Lessons From Marie Newman’s Big Win

Technically, you can’t call Marie Newman “Congresswoman Newman” until January when the Speaker swears her in. But in IL-03– a district where Trump didn’t get to 40% of the vote– it is the Democratic primary that determines who goes to Congress. It took her two cycles and incredible focus and effort, but Marie vanquished the DCCC-Blue Dog, Dan Lipinski, and won a truly glorious grassroots victory, running on a powerful progressive agenda built around representing the interests of working families.

“When I  ran in 2018,” said Marie in a statement last week,

“Blue America was the first organization to endorse me and I was incredibly appreciative. When I decided to run in 2020 to finally unseat Dan Lipinski, one of my very first calls was to Blue America. We were aligned in 2018 on every issue and nothing had changed the second time. Given that I do not accept corporate money, I knew it would be important to work closely with Blue America to drive support for key issues like Medicare For All, The Green New Deal and worker’s rights. Blue America has been with me every step of the way, unconditionally. And, guess what, we all stood together and won! I cannot express how important this unwavering support was to me and is to me now.”

Yes, we all stood together– behind Marie and her team– and won. She led the way; we followed.

Groups like Blue America don’t create candidates. And we can’t go to Walmart and find them on a shelf. And a list of Bernie/Elizabeth platform positions do not make an electoral victory. The kind of hard, smart campaign Marie Newman– and Kara Eastman, to name another candidate who just won big– was able to organize and direct… that’s what produces the kinds of wins we need.

“Now, more than ever in the midst of a pandemic,” said Marie, “we need to stand in solidarity to have an economy that works for everyone, make certain everyone has healthcare and we build a green economy. I will always be there for Blue America, just as Blue America has been there for me. Now, let’s go get this work done!”

Marie was also endorsed by House members AOC (D-NY), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Mark Pocan (D-WI), all of whom did something out-of-the-ordinary and courageous: endorsed a reform candidate against the entrenched incumbent of their own party. But Marie and a handful of progressives are not going to be able to steer the campaign donor-controlled House leadership and a White House dedicated to the status quo and a conservative Senate– whether a conservative Senate led by McConnell or, more likely, a conservative Senate led by Schumer– in a more progressive direction. Only numbers will do that… more members like Marie. And that means electing men and women like Julie Oliver and Mike Siegel in Texas, Lisa Ring, Michael Owens and Nabilah Islam in Georgia. Audrey Denney and Liam O’Mara in California, Jim Harper and Jennifer Christie in Indiana, Robin Wilt, Shan Chowdhury, Tomas Ramos and Lauren Ashcroft in New York… and other focused progressives.

Goal ThermometerWant to play a part? One way is to contribute, which is why I’ve included the 2020 Blue America congressional thermometer on the right. Please click on it and contribute what you can.

When Marie lost in 2018, I had what I think of as my Donna Edwards conversation with her– about how it often takes 2 cycles to displace an entrenched incumbent, the way Alan Grayson, Jerry McNerney and Ro Khanna did. Now we’re on the verge of wins for candidates who came close in 2018 and are ready to go all the way this year– J.D. Scholten, Mike Siegel, Julie Oliver, Audrey Denny, Kara Eastman

I’m feeling great about all of their chances to close the deal in November.

Thanks for always doing what you can to make a better world,

Howie, for the entire Blue America team


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