In my 33-year-and-counting career in politics, I have done my share of both candidate campaigning and issue campaigning. In the last 15 years or so, frankly, I have been more inclined to spend most of my time on the latter, because just fighting the candidate battles doesn’t necessarily move the ball forward in terms of making our country better. I got into politics to fight for the working class and poor families I grew up with in the Midwest, and I have found it far more satisfying to help them through issue fights than in helping candidates who may or may not help them someday. The last several months since the last election are a reminder that even when Democrats win elections, it is no guarantee that good things will happen for regular folks.
Having said that, I do get reminded how important it is to elect people who will actually fight for working families- not just part of the time, not just when it is convenient, but fighting for those families every day with all their heart and all their soul. Senators like Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown remind me every week why it was a great use of my time to have been involved in helping them in last year’s elections.
Brown’s recently filed bill to put pressure on the Too Big To Fail banks is a shot across the bow that has the biggest banks on the defensive; Warren’s perfectly framed bill to let students pay back their college loans at the same rate of interest that the banks get from the Federal Reserve discount window has the bankers and their allies like Third Way screaming bloody murder; and it seems like every time there is a Banking Committee hearing and Warren starts asking someone questions, important issues that desperately needed attention get raised. Warren and Brown are making a huge difference, showing us that if we get a real live two-fisted fighter for working families in the ring on our behalf, it matters.
That’s why I spent most of my time in the 2012 election cycle, where I was working on behalf of Warren and Brown. I knew they would fight hard for the same people I was fighting for, and I knew they would make a difference. And that is why I decided early in this cycle to get involved in helping Rick Weiland run for Senate in South Dakota.