Some progressives are finding it hard to muster much enthusiasm for voting in this election and are considering staying home.
That would be a huge mistake.
Sure, there are reasons to be disappointed. The hole we found ourselves in
19 months ago when President Obama took office was deeper than anyone
We have stopped the digging and are slowly, more slowly than we would
like, clawing our way out.
The recovery bill and jobs initiatives, for example, have already put more than 3 million people back to work, compared to losing as many as 800,000 jobs a month.
But we needed to do much more, and we will need progressives if we are to
do it now.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus, which I co-chair with Raul Grijalva of Arizona, called for a recovery bill at least $300 billion dollars more than the one passed.
Progressives also called for a "New Deal" size public works project that
would not only create well-paying jobs, but also address the problem of
our crumbling infrastructure, neglected parks, and cuts in local services.
Progressives saw early on that a more aggressive agenda was required and
now need your support to return to Congress to advance it.
The stakes are simply too high for anyone to sit out this election.
Staying home is the same as voting for the Republicans.
Turning over one or both chambers of Congress to the Republicans will
return power to those who nearly wrecked or economy, shredded our
Constitution, and undermined our standing in the world.
Congressional Republicans are promising to roll back our legislative
achievements and return to the destructive policies of the Bush
Many of their Tea Party allies are harkening even farther back—to the
Robber Baron era when society was not encumbered by such things as social
security, Medicaid, or the minimum wage. Some are even urging a return to
an America that never existed—where the Constitution does not separate
church and state.
You may be disappointed by the last two years, but they will seem like salad days compared to what this crew would bring.
Heading off a Republican takeover is reason enough to shake off any disappointment and go to the polls.
In addition, if we are to build on the progress we have made, progressive
Democrats must be returned to Congress where Democrats are in the majority.
Besides the more robust recovery and jobs programs I mentioned, we
must build on the financial reform and health care reform bills. Both were important first steps but did not go far enough.
I have already introduced a bill that would establish a public option in the exchanges created by the health care bill. This would offer lower-cost competition to private insurers and save $68 billion dollars over seven years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
We need progressives to push this and other improvements to the health care reform bill.
A host of other important issues --immigration reform, climate change,
campaign finance reform--will not be addressed if Democrats lose control
of Congress. And, of course, we must bring our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan.
This is no time to stay home. Go to the polls, take a friend, and vote.
I want to talk more about the election and I’ll be sticking around for the next 20 minutes to chat.