Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

The voters I spoke to at these events are fighting for change. They want an economy that puts workers first. (Photo: Ron Adar/SOPA Images/LightRocket?Getty Images)

The voters I spoke to at these events are fighting for change. They want an economy that puts workers first. (Photo: Ron Adar/SOPA Images/LightRocket?Getty Images)

Voters Want Change, Not Centrism

Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg and other candidates aiming for the so-called center do not inspire voters.

Larry Cohen

 by USA Today

I spent last week at a series of events in eastern Iowa that we called “The War against Workers,” sponsored by Our Revolution and by Labor for Bernie. We were seeking volunteers to “adopt” the 5,000 Our Revolution supporters in these pivot counties that had voted twice for Barack Obama and then went for Donald Trump. 

We met in union halls, and the industrial workers who filled those halls clearly do not believe that any old Democrat will do.

Our goal, in this case, is mobilizing those members to caucus for Bernie Sanders in the Feb. 3 Iowa caucus, but then to sustain the involvement of those voters for the Democratic nominee through the November election and beyond. Those pivot counties are much like similar counties that stretch across Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, all states like Iowa that narrowly went for Trump in 2016. 

Like it or not, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg and others aiming for the so-called center do not inspire the voters I saw. Those who attended will not vote for Trump in November, but they also will not be inspired to be active by candidates who reflect the Democratic Party’s past. Their health care costs, even with a union, are rising every year, and trade deals backed by Democrats and Republicans alike have gutted their workplaces.

The voters I spoke to at these events are fighting for change. They want an economy that puts workers first. They want clean drinking water from the tap, not water polluted by factory farms. They want a green economy that expands employment and ends new investment in fracking and pipelines that harm their communities. They want union organizing and collective bargaining rights in the public and private sectors. 

That’s why they will caucus for Bernie Sanders, and that’s why they volunteered to mobilize 50 other voters in their county to do the same. 


© 2021 USA Today
Larry Cohen

Larry Cohen

Larry Cohen was the president of the Communications Workers of America, a 700,000 member labor union representing workers in Canada and the United States. Cohen was first elected by acclamation, in 2005, and left office in 2015. In 2015, Cohen joined presidential candidate Bernie Sander’s campaign as a liaison to organized labor.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Top Central Banks Told to Stop 'Bankrolling' Deforestation

"At a time when the climate crisis is ravaging countries across the world, it is unacceptable," a Global Witness campaigner said of the institutions' corporate bond-buying practices.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Obscene,' Says Sanders After CBO Reports Richest 1% Now Owns Over 1/3 of US Wealth

"In the richest country on Earth, the time is long overdue for us to create a government and an economy that works for all of us, not just the 1%."

Brett Wilkins ·


Experts Sound Alarm Over 'Growing Threat' of Genetically Engineered Trees

"Development of genetically engineered trees is advancing despite the serious risks to our forests and continued opposition around the world," said one advocate.

Kenny Stancil ·


Alarming Report Warns 1 in 8 Bird Species Now Facing Extinction

"We have already lost over 160 bird species in the last 500 years," the report's lead author warned, "and the rate of extinction is accelerating."

Brett Wilkins ·


Fresh Demands for 'Climate Emergency Declaration' as Monster Hurricane Ian Comes Ashore

"How can we call this anything but what it is—a climate emergency?" asked the Sunrise Movement.

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo