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Finding hope in America's progressive core

Finding hope in America's progressive core

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Good grief, cry many progressives—how has America turned so right-wing that a flabby, narcissistic, wannabe-dictator like Trump was even in the running?

But wait—aside from a minority of racist, xenophobic, misogynistic voters, plus a bunch of uber-wealthy corporate profiteers making a killing from his rich-man’s agenda—most of Trump’s rank-and-file voters are not right-wingers at all. To see evidence of this, look at the multitude of overtly progressive ballot issues that won majority support on Tuesday, even in so-called “Trump Country.”

  • 53 percent of Arizona voters said yes to a tax surcharge on incomes above $250,000 a year, specifically to raise teacher pay and recruit more teachers.
  • A whopping 78 percent of Oregon voters approved a populist proposition to put strict controls on the corrupting power of big-money corporate donations in elections.
  • 61 percent of Floridians voted to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, a working class advance vehemently opposed by corporate giants and right-wing groups.
  • 57 percent voted yes on a Colorado provision requiring corporations to let employees earn paid time-off for medical and family needs.
  • Between 53 and 69 percent of voters in six states—including in such supposedly conservative bastions as Arizona, Mississippi and South Dakota—approved initiatives liberalizing and even legalizing marijuana and other drug use.
  • Plus, there were some big symbolic victories, such as Mississippi replacing a Confederate symbol on its state flag with a magnolia blossom, and the people of Nebraska overwhelmingly voted to amend their constitution to excise an antiquated provision authorizing slavery as a punishment for certain crimes!

The hope that resides in these progressive policy positions is the prospect that a truly great American majority might yet be forged—not around some mega-politician—but around our people’s basic values of fairness and justice for all.

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