Columns » Hightower

Our Revolution is alive and well

LowDown

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Before major news organizations pronounce someone dead, they ought to check the person’s pulse.

Take, for example, a recent New York Times screed prematurely pronouncing the Our Revolution political organization — launched only two years ago by Sen. Bernie Sanders — a moribund failure. “The group has repeatedly picked fights with the Democratic establishment in primary elections, losing nearly every time,” the paper barked.

But, lo and behold, the very next day Our Revolution’s endorsed candidate for governor in the Maryland primary, Ben Jealous, handily defeated the party establishment’s favorite. Also, in New York a 28-year-old Our Revolution activist, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, shocked the national party’s corporate hierarchy with her victory over Rep. Joe Crowley, the fourth-highest-ranking Democrat in the U.S. House.

These big scores followed OR’s earlier outsider victories over monied insiders in the Georgia and Texas gubernatorial primaries. Also, the insurgent group, which the Times ridiculed as “failing,” has been scoring dozens of upset victories in down-ballot primary elections from coast to coast, electing 45 percent of its candidates.
That’s all the more stunning because nearly all of the candidates they endorse are unconventional, first-time contenders who start out with no name recognition, no fat cat money and no support from establishment power brokers. I happen to be a board member of the upstart Our Revolution movement, so I know many of these gutsy mavericks personally, and I’ve seen their surprisingly successful campaigns from the ground level.

They are winning because they’re bringing political integrity and Bernie’s big policy ideas to voters hungry for both — and because OR has organized hundreds of thousands of democratic populists into more than 600 active political networks all across the country, including grassroots organizing in red areas the party has long ignored.

Just as significant, these progressive rebels have now defined the Democratic Party’s agenda, and enlivened both its supporters and many of its previously lethargic officeholders by backing such populist (and popular) proposals as Medicare for All and debt-free higher education.

Apparently, it’s hard to see America’s grassroots reality through the dusty-distant office windows of The New York Times. So, before the editors do another hit piece on the people and candidates of Our Revolution, maybe they should come out of their journalistic cubicles... and at least visit the countryside.

You can contact Hightower at jimhightower.com.

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