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Progressive coalition retools ahead of 2022

“We’re trying to save the Democratic Party from itself,” said Mejia. “Pivoting right to the center has failed the Democratic Party, leaving the base unmotivated, unspoken to, unorganized. The game will be won by doing the exact opposite. This is about going door by door, state by state, to mobilize the base. That’s what CPD does.”

In the years following former President Donald Trump’s election, Democrats vigorously debated whether they should focus on exciting the party base or persuading swing voters. The conversation was often contentious: Democrat David Shor, a data scientist, has said that the idea that boosting turnout, not flipping voters, was the key to President Joe Biden’s victory is “the closest thing to flat Earther-ism in politics.”

The fact that the Center for Popular Democracy, a large and powerful organization on the left that serves as a network for 48 groups, is pledging to continue pursuing a base-first strategy underscores that progressives are sticking to their guns in 2022 despite this month’s election losses. Both establishment Democratic figures such as former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, as well as left-wing campaigns in Seattle, Minneapolis and Buffalo, N.Y., fell short in last Tuesday’s races.

“I’m from Ohio. I don’t know this mythical suburban swing voter. I don’t actually know that person. I don’t know if that person even really exists. I think our job and our work is to strengthen our base. It is common sense, right? Take care of what’s happening in your house first,” said Cooper.

The Center for Popular Democracy would not say which states it plans to invest in next year, but it has partners in the battlegrounds including Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Hampshire, Nevada, Wisconsin and Ohio.

While working on Sanders’ 2020 campaign, Mejia helped secure an endorsement for the Vermont senator from the Center for Popular Democracy.

Both Sanders and Rep. Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, threw their weight behind the new heads of the Center for Popular Democracy.

Sanders said in a statement that “at a time of massive wealth and income inequality and when the top 1 percent are doing phenomenally well, we need a powerful grassroots progressive movement to take on the corruption of the political and economic establishment,” and “Analilia understands that battle.”

Jayapal added, “I look forward to continuing to fight alongside [CPD’s] members and leaders — including Analilia Mejia and DaMareo Cooper — in the months ahead as we deliver on our promises to pass policies that allow people to wake up feeling a real difference in their lives and the opportunities their families have.”

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