Buried under all the noise coming out of Washington about the new congressional majority is perhaps an even more profound opportunity for progressives: the chance to govern America from the states. Progressives made significant gains in capturing governorships and state legislatures all over the country - and even in regions like the South that some have written off.
So how do we convert those gains into meaningful change? The avenue I've been working on is the Progressive States Network - a group set up specifically to support progressive state legislators all over the country in pushing a strong progressive agenda. And today, Progressive States is asking for you - yes, you the concerned citizen - to co-sponsor our agenda. It's free, it's easy, and it's critically important.
Now, I know - in an age of zillion dollar political campaigns and K Street-bought legislation, the term "democracy" has become a punchline. It's not every day that political groups actually rely on ordinary citizens to help push their agenda. But Progressive States is not just any group - we are working with a broad coalition of grassroots organizations to invest in the progressive agenda at the state level where it can matter the most.
What exactly is our agenda, you ask? Go right here to see it - it is the result of a long, deliberative process with our partners and with state legislators all over the country. As you will quickly find out, we're not one of those groups trying to have it both ways, talking out of both sides of our mouths in order to try to appease the destructive special interests that have too often corrupted our political process. We're progressive, we're populist - and we're proud of it. And the more people who co-sponsor our agenda, the closer we will be to making sure the true, progressive center of America starts replacing Washington's deliberately fake "center" that has caused so many of our nation's problems.
For years, the conservative movement has used state legislatures to enact its agenda, realizing that for all the obsessive celebrity-ish focus on Washington, state policy often affect people's daily lives in a far greater way than the federal government (see Progressive States' major report on this here). Granted, focusing on state policy and state legislators isn't as glamorous as getting to hang around with U.S. Senators or network television pundits, but the conservative movement - unlike the progressive movement until late - has always kept its eye on what politics is really all about: power.
We have a chance to make real, concrete change that goes beyond just making irrelevant fodder for the Sunday chat shows. But we can only make that change if we are serious about focusing on the states. Co-sponsor the Progressive States Network's agenda today - and join the fight.
Follow David Sirota on Twitter: www.twitter.com/davidsirota