We Make The “Impossible” Possible
photo: Yours Truly with a Friend and the Overton Window
with Treviño’s degrees of acceptance (CC BY-SA 2.0)
In solidarity, Alan Minsky for Mike H., Mike F., Deb, Janis, Dan, Dr. Bill, Kimberly, Bryan, and Shayna—your PDA National Team
First, PDA Expands the Range of Progressive Possibility
Then, We Mobilize to Make it Reality. Support Us Now!
Since our inception in 2004, Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) has been on the front line of progressive politics across the nation. Of course, a lot has changed since then. Much of it for the better for progressives—at least in terms of public support for core progressive issues. PDA is focused on mobilizing populist power to make change inside and outside of the Democratic Party, and we’re making real progress.
This progress is—to a significant degree—thanks to the support of grassroots donors who sustain PDA’s tireless efforts and coalition-building work alongside our allies. Back in 2004, proposals like Medicare for All, a guaranteed living wage, and free public college were nowhere to be found in mainstream American politics. Now—with your support—they promise to hold center stage in the upcoming Democratic Presidential primaries.
There is a popular term among political scientists, the “Overton Window,” named for the late Joseph P. Overton. This term refers to “the range of ideas tolerated in public discourse.” So, for instance, we could say that the policies and principles widely accepted as FDR’s New Deal and similar policies were well outside the Overton Window in American politics, from the around mid-70s until the 2016 Sanders campaign. Best of all, we’re just getting started.
PDA has played a major role in expanding “the range of ideas tolerated in public discourse.” We have been a no-holds barred advocate for Medicare for All since our founding; and we were the first national organization to call upon a then-obscure Vermont Senator named Bernie Sanders to run for President. We launched our “Run Bernie Run“ campaign in 2014, and we encouraged Bernie to enter the 2016 primaries. Bernie’s remarkable campaign, in turn, inspired several exciting progressives to run for Congress!
In 2018, the inspiring primary and general election victories of progressive newcomers like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Deb Haaland, Katie Porter, and “Chuy” Garcia and may others—as well as several other near-misses in 2018–brought Improved Medicare for All, the Green New Deal with Jobs for All at a Living Wage, Free College and much more well inside the Overton Window. This even though political and economic elites find this development quite intolerable.
However, just as Insurance companies find the idea of Medicare for All intolerable; there’s little they can do to shut down the debate over it transpiring in the country. With 70% of Americans in favor, Medicare for All is now a de facto litmus test for Democratic presidential hopefuls.
We’ve come a long way, but we still have a long way to go. The best way for you to help PDA move the Overton Window toward the 99% is to become a PDA Sustainer. We don’t get a dime from corporations or billionaires. We rely on activists like you. As we start 2019, there is no more important organization in the country than PDA when it comes to fighting for the politics that we need at this historic moment. If you’ve never contributed to PDA before, now is the time to “make your dollars holler” by signing up as a Change Makes Change (CMC) monthly sustainer!
We at PDA are working every day to expand the Overton Window further. Let’s take an example from California where Governor Gavin Newsom, following his inaugural address, is being heralded by the mainstream press as perhaps the most progressive Governor in the state’s history. Regardless of the accuracy of this claim, it is true that Newsom is proposing some decent policies that were off the radar screen—outside of the Overton Window—of state politics only a few years ago.
Now, there is perhaps no state in the country where PDA’s influence has been felt as much as in California. While we are a Federal PAC, we have chapter meetings; and in California these meetings became a place where some of the leading progressives came together. California so often leads the way for the USA, so this is all that more important.
One thing led to another, and those PDA-associated folks began to change what was possible inside the California Democratic Party. Indeed, PDA-associated activists became so influential, we now have a state-wide PAC there: PDA-CA, which allows us to continue to expand our influence in the nation’s largest state.
So, to get back to Governor Newsom, in his inaugural address he proposed more money than ever for homeless shelters across the state; in response to what is probably the most severe homeless crisis in any state in the history of the country. Now, we at PDA, applaud that allocation of funds, but it falls far short of what is needed.
We know there is only one answer to the homeless crisis: namely, the recognition that housing is a human right and that all humans deserve to have a domicile to live and sleep in. PDA activists will never relent until the Overton Window is expanded to where building houses for all people is under serious consideration in the public discourse—and we won’t rest until it is a reality.
PDA has done so much to change public discourse in America in our short, fourteen and a half year history; but our work is just beginning. There are so many great ideas about society’s organization, wholly compatible with a prosperous and sustainable America, that need to be brought inside our Overton Window.
We need your help to achieve progressive transformations in our public discourse, and our public policy. We are hoping to raise sufficient funds via sustaining donations to cover our monthly expenditures. We are already more than half-way there, so please help us close that gap further. Your automatic sustaining gift empowers our efforts.
Sustainers are our most valued supporters. We appreciate the confidence they show in us. That trust inspires us, and makes everything possible. Automatic gifts help us budget our time and efforts, and empower us to initiate rapid responses to the whirlwind of regressive policy initiatives, executive orders, court decisions—basically the general chaos that swirls around the Trump fiasco.
Alan Minsky for Mike H., Mike F., Deb, Janis, Dan, Dr. Bill, Kimberly, Bryan, and Shayna—your PDA National Team
P.S. Join the PDA Phone Team making easy, effective calls from your own home with Mike “Phone Guy” Fox. No time to make calls? Then please pitch in whatever you can afford each month to support our organizing. If you can give $5 per month, that’s great! $10? Wonderful! $100? Spectacular! Whatever is good for you is great for us. Thanks so much for anything you can do right now to help us reach our magic 100 goal.