Paul Blumenthal says, today, in Huffington Post what I have been saying in this space for nearly a year -- The Democratic Primary in the IL-10 Congressional District is an enormously important election for everyone everywhere who believes that a much more progressive Congress is required in order for the nation to recapture the fading American Dream.
The Democratic primary race in Illinois' 10th District pits Waukegan community organizer Ilya Sheyman against businessman Brad Schneider. Progressive groups like MoveOn.org, USAction, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) have all gotten involved to help Sheyman win the Democratic nod to face Rep. Bob Dold (R-Ill.). They also hope that this marks the beginning of a successful cycle for progressives running in contested primaries. Sheyman worked previously worked as the National Mobilization Director for MoveOn during the healthcare reform debate.Strong national support, in volunteers, independent expenditures, recruiting and training has resulted in outbreaks of genuine progressive passion all over the country and that can translate into ballot box results.
"The exciting thing about it is there's a higher degree of interest in intervening in primaries than in 2010," says USAction Program Director Alan Charney. "This time there are a bunch of races that are on everyone's radar screen. Illinois 10 is the first one."
Neil Sroka, PCCC's press secretary, notes that the strength of his organization, and of the progressive movement in general, isn't in making big expenditures: "Our support isn't about the money that we're putting into the race. That pales in comparison to what our members bring to the race. What we are about is boots on the ground."I can personally validate what Neil Sroka said about the ability of PCCC to put boots on the ground for progressive campaigns. Not long ago I spent a pleasant afternoon at one of Ilya Sheyman's campaign offices stuffing envelopes while the mother of the aforementioned, PCCC's, Neil Sroka, sat across from me doing the same.
PCCC is also working with Democracy for America, whose founder, former DNC chairman and Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, has endorsed Sheyman through the latter group's Call Out The Vote program, which can target calls to voters in the district.
The groups involved in Illinois-10 see a Sheyman victory as a signal for Democrats running across the country, as they eye opportunities to get involved on behalf of progressive candidates this cycle.
Properly organized, people powered campaigns can beat back the corporate shills from both parties. Progressive Democrats can and will win.