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Progressives Unite

On Monday, August 30 from 1-5 pm Eastern, 10 am-2 pm Pacific time the first of a series of National Justice Roundtables aimed on building a unified progressive movement is being held on the internet. You are cordially invited to participate in a program that will feature a lineup of luminaries in the progressive movement to discuss the building blocks of an effective progressive network to unify around key issues such as the battle against state voter suppression and passage of HR 1 and HR 4, the prospects of and damage created by the disappearance of the evictions moratorium, climate change, and other issues as well as strategies to combat a detectable shift towards authoritarianism.

The forum is being put together by Joel Segal, a 40-year veteran of Washington, DC, and a person whom I have had the privilege of working with during his 13-year career with former Congressman John Conyers (D-MI). Our paths crossed over several issues during the 1980s and 1990”s and both of us had front seats to the evolving takeover of state legislatures and other local government posts engineered by the late Lee Atwater, Roger Stone, Paul Manafort and the emergence of policy think tanks and legislative advocacy organizations such as the American Legislative Exchange Council [ALEC) over the past half century.

Despite the formative years of an authoritarian bent right before our eyes, Democrats have been slow to both recognize and counter the rightward shift in our policies

Despite the formative years of an authoritarian bent right before our eyes, Democrats have been slow to both recognize and counter the rightward shift in our policies that range from the capture of the Judiciary, Legislative, and Executive branches of government and thus today we are left with a massive undertaking that will recapture a more rational populism from the Tea Party and Trumpism folderol that passes for policy in an increasingly divided and split electorate.

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One of the ideas Joel and I talked about recently was his idea of forming a legislative think tank from the left (Smart ALEC) to level the playing field on policy issues that will more adequately and sincerely capture the overwhelming desires by the American public to embody rational thought and opportunity for the public at large.

Of course this will encounter a treacherous path towards reconciling a Democratic Party that holds only the most tenuous grip on the Legislative and Executive branches and ranges from West Virginia SenatorJoe Manchin to California Congresswoman Maxine Waters, a monumental ideological chasm that will require the essence of compromise that will showcase the strength of our democratic system.

The Progressive movement must adopt a serious fundraising and get out the vote effort that matches the spectacular success that Stacy Abrams recently experienced in the Georgia Senatorial elections. The powerful support of large swaths of the American electorate must be energized to confront huge issues such as the disproportionate influence of an outdated Electoral College, systematic Congressional gerrymandering, obscene amounts of fundraising, and a disjointed and irrational defense of the Senatorial filibuster.


These issues are seminal in their capture of our democratic system and it will require a persistent and determined effort to bring democratic ideals to the fore. Participation in this opening seminar very well may spark a movement that will equal civil rights, anti-slavery, and the Progressive Era of the early 20th century. 

You are encouraged to participate and contribute to what could be a turning point in the perpetuation of democratic governance. 

Lance Simmens