Steve Cobble: PDA’s Guiding Light. Rest In Peace

Feb 28, 2021 | PDA News

In solidarity,
Alan Minsky for the PDA National Team

Steve Cobble Presente!

We are heartbroken to announce that PDA’s Political Director and Co-Founder Steve Cobble died on Friday.

Steve’s accomplishments are legendary: a George McGovern delegate in 1972 at age 20, a top aide for Jesse Jackson’s 1988 campaign, a political consultant with the African National Congress in its first post-Apartheid election, and the architect of PDA’s RunBernieRun campaign that successfully drafted Bernie Sanders to run for President as a Democrat in 2016.

Along the way, Steve co-founded Progressive Democrats of America, supporting his longtime friend Tim Carpenter. 

Steve’s knowledge of, and insight into, American politics was unrivaled. He wrote for The Nation, The Progressive, and countless other journals. He taught and did research at the Institute for Policy Studies and The Harvard Institute of Politics. He mentored generations of activists and organizers.

Yet, if you knew Steve, none of his accomplishments, or his renown, ever interfered with how he engaged with people. Steve Cobble was one of the most generous, kind, humorous, and welcoming people you could ever meet. In this, as much as his intellectual prowess, he has been and will always be PDA’s guiding light.

Steve’s commitment to progressive principles were inseparable from his generosity of spirit and his love of people.

We love you, Steve Cobble.  You’ll always be with us.


  1. David Bright

    I have many memories of working with Steve during the 2004 and 2008 Kucinich campaigns — including being in Boston at the founding of PDA with Steve and Tim Carpenter. Steve was a true activist and advocate for peace and justice.

  2. Kurt Bateman

    Such an enormously generous individual. My life is richer for having known him through PDA!

  3. Randolph Shannon

    What a loss for the progressive movement! Steve Cobble Presente!

    Long before we actually met, Steve and I traveled the same path.

    When he was a McGovern delegate I was at the site of the Miami Democratic Convention as a volunteer for the National Welfare Rights Organization urging delegates to support a guaranteed minimum income of $6,400.

    When he was serving the Jesse Jackson campaign as political adviser, I was organizing the petition campaign, recruiting delegates, and set up a Jackson for President office in Aliquippa to organize the campaign in the 4th and 17th CDs covering mid-and- southwest PA.

    When Steve was helping the Kucinich campaign, I was a leader in getting Rep. Dennis Kucinich on the PA ballot.

    When Steve was helping Tim Carpenter found PDA, I was working in the PA Rust Belt to form the first PDA chapter in PA to challenge corporate control of the Democratic Party.

    When Steve and Tim decided to throw PDA behind the Run Bernie Run, I was well acquainted with Steve and helped collect signatures urging Bernie to run, and then getting Bernie on the PA ballot, and then getting elected a Bernie Delegate to the Democratic Convention.

    Steve Cobble, along with other worthy men and women, carefully built a political, ethical, and spiritual foundation for the progressive movement and for PDA in particular. I will remember Steve Cobble as an unwavering comrade in the struggle for a humane sustainable future for our species.