With Republicans engaging in massive voter suppression actions across the nation, the leading progressives in America have the clout and commitment to make a decisive contribution to the progressive and Democratic cause in the 2022 midterm elections.
Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersManchin suggests pausing talks on .5 trillion package until 2022: report Yarmuth and Clyburn suggest .5T package may be slimmed Sanders calls deadly Afghan drone strike 'unacceptable' MORE (I-Vt.), Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenThe Trojan Horse of protectionism Federal Reserve officials' stock trading sparks ethics review Manchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants MORE (D-Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezMcCarthy on Dems' spending bill: 'The amount of money we spent to win World War II' On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Pelosi plows full speed ahead on jam-packed agenda Photos of the Week: Renewable energy, gymnast testimonies and a Met Gala dress MORE (D-N.Y.) have the brainpower, the people power and the small-donor fundraising power to have enormous impact in 2022.
On the morning after the 2022 elections, it is very possible, indeed likely, that either Democrats or Republicans will have won control of both the Senate and House of Representatives.
If Democrats maintain control of the Senate and pick up new seats, Senate Democrats will no longer be at the mercy of the least progressive Democratic senator. If Democrats maintain or increase their majority in the House, it will be possible to enact a bold progressive agenda under President Joe Biden.
If the opposite happens — which Democrats must understand is also possible — and Democrats lose control of either the House or Senate, Republicans will have an iron blockade against almost all major initiatives of the Democratic president.
Since Biden was inaugurated in January, a strong case can be made that he is turning out to be more progressive than most commentators originally expected. His $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill was a landmark progressive achievement that does enormous good for the people and principles progressives fight for.
The 2022 midterms will be decided by contradictory political and historic cross-currents.
Historically, the party of presidents in the first midterm elections after they were elected often do not do well.
However, President BidenJoe BidenCapitol fencing starts coming down after 'Justice for J6' rally Senate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan Biden pushes back at Democrats on taxes MORE is so far much more popular than President TrumpDonald TrumpCapitol fencing starts coming down after 'Justice for J6' rally Netanyahu suggests Biden fell asleep in meeting with Israeli PM Aides try to keep Biden away from unscripted events or long interviews, book claims MORE ever was, and exponentially more popular than Sen. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump seeking challenger to McConnell as Senate GOP leader: report Budget chairman: Debt ceiling fight 'a ridiculous position to be in' Buckle up for more Trump, courtesy of the Democratic Party MORE (R-Ky.), the nemesis of progressives and Democrats in the Senate and House.
And furthermore, working to the advantage of Democrats, by the midterm elections, under the leadership of Democrats, the COVID-19 virus will probably have been defeated and the American economy roaring — for which Biden and Democrats will receive, and deserve, credit.
This is why Trump and Republicans are engaging in massive voter suppression efforts in state after state. If they cannot win a national majority of voters, they must try to prevent Democratic voters from voting.
For these reasons, leading progressives are capable of playing an enormous and decisive role in the 2022 midterms.
There are a number of Senate and House seats held by Republicans that Democrats are capable of winning, and Democratic held seats in both Houses of Congress that must be fiercely defended against Republican voter suppression and partisan gerrymandering efforts.
Sanders, Warren and AOC can raise enormous money from small donors early in the 2022 campaign that can be set aside and ready to deploy. This would be a powerful recruitment tool to find highly electable Democrats to win Republican-held Senate and House seats, and to reelect Democrats under GOP attack.
Bernie Sanders is the gold standard of progressive values, grassroots mobilization and record-shattering small-donor fundraising. He has considerable influence within the Senate and Biden administration as chairman of the Budget Committee and a historic progressive voice.
Elizabeth Warren is the gold standard of generating progressive policies, succeeding with Biden’s help in placing a number of her allies and protégés in important roles, and mobilizing grassroots workers and small donors for her causes.
AOC is a young rising star in the progressive movement and national politics with media, small-donor, and grassroots organizing clout, as well as political savvy with a moral basis. When she raised money for suffering Texans after their latest crisis, her effort was morally inspired, and her contrast with Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzO'Rourke prepping run for governor in Texas: report Support for Abbott plunging in Texas: poll White House debates vaccines for air travel MORE (R-Tex.), who first journeyed to Cancun while his constituents were freezing and suffering, was stark, as I wrote at the time.
Joe Biden, who is balancing different factors that all presidents must balance, has been very respectful of progressives, in deliverables and relationships.
Sanders, Warren, AOC and all progressives can have a history-making impact in the 2022 midterms that can change the nation, and by doing so, change the world.
Brent Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the House of Representatives.