November 2nd was the end of a very long, and at times brutal, election cycle. Progressives and moderates took hits across the country, and the GOP is celebrating a 60 seat gain in the House. Historically low voter turnout (only 42% in fact) across Nebraska seems to reflect a general distaste for politics and those involved in the process. After a season filled with negative campaign ads and huge anonymous corporate donations, we feel exhausted and more than a little beaten.
But this is the moment, the moment when we are down that we have a choice: Do we moan over our war wounds, embrace apathy and disengage from politics? Or do we pick ourselves up, grit our teeth and get back in the fight a little wiser and a lot tougher?
Election season is unique to politics. Winning races is a big deal, but it’s not the only avenue where we can succeed. We can take on issues that moderates and progressives care about and deserve to share their opinions. Here’s what you can expect from BOLD in the coming months:
We will continue to fight TransCanda’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline that they want to build right through the Sandhills and the Ogallala aquifer. There’s no way we’re letting a foreign oil company endanger our livelihood without a fight. We’ve already put the brakes on this project that was once in the fast lane, and our two US Senators are being vocal and standing up for Nebraska. We’ll keep demanding accountability from state elected officials (yes, that’s you, Heineman) and remind them that they won’t stay in office if they don’t protect Nebraskans.
Immigration reform is going to be a hot topic in the state legislature come January. Extreme right-wing state senator Charlie Janssen has promised to introduce Arizona-like immigration legislation in Nebraska, and Dave Heineman will no doubt take his win as a mandate to pass that legislation. We say, “No way, not in our state.” We’re not dragging Nebraska down a losing lane that pits neighbors against each other and will entangle the state incostly court battles.
Health reform is in danger, and we won’t let all of our activists’ hard work and the promise of healthier lives get repealed in the name of limited government. You can’t take away insurance coverage from 30 million Americans and continue to allow insurance companies to hose families without a fight from us. We’ll keep hammering on Governor Heineman and Attorney General Bruning to get on the bus and properly implement reform instead of spending their time plotting their next political campaigns.
We’ll also be keeping tabs on other issues like education, LGBT rights, the environment and the economy. The lame duck session has started in Congress. And if the American people don’t get time off, neither will our elected officials.
The NE GOP won some big races last night, but voter turnout was at an historic low across the state. It costs to go negative, and unfortunately the mudslinging turned away a lot of important voters this year. The conservatives in Nebraska don’t care about legislating, they care about dominating.
Moderates and progressives in the state struggled because they mirrored the same problems as their counterparts in Congress: they’re good legislators, not the best politicians. The good legislation that they passed and the changes they made never quite jived in the political spin machine. So they suffered at the polls as a result.
As one of our favorite presidents John F. Kennedy once said (maybe with the help of the late Ted Sorensen), “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” We’re looking to the future, and we hope you’ll join us in the fight to restore balance as we change the Nebraska political landscape.