Tim Carpenter, Presente!

Apr 27, 2023 | PDA News

by Dan O’Neal

Keep the PDA Dream Alive: Become a Tim Carpenter Sustainer Today


Tim Carpenter, Presente!

On April 28th, 2014, Tim Carpenter—my friend, our friend, and the co-founder, longtime leader, and first Executive Director of Progressive Democrats of America—passed. He knew we all realized he was dying, and yet he spent those last few months back in 2013-14 helping prepare us for the eventuality, and preparing PDA for the tough road and tumultuous times ahead.

Tim had been terminally ill with cancer for a long time, but he never quit, never wavered, never stopped organizing. From his deathbed Tim pushed PDA’s Run Bernie Run campaign. It’s so sad he didn’t live to see the full historical impact and paradigm shift Bernie Sanders has made on our national political dialog. Tim knew!

And while he certainly couldn’t predict Donald Trump, he was politically bracing us for Trumpism and for some wild, crazy, and dangerous times ahead.

Tim was a bigger-than-life political junkie, a huge peace activist, and a champion for social and economic justice, particularly healthcare justice. Under his leadership, the PDA signature slogan Healthcare Not Warfare was born.

He was laser-focused on PDA’s Inside-Outside strategy and the importance of organizing within the Democratic Party, joining with, organizing in battles on the outside, and bringing those struggles from various social movements into the Party—sometimes kicking and screaming, but always with the goal of transforming the Party into an agent for lasting social change.

Tim was always the doer. He continued to fight for and push many of us into just one more campaign, one more battle, one more road trip. The activist and writer John Nichols praised Tim in The Nation shortly after Tim’s death:

Tim Carpenter never lost faith in the very real prospect of a very radical change for the better. And he never lost his organizer’s certainty that the tipping point that would make the change was just a few more phone calls, a few more rallies, a few more campaigns away.

Nichols also points out that Tim, a seasoned political activist who had been in the thick of battles and developed winning campaigns, was not your typical political activist. He was never complacent, always looking beyond, to the big picture:

Tim was always about something more; he was never satisfied with an election victory, or a legislative success; he wanted to transform politics because he wanted to transform America into a land that realized what he believed was an irrevocable promise of liberty and justice for all.

So tomorrow, we note the nine-year anniversary of his death and mourn the loss of Tim Carpenter. We also celebrate his leadership and his contributions to PDA and the larger social movement for peace and justice.

In the spirit of getting things done, for that one more petition drive or road trip or visit to a congressional office, let’s all become Tim Carpenter sustainers today at $2.70, $5, $10, $20, or $27 per month, and help PDA pay for a new Field Team organizer.

Let’s all join the Tim Carpenter PDA phone team and help find the next new organizers in your state.

Tim Carpenter was in the progressive fight for the long haul, and so is PDA!


Dan O’Neal for the PDA National Team


1 Comment

  1. Isabel ONeal

    What a visionary! Tim planted the seeds , we continue the struggle! Presente!