The people of New Jersey, of Virginia, of cities and towns all over America who elected progressive, thoughtful leadership will see great results from their efforts on the doors and phones in 2017 and after they showed up to the polls two days ago.
It’s going to take more than one election to make a significant difference though. What happened in Maine yesterday is a perfect example.
Tuesday, the voters of Maine voted to approve Medicaid expansion for the state. It would ensure that 70,000 Mainers obtained health insurance. Wednesday, the Governor of Maine, Paul LePage, said that, despite the wishes of the voters, Medicaid expansion would in fact, not be implemented.
LePage is the miniature version of Trump. He’s an explicitly racist thug who threatens the press and honors the brutal legacy of the failed confederacy in the most yankee of states.
Yet, despite an awful approval rating in 2014, he was re-elected. Why? Because very few people bothered to show up to vote. When people do show up to vote, you get results like you saw in Virginia, a tidal wave of eager legislators ready to move the ball forward.
This isn’t a situation which requires the assignment of blame, but rather the understanding of what must change. Candidates that are authentic and will actually follow through on their values must run. True organizing efforts to turn out voters at the grassroots level must happen year round. The barriers to voting must fall. And civics education must be increased.
When these factors happen, you get the government you deserve. When they don’t, you elect con artists who want to become dictators and put us in a permanent dystopia.