Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Today is the LAST DAY of this Mid-Year Campaign. This is our hour of need.
If you value independent journalism, please support Common Dreams.

TODAY is the last day to meet our goal -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year.

Demonstrators protesting then-Republican candidate Donald Trump while he addressed an event organized by the American Israel Public Affairs Council, Washington DC, March 21, 2016. (Photo: Stephen Melkisethian/cc/flickr)

An Unstoppable Progressive Movement

Mark Pocan

 by The Progressive

There is no reason to sugar coat it. The election of Donald Trump is a wakeup call for those of us who care about working-class families. People all across the country are struggling to make ends meet and they feel like the economy is rigged against them in favor of the wealthy. Some of those voters felt disillusioned and frustrated that their voices weren’t being heard in Washington. 

This is true of places like my hometown of Kenosha, Wisconsin, which used to have a thriving automobile industry, and now has dwindling economic opportunities. For decades now, we have not adequately addressed the basic problems that continue to worsen for the working class. 

Income inequality began to grow during the 1970s as economic growth slowed. Concentration of wealth rose to the very top while safety nets protecting the most vulnerable have gradually been snipped away. Things have gone in the wrong direction for the majority of people. Explaining why this happened is often complex. On the campaign trail, Trump gave simple answers that preyed on people’s insecurities and anger, even if they weren’t solutions. 

The progressive movement offers real solutions to raise wages and get Americans back on solid economic footing, but it is going to take a grassroots effort to make our voices heard. 

The system has been deliberately rigged against us—by the Republican elite who use redistricting, voter ID and other voting restrictions to keep people likely to oppose them away from the polls. Yet, in my Congressional district in Wisconsin, we had very high turnout, helped by expanding early voting to new locations such as libraries to make it convenient. Voting rights activists helped students get the new voter IDs they needed on campus. This helped boost turnout despite some of the toughest anti-voter laws in any state.  Every time Governor Walker’s administration looks to trample on voting or any other rights, many local governments find ways to fight back and work around the new restrictions. 

In Wisconsin, efforts to overturn Citizens United, which opened the floodgates for corporate money in elections, were on the ballot in eighteen communities. Move to Amend won all of those votes and by huge margins, even in conservative areas. Nationwide, more than 700 communities have endorsed overturning Citizens United and related Supreme Court decisions. 

The new political landscape has shaken people’s belief in a country that prides itself on diversity and inclusiveness. It is more important than ever to support and stand up for one another. I am encouraged by people in my District who are holding neighborhood potlucks, impromptu support gatherings, protests, vigils, and forums to come together as a community. 

We can’t wait another four years to have a different President or different legislative bodies—the time to come together around our shared values is now. Turn the hurt, loss, anger and fear into action. Get more involved in the areas that interest you, get more engaged with the organizations that support the issues you care about. 

An unstoppable progressive movement begins at the grassroots. We’ve already laid the foundation of public support through organizations across the country fighting for higher wages, college without debt, and protecting our environment. But it’s time to strengthen the partnership between those of us fighting like hell in Congress to prevent Trump from enacting the worst of his campaign promises and those of you going door to door to spread our progressive message. We need to raise our progressive voices in order to improve the lives of people who feel like they are being left behind and ensure they have the opportunities to get ahead.    

After this election, our country is at a crossroads. We can blame one another and give in to fear. Or we can organize and fight and take back our country. I vote for the latter.


© 2021 The Progressive

Mark Pocan

Mark Pocan has served as U.S. Representative for Wisconsin's 2nd congressional district, since 2013.

TODAY is the last day of our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

Texas Supreme Court Allows Century-Old Abortion Ban to Take Effect

"Extremist politicians are on a crusade to force Texans into pregnancy and childbirth against their will, no matter how devastating the consequences."

Jake Johnson ·


'What's There to Even Discuss?' Omar Says Free, Universal School Meals Should Be Permanent

"We have an opportunity to prove that a government of the people, by the people, and for the people can still deliver big things. And we can feed tens of millions of hungry kids while we do it."

Jake Johnson ·


'Stark Betrayal': Biden Administration Floats New Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling

"This is the third time since November the Biden administration has announced new oil and gas leasing plans on the Friday before a holiday," said one climate advocate. "They're ashamed, and they should be."

Jake Johnson ·


As US Rolls Back Reproductive Rights, Sierra Leone Moves to Decriminalize Abortion

"I'm hopeful today's announcement gives activists in the U.S., and especially Black women given the shared history, a restored faith that change is possible and progress can be made."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Indefensible': Outrage as New Reporting Shines Light on Biden Deal With McConnell

The president has reportedly agreed to nominate an anti-abortion Republican to a lifetime judgeship. In exchange, McConnell has vowed to stop blocking two Biden picks for term-limited U.S. attorney posts.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo