Delaware progressives didn’t get their revolution. What happens now? That’s the title of a piece that Matthew Albright from the NJ posted up yesterday responding the Thursday’s primaries.
It’s worth reading in its entirety. He has a few good observations here, plenty I disagree with and one big observation missing — that Delaware’s General Assembly will be more progressive next year. It won’t be *perfectly* progressive, and anyone who knows me here will know that I am not concerned about that. What does concern me is that we have more people in Dover who will be interested in and who will try to get work done on some of Delaware’s bigger issues. We’ll have to get behind them in a serious way, so that leadership takes them seriously, but there’s progress here. We need to help make the case that leadership needs to support addressing the big issues because the folks we are sending them to represent us need to be successful. That success is crucial not just to the folks who just won, but to the State Dems in general.
The biggest story in this year’s election cycle is that local issues are winning the day. If you are watching the news, though, we have an entire media apparatus that is waiting for the next “socialist” to break through.
Kerri Evelyn Harris ran a great campaign and got one of the biggest margins I’ve seen against Carper. Still, it *is* a Blue Wave year (history-making turnout here) and it is normal for incumbents of a party to be re-elected when that party is experiencing a wave year. The difference in money between the two was mostly the difference in name recognition. Harris’ campaign started to get some real air after ACO was elected and threw some light here. Which was also when the media was interested in her and this race. People have to know you to vote for you, especially when you could count on one hand the voters who don’t know Carper. Better and earlier funding would have been useful to her for exactly this name recognition.
Here’s where I really want to push back:
But I think the left in Delaware needs to grapple with the possibility that this is about more than structural advantages. Maybe most Delawareans just aren’t buying what they’re selling.
If Delawareans didn’t know who Harris was, they certainly didn’t know much about what was being “sold”, either. I did a quick search in the NJ this morning and couldn’t find any reporting by the NJ about Harris’s platform and what that might mean for Delaware. I couldn’t find that kind of reporting for Carper either, to be fair. Which cycles us back to name recognition. More Democrats knew who Carper was, and what he stood for than knew who Harris was much less what she stood for or what it might mean for them) and voted for who they knew.
So this is me asking the NJ (not just Matthew Albright, because he does not run the paper) to up its coverage of candidates and what they stand for and what that might mean for communities. And not just at the end of the cycle. The whole state could use the additional sunshine. And we could all use the marker for future accountability.
Progressives likely did better than labor did this past Thursday. (I think women did better than everybody.) If you widen that out and look at the competitive field, progressives stepped up in a big way at all levels of government. They didn’t all make it, (and some need to get past the General) but they are a new bench of candidates. Which did not exist this time last year. Progressive organizations found their groove and a place to move forward — Delaware United was a superstar here, canvassing, lit dropping and otherwise volunteering for progressive candidates. They made themselves into a credible force multiplier for progressive campaigns and were the group you wanted to work with this year. Many of the progressives who ran found key support from Network Delaware-trained campaign management, strategists and volunteers. Progressives earned their way into Delaware’s political conversation this year and that is what the beginning of revolution — American political process-style — really looks like.