Contrary to the dominant MSM narrative that Democrats won last week’s election because they moved to the right, Democrats won across the nation by running solidly progressive campaigns. In an interview on NPR, Senator-Elect Sherrod Brown, who beat incumbent Mike DeWine in Ohio, explained:
My race in Ohio, a state that has gone Republican more often than not in the last dozen years, a state that as people say is a slightly conservative state, I ran a very outspokenly progressive campaign. Standing up for the middle class, taking on the drug companies and the oil companies. You know, “Whose side are you on?” And I think that campaign shows that you can win in moderately conservative states as progressive Democrats, someone who is outspokenly supportive of advocating for the middle class. I think that will work in the Senate as it worked in Ohio. That is what I am, and what I think an awful lot of Democrats are. And I think it is a position that a lot of independents and Republicans found attractive in Ohio this year and will continue to around the country.
As Senator-Elect Brown’s campaign exemplifies, even in more conservative states like Ohio, Democrats won on progressive appeals and pragmatic solutions. Still, to ensure an enduring progressive majority, what is needed now is for progressives to connect these pragmatic solutions to deeper themes. Progressives need to articulate a deeper sense of what we want America to look like, with a narrative that speaks to our values, and to communicate where we want to lead the nation, and continue to build the foundational infrastructure to get there.
If we are going to ensure that last week’s election was more than a one-off, then developing compelling narratives and building progressive infrastructure continue to be of the highest priority.