Whether the Georgia Democratic Party learns a lesson from the 2016-2017 election cycle, progressives need an honest assessment moving forward.
It is easy to list how the establishment Democrats repeat mistakes or ignore building the base. However, rarely do progressives undertake in a critical assessment of their own electoral engagement. Some commentators point to the campaigns of Vincent Fort and Cathy Woolard as examples of progressive options Georgia Democrats should hve followed .
While either candidate could have been a stronger progressive choice than Mayor elect Keisha Lance Bottoms, both had issues with building the base and support necessary to win. Progressives need to organize to win. It is not enough to have the right platform and policies, we need to have the ground game to compete.
Folks may never agree on the exact course of action or strategy locally. Yet, there are areas of common ground where electorally engaged progressives and leftist can collaborate and move forward. We need to help increase engagement across the communities if sustainable progressive change is to take root in Atlanta.
Building the infrastructure necessary, or supporting and expanding existing political infrastructure, has to be a goal of local politics in Atlanta. We cannot simply wait until the next election cycle to start talking about how to build progressive political power in Georgia. Political organizers and candidates could take a page from Lisa Ring, who is running in the first congressional District of Georgia.
Long before she launched her campaign, Ring was building the foundation to support progressive candidates. Ring’s efforts recognizes there is no off cycle for progressives.
As we reflect on the Atlanta Mayoral elections.it is not to late to develop an accountability plan with executable tasks. Beyond holding the new mayor and city council accountable to the promises made, we need to build support for other pressing issues statewide. There is a lot of work to do across several issues across the state.
Progressives have to work through uncomfortable experiences to achieve sustainable plans and processes. Together we will win!