
participation? Shouldn’t we build support among infrequent voters to make it more likely they
eventually become frequent voters and participants in a larger civic discussion?
At Dimension Strategies we are thinking about all of these questions as we move into an important year
for progressive voters. Learn more about us here.