Ten of the Top Progressive Victories of 2016
1. Bernie Sanders' massive rally in Seattle broke through the media blackout.
Bernie Sanders drew a crowd of over 20,000 to Seattle's Safeco Field on March 25. Sanders’ previous Seattle rally in Key Arena, had drawn approximately the same number of supporters, yet received no coverage from mainstream media. However, Sanders’ rally at Safeco Field broke through the media blackout and was featured by MSNBC. And three days later, CNN ran a piece titled "Bernie Sanders' Big Day" to celebrate Sanders landslide wins in Hawaii, Washington and Alaska on Western Saturday.
2. Beyonce's "Formation" became a Black Lives Matter anthem.
Beyonce's pro-black trap single was released just a day prior to her Super Bowl halftime show on February 6. The track sparked controversy, protests, and a dance move obsession nationwide.
"Beyonce joins only a handful of celebrities courageous enough not just to reference a growing movement happening around her, but to proudly place herself within it," Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza said when praising the video.
3. Colin Kaepernick exposed the irony of the "land of the free."
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand when the national anthem before the game on August 27. Kaepernick cited police brutality as a key reason for his silent protest.
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told NFL Media.... To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder," he said.
4. Elizabeth Warren took down Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf.
During a Senate Banking Committee hearing on September 20, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) hammered Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf on the bank's egregious sales tactics scandal, which resulted in the creation of millions of fake accounts.
"This is about accountability," Warren asserted.
"You should resign," she told Stumpf. "You should give back the money that you took while this scam was going on, and you should be criminally investigated by both the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission. This just isn't right."
Two weeks later, he did.
5. Hillary Clinton won a historic nomination.
Hillary Clinton became a historic nominee as the first woman to head a major party ticket on July 26. The former first lady, senator, secretary of state and champion of children, spoke of humble beginnings in civil service and working families across America. Clinton paved the way for breaking that hardest, highest glass ceiling, and inspired the historic triumphs of three female senate candidates on Election night.
6. HB2 backlash cost North Carolina nearly $400M.
In September 2016, Wired found that North Carolina took an enormous financial hit for their infamous bathroom bill, enacted six months earlier. Entertainment giant Lionsgate called off future plans to film there. Then 68 tech companies, including, Apple, Dropbox, Salesforce, Slack, SV Angel, Yelp, and Zynga signed an anti-HB2 pledge.
But the biggest hit was from the NBA; $106 million, when the league pulled their All-Star Game from North Carolina. The second biggest? Bruce Springsteen's concert cancelation; a whopping $700,000 loss.
7. Marijuana was legalized in 7 states on Election Day.
California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada voted to legalize recreational marijuana, while Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota legalized medical marijuana.
8. The minimum wage was raised in 21 states.
Progressive politicians in state legislatures and on city councils insured a raise for the lowest paid workers in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont and Washington.
9. The Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock was halted by federal authorities.
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe's months-long protest finally paid off on December 4. By this time, #NoDAPL had snowballed into a resounding call across the country to prevent contamination and environmental destruction of the indigeous people's home turf. The next steps? Combating misdemeanors, more pipelines and President Trump.
10. President Obama pardoned the most people ever in single day.
On December 19, just weeks before leaving office, President Obama pardoned 78 people and shortened the sentences of 153 other prisoners. The recipients were all were all non-violent, low level drug offenders deserving of a second chance.
However, President Obama set a record for individual presidential pardons long before this historic day.
According to The New York Times, "Mr. Obama has commuted the sentences of more than 1,000 people [since taking office]— more than 50 times the number of people whose sentences were commuted by President George W. Bush and more than the past 11 presidents combined."