New Jersey Democrats for Change leader Lisa McCormick offered an upbeat analysis of progressive wins in two key elections yesterday in Chicago and Wisconsin, calling them “a sound rejection of MAGA extremism.”
In Chicago, progressive Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson won the mayoral runoff against police-backed former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas with the backing of the powerful Chicago Teachers Union and a platform of addressing racial and economic disparities.
Johnson will replace the outgoing Mayor Lori Lightfoot as the city’s top executive. Johnson’s victory over a neoliberal centrist opponent demonstrates the increasing popularity of progressive candidates in the city.
Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Janet Protasiewicz won the vacant seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, marking the first time in 15 years that the court will have a liberal majority.
Protasiewicz and her opponent, former state Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly, were seen as the liberal and conservative contenders, respectively, in a race that had clear consequences for issues such as abortion, redistricting and even possible challenges to the 2024 election results.
“Moderate Democrats are playing to a mythical center, but these elections prove success lies in playing to your own base,” said Marianne Williamson, a progressive author who is challenging President Joe Biden for the 2024 Democratic nomination. “Treating progressives in the party like we’re unruly children who need to sit down and let the grown-ups do what they do will be an increasingly losing strategy.”
McCormick noted that the victories of Johnson and Protasiewicz demonstrate that progressives are making headway in the Midwest and beyond.
“These elections were a sound rejection of MAGA extremism, as potent and clear as last year’s defeat of election-denying, Trump-loving, lying contenders in races all across the country,” said McCormick.
“Despite the millions of dollars spent on these races, the results show that voters are ready for progressive leadership and are willing to elect candidates who stand up for their values,” said McCormick. “The victories of Brandon Johnson and Janet Protasiewicz show that there is a clear path forward for progressives in the United States.”
McCormick sees these results as a reason to be optimistic about the future of the Democratic Party on the 55th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, saying the date served as a symbol for a new beginning.
Johnson ran on a platform of taxing the wealthy to boost citywide services, reorganizing the police department to strengthen accountability, bolster the ranks of detectives, and incorporate the patrol division with mental health response services, plus investing in neighborhoods and schools across the city.
“We endorsed Brandon Johnson because he is the candidate who will lift up all Chicagoans to build safe, thriving neighborhoods,” said Our Revolution Executive Director Joseph Geevarghese. “In contrast, his opponent is a fake Democrat funded by Republican billionaires with a disturbing history of anti-abortion and anti-labor beliefs.”
“The stakes were high in this election, and Judge Protasiewitz’s victory is a huge win for protecting Wisconsinites’ fundamental freedoms,” said Sean Eldridge, president of Stand Up America, whose members sent over one million peer-to-peer texts, joined hundreds of volunteer shifts, and wrote 22,000 handwritten letters to educate Wisconsin voters about the importance of the race.
“The Establishment has told us over and over again that our movement is weak, is in decline, and can’t accomplish much. Really? Progressives in the Midwest on Tuesday, with strong national support, apparently didn’t get that memo,” said US Senator Bernie Sanders. “They went on to win two extraordinary and consequential victories — and I want to congratulate everyone who took part in those efforts.”
Stand Up America is a progressive advocacy organization with over two million community members across the country that started in 2016 in response to Donald Trump’s unprecedented threats to our democracy.
Our Revolution is an American progressive political action organization created from the vestiges of Senator Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign.
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