Former State Senator Vincent Fort, MADSA’s endorsed candidate for Mayor of Atlanta, did not win his bid to become the most progressive mayor in our city’s history, despite great volunteer canvassing, phone banking and light projections by many of our members. He greeted a crowd of supporters Tuesday evening with a short speech geared to the long term: “We have created a movement, a coalition, that will continue.”
His message the next day read in part: “. . .Last night’s results aren’t a negative reflection on progressive principles, or on how hard we fought for them. In fact, I couldn’t be prouder of what we accomplished. Despite being outspent by candidates with corporate backing, we ran a tough, issues-oriented campaign that garnered support from citizens in Atlanta and around the country.”Together, we defined what this election would be about. We forced other candidates to address issues that, prior to my candidacy, were nothing more than pesky topics worthy of avoidance. We changed the conversation…I look forward to being actively engaged in the fight going forward. This isn’t the last you’ve heard from Vincent Fort, and I trust it isn’t the last the status quo has heard from you.” (Emphasis in the original)
Meanwhile, across the country, DSA members and DSA-endorsed candidates racked up historic wins as part of the “wave” in which voters rejected the Trump/Republican agenda in favor of diverse newcomers who ran on platforms geared to the issues affecting ordinary people. Fifteen of the 25 DSA members who ran won, including an amazing win in Virginia where Lee Carter replaced the state legislature’s majority whip. This brings the number of DSA members who are elected officials to 25. See the complete list here. (Correction: Mike Pappas, who defeated a 24-year machine Democrat incumbent to win a judgeship in Pittsburgh, is missing from the list. Read about his historic win here.)
And, of course, the rightwing media has freaked out. Newsweek has an interesting review of their reaction to our wins, including a good quote from one of our NYC comrades, here.
I’ll close with part of MADSA leader Daniel Hanley’s Facebook comment, which, after citing the low voter turnout and gross disparity of resources among the candidates, ended on a call to future action:
“No justice or democracy in our institutions, but Keisha won’t stop us. Trump won’t stop us. We’re gonna keep on keepin’ on, in the ATL human rights tradition, and exercise our democracy whenever we can find it IN. THE. STREETS. We’ll take action through demand-oriented campaigns for criminal justice reform, workers’ rights, environmental justice, universal healthcare, education, and housing. We’ll advance our agenda for democracy and socialism the same way we always have. We’ll build even stronger community bonds, organizations, and multi-racial working-class coalitions that endure beyond election cycles, and so by 2021 no fleet of Keisha-branded luxury buses can threaten us. Like [community activist] Tanya said: Victory is ours!”