I couldn’t figure out what to call last night’s New York City elections: A landslide? A sea change? What’s clear is that the scale is positively geological. And it’s the fruit of more than a decade’s work.
But here’s the thing: elections are just the beginning, not the end.
The landscape has changed. Together, we’ve elected new progressive leaders up and down the ballot who want a city that works for all of us, not just the wealthy and well-connected. That provides a once-in-a-gener
We’ve done so much together to get here, but we’ll need you standing shoulder to shoulder with us for those next fights:
Here are the highlights of the progressive takeover in New York City:
- We’ll finally have a Mayor who cares as much about the 99% as the 1%. After twelve years under Bloomberg, de Blasio built his campaign on the theme of inequality – and won an unprecedented 73% of the vote.
- A dozen new Working Families Democrats on the City Council. It was the Progressive Caucus members we helped elect in 2009 that allowed us to win on paid sick days and stop and frisk. Because of our wins tonight, that caucus will be bigger and more muscular than ever.
- More progressive leaders step up. Letitia James, who was the first WFP member of the City Council a decade ago, was elected Public Advocate. Progressive Scott Stringer was elected Comptroller. (Those victories were both sealed-up on primary day, but now they’re official.) And Ken Thompson, who built his career seeking justice for the voiceless, toppled 24 year incumbent Joe Hynes for Brooklyn DA.
- More Working Families voters than ever. We won’t have the final numbers for a few more days, but it looks like we’ll see a strong vote the Working Families ballot line which will help give our leaders a mandate for progressive change.
These wins reflect the success of what Daily News columnist Harry Seigel called the WFP’s “long game” – start small and think long term. In fact, our success electing progressive Councilmembers comes because we started recruiting and training progressive leaders as far back as 2003!
What all these wins mean is that we’ve got the opportunity to make changes that will improve the lives of millions of New Yorkers. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy.
After all, de Blasio’s signature proposal – to raise taxes on millionaires to fund universal pre-K – needs approval in Albany, where it will meet stiff resistance from the Republican-controlled majority in the State Senate.
Every big idea will summon up an equally big and powerful enemy. Raise wages for low-wage workers? Not if McDonald’s and the billion-dollar fast food companies get their way. Affordable housing? Not if the Real Estate lobby has a say in it. Building a new green economy? The utility companies and the gas drillers will throw everything they have at stopping us.
Elections can change the landscape, like last night’s did. But we’ve still got a big mountain to climb to build the city we want to see. And we’ve got to do it together.
Are you with us? We can’t do it without you.
And let’s take a day to enjoy this. You’ve earned it. And then let’s get to work.