Progressives Tally Major Victories at the Local Level as the Blue Wave Came Up Short

Progressive agendas on transportation and housing won big in the November 2020, even if a "Blue Wave" failed to materialize on the national level.

2 minute read

November 9, 2020, 10:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Richard Masoner / Flickr

A recent article by Patrick Sisson examines the idea of a "dramatic progressive turn" taking place at the local level in the United States, to use the phrase of Richard Schragger, a University of Virginia professor and author of City Power: Urban Governance in a Global Age as quoted in the source article.

Despite the absence of a "blue wave" in state legislatures, Congress, or even an overwhelming Electoral College victory for former Vice President Jose Biden, the huge amount of transportation funding approved by voters on November 3, along with a host of progressive urban boosters elected to city councils and other offices, are offered as evidence of that "dramatic progressive turn."

Sisson cites an expert for more examples of newly elected progressive leadership:

Ross Morales Rocketto, co-founder of Run for Something, which backs state and local progressive Gen Z and Millennial candidates, emphasizes the generational shift in local politics. Overall, Run for Something endorsed 525 candidates this cycle, with 202 victories, 77 races left to call and three runoffs as of Nov. 5. Among the winners: Gabriella Cázares-Kelly, an Indigenous candidate who declared victory in her race to be the new Pima County Recorder, which oversees elections in the Tucson area; she ran in response to other Native Americans being disenfranchised. And Nikil Saval, an Asian-American architecture critic and first-time candidate just elected to the Pennsylvania State Senate, ran in part on a “housing for all” agenda. 

There are other examples, of course, like the growing number of New York City residents elected to the U.S. House of Representatives with a track record of support for public housing projects and programs.

A lot more analysis on the progressive victories in local elections is included in the source article.

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