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By Julian Mitchell-Israel

  1. In seizing the House, we took a step out of the mire of hateful politics that has been steadily consuming our country. This was a hard-fought victory, and anyone who voted, who worked on a campaign, who believed in the great people of our country, should be proud. Patriotism is not only for the right, and this is one of those moments when I am struck with a total reverence for the notions our nation is built on.
  2. We did not win. Do not fool yourself into thinking that last night was a great, or perhaps even good, night because we took back the House. We failed to live up to our civic promise in many races, including in the two Senate seats we lost. Don’t believe me? Look at the down-ballot races in many states: Ohio, for instance, got absolutely demolished. All but three Democratic candidates that were on my ballot lost.
  3. We, once again, overestimated the blue wave and overestimated ourselves. Our candidates were not as strong as we thought they were, we did not fight as hard or as smart as we thought we thought we fought, and we did not reach the American people. This is sorely disappointing. It means we have a long way to go before the left reaches the point we so desperately thought we had reached.
  4. It may seem as though these losses are a reproach of the liberal American spirit, and are a message that America isn’t a place ready for progressivism. It may seem that, with all our ducks lined up in a row, it was still impossible to surmount the will of hate. We did not get the rebuke of Trump’s cowardice that a sweeping victory would have been. Despite this, we must remember: “When we have faced down impossible odds, when we’ve been told we’re not ready or that we shouldn’t try or that we can’t, generations of Americans have responded with a simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.” If we let ourselves be sated by this small victory, if we let ourselves feel run down by these defeats, we leave behind this creed. There is still much to do, perhaps even more than before, so we MUST stand back up and keep moving. We have a direction, we have a clear fight to fight, and there is more potential than ever for improvement. We can make a change, we can make the right choices, and we can once again find those hopeful pillars of America.

Julian Mitchell-Israel is a leftist activist, community organizer, and second year student at Oberlin College. He has organized for campaigns in Brooklyn, Ohio, and Missouri, and serves as the chair of the Oberlin Student Progressive Front.

Photo by roya ann miller

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