Aya de Leon

author – activist – faculty – mom

2017 Progressive Takeover of the Democratic Party Has Begun

ad15-crowdOn Saturday, I stood in the rain for an hour to cast my vote in an historic election. Any registered democrat was able to vote for Assembly Delegates for the California Democratic Party. I’ve been a registered Democrat for decades, but I’ve never participated in this election before. There was a two-hour window where people could cast their vote, and we had to come in person. The Albany Library was mobbed with an unprecedented turnout, where I voted in Assembly District 15. The takeover is beginning.

pam-and-aya

Me & the victorious Pam Harris in Oakland tonight

aya-bniw In the weeks after the November election, I made a speech at a birthday party that I was feeling inspired by the Democracy In Color movement, and had transformed my post-election despair by reading Brown Is The New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority. The book’s author, Steve Phillips, makes a very compelling argument that the Democratic Party can win any national election by speaking to the New American Majority, a coalition of people of color and progressive whites, which can be activated by taking bold stands for social justice. Although the book was released in February of last year, and became a New York Times and Washington Post bestseller, it is unfortunate that Democratic Party leaders didn’t take Steve’s advice last year.

At the birthday party, I spoke passionately about the book and the movement, and inspired my dear friend Pam Harris to get involved in electoral politics. In the last few months, she ran for Assembly Delegate in District 18 with the Groundswell Progressives Slate and she made an impassioned speech at the Sheet Metal Workers Local 104 where the election was held. She fired people up so much that she was the top vote-getter in the the Groundswell Progressives’ near-landslide victory.

Bernie Sanders has played a huge role in inspiring progressives to get involved in the Democratic Party, but this movement is much bigger than him, and features crucial leadership of women and people of color. One of Pam’s great leadership qualities is her ability to speak to both Bernie and Hillary supporters in a bid for the progressive unity that we will need in order to win.

new-american-majorityI’m still deciphering the results in my own district, which are hard to find anywhere but via informal photos on facebook.

The media isn’t covering this story…yet. But the push-back on the old guard has begun in the California Democratic Party. Before Trump has even taken office, the resistance is assembling to strip him of his Republican backup singers in the House and Senate in 2018. Not to mention the Presidency in 2020. Yes, much damage can be  done in two years, but the big picture here is from Steve Phillips: the New American Majority can be a permanent change in the leadership of this country. As our communities continue to respond to Trump’s aggression, let’s keep an eye to organizing this New American Majority for the win.

I’m sure we’ll be needing more good news after the inauguration on 1/20. Democracy In Color will be hosting the candidates for DNC Chair in DC on 1/23 for a Town Hall conversation on the New American Majority. I’m particularly interested in what Keith Ellison and Tom Perez have to say. Don’t miss it.

keithSo Steve Phillips and Jessica Byrd inspired me, I inspired Pam. I hope this post inspires you. Whom will you inspire?

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One comment on “2017 Progressive Takeover of the Democratic Party Has Begun

  1. Susie Meserve
    January 12, 2017

    We went and voted too. Great feeling, being there!

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This entry was posted on January 8, 2017 by in Uncategorized.

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