A coalition of progressive advocacy organizations warned Wednesday that conservative Democrat Terry McAuliffe\u0026#039;s failed gubernatorial bid in Virginia offers a cautionary lesson for the rest of the party ahead of next year\u0026#039;s midterms: Either excite voters with a bold agenda or risk losing power to the GOP.\r\n\r\n\u0022Give people something to vote for or watch yourselves become the very thing they resoundingly vote against.\u0022\r\n\r\nAs corporate Democrats rushed to baselessly pin McAuliffe\u0026#039;s loss on progressives in Congress, the Battle Born Collective, Justice Democrats, the Sunrise Movement, and United We Dream Action argued in a joint statement that the former Virginia governor\u0026#039;s campaign for his old post was \u0022designed to fail.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022What happened in Virginia is what happens when Democrats fail to take on the GOP\u0026#039;s divide-and-conquer racism and motivate people to turn out,\u0022 the progressive coalition said. \u0022The McAuliffe campaign had no comprehensive pro-worker economic message against a literal private equity magnate.\u0022\r\n\r\nFar from offering Virginians a clear policy agenda and a positive vision for the future, McAuliffe—who previously served as chair of the Democratic National Committee—\u0022ran the milquetoast campaign he wanted to run,\u0022 the groups continued. \u0022Every other word he uttered was \u0026#039;Donald Trump\u0026#039; instead of focusing on the issues voters cared about the most.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022This was a controlled experiment for what NOT to do in 2022,\u0022 the coalition added. \u0022This is what it looks like when Democrats get caught flat-footed and let Republicans dictate the terms of the debate by manufacturing a fake \u0026#039;education crisis.\u0026#039; It does not have to be this way. There is still time to adopt an inclusive economic message that crowds out racist dog whistles... This should be a wake-up call for Democrats: Give people something to vote for or watch yourselves become the very thing they resoundingly vote against.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nMcAuliffe\u0026#039;s loss to Republican Glenn Youngkin and an unexpectedly close gubernatorial race in the blue state of New Jersey were seen as potential harbingers of what\u0026#039;s to come in the 2022 midterms, as Democrats cling to narrow majorities in both chambers of the U.S. Congress.\r\n\r\n\u0022The circumstances in the two governor\u0026#039;s races all but confirmed the collapse of the coalition that propelled Democrats to power during the Donald Trump administration and Joe Biden to the presidency in 2020,\u0022 the Washington Post reported late Tuesday. \u0022In the election\u0026#039;s wake, there were fresh doubts in the party about Biden\u0026#039;s ability to push his domestic agenda across the finish line, and to repel the new attacks Republicans have opened on culture fronts, especially over schools.\u0022\r\n\r\nBut progressives argued that Democratic losses in 2022 are not inevitable—as long as the party learns from McAuliffe\u0026#039;s defeat and adjusts its message and actions accordingly.\r\n\r\n\u0022If Democrats want to remain competitive, they must deliver for the voters who turned out for them in 2020.\u0022\r\n\r\nIn a column for Common Dreams on Wednesday, progressive writer Richard Eskow noted that McAuliffe\u0026#039;s campaign website was filled with \u0022vague platitudes and promises\u0022 instead of straightforward and popular economic messaging—a serious problem in a race in which voters ranked the economy as the top issue.\r\n\r\nThe \u0022Economy\u0022 section of McAuliffe\u0026#039;s website, for instance, pledged \u0022critical investments in building and training the workforce of the future and ensuring that people of all ages have the skills they need to be successful in the jobs of tomorrow.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022Terry will achieve this through targeted investments in workforce training and development, partnering with businesses and our educational institutions to re-skill and retrain Virginians, and reimagining our K-12 education system so that every child has access to a world-class education and is workforce-ready upon graduation,\u0022 the page reads.\r\n\r\nEskow further observed that, in lieu of a compelling economic platform, McAuliffe attempted to \u0022make the election a referendum on Donald Trump,\u0022 a strategy that \u0022was a failure since Trump wasn\u0026#039;t on the ballot.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022After 10 months of Democratic government in Washington, voters saw little action that improved their lives,\u0022 Eskow wrote. \u0022People need real help navigating the current economic crisis.\u0022\r\n\r\nIn September, McAuliffe sided with corporate Democrats in Congress by describing the Build Back Better Act\u0026#039;s original $3.5 trillion top-line spending level as \u0022too high\u0022—even as polling from the same month showed that nearly 60% of Virginians supported that amount of spending on Democrats\u0026#039; social spending and climate package.\r\n\r\nThe reconciliation bill has since been cut roughly in half and stripped of popular provisions such as dental and vision benefits to appease Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), and other conservative Democrats in Congress.\r\n\r\nIn a statement on Wednesday, the We Demand More Coalition—which is composed of dozens of women-led advocacy groups—said that \u0022last night\u0026#039;s elections in Virginia and across the country demonstrated that if Democrats want to remain competitive, they must deliver for the voters who turned out for them in 2020.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022The Build Back Better Act is a critical investment toward building an economy that truly works for all women, caregivers, and families across demographics and geographic locations,\u0022 the coalition added. \u0022While we are grateful to our elected leaders as they fight for these historic investments, last night\u0026#039;s elections showed us that voters need them to get the job done.\u0022\r\n\r\nRabbi Jason Kimelman-Block, Washington director of Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, echoed that sentiment, declaring, \u0022This moment demands bold progressive action that meaningfully improves people\u0026#039;s lives.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022McAuliffe\u0026#039;s loss in Virginia shows why passing a robust recovery plan should be the top priority for congressional Democrats,\u0022 Kimelman-Block said Wednesday. \u0022If Democrats want to keep their majorities in Congress next year, they should listen to the progressive champions pushing for a strong Build Back Better plan that lifts everyone up today while investing in our shared future.\u0022\r\n\r\nThis article has been updated to include comment from Rabbi Jason Kimelman-Block of Bend the Arc: Jewish Action.