Big progressive wins yesterday

Yesterday we heard the crack of the starting gun for the '06 elections. Understandably, many are focusing all their energy, squinting their eyes and praying -- or engaging in some secular form thereof -- that the Democrats retake the House and Senate.

Not one or the other, but both.

But there's another battle going on in the primaries. Think of it as the Joe Liebermans vs. the Russ Feingolds (yarmulke on yarmulke action). The DC-insider mentality vs. the wisdom to work with the establishment but the courage to disagree. What good is it for the Democrats to win if they cave on Iraq, gay marriage, unfair tax cuts, and the rest of the Republican agenda?

In strict terms, progressives lost two and won two yesterday. In symbolic terms, it was at least 3 wins. Progressive, non-DC-vetted candidates Jon Tester and Phil Angelides won their primaries in Montana and California respectively. Angelides became the Democratic candidate for governor and Tester, the Dems' choice for Senator.

Matt Stoller writes: "Tester CRUSHED his opponent with 60& of the vote, working with the local Montana netroots to push a progressive message that clearly resonated."

According to Stoller, Bilbray and Winograd presented two different situations. Winograd, though not a credible candidate, managed to pick up 37% of the vote from Jane Harman, a conservative Dem. Bilbray, running as a moderate to fill the seat vacated by disgraced Republican Duke Cunningham, lost to Republican Brian Bilbray who "ran to the left of Francine Busby. I know it sounds weird, but he did."

Stoller concludes:

"The lesson from last night should be clear. Hiding from progressives and the left will lead to Democratic losses in 2006. Running as a progressive will lead to victory. Running on 'issues' and 'competence' instead of character will lead to Democratic losses. Talking about how the 'American people' care about gas prices and not gay marriage is insulting and loser politics. Running on bullet points is wrong. Running on character is right."

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