All the talk since the election has been about Republican weakness, but I want to talk about Democratic strength. Tuesday night was a watershed moment for our country. We have been able to hold together the coalition from 2008. People said that coalition was only lightning in a bottle, all about Barack Obama and George W. Bush. Surprise, surprise. That is not true. This coalition’s organizers were the biggest winner on Election Day — in fact it was a revenge of community organizers.
There is a new governing coalition emerging in this country. It looks different, talks different and thinks different. It has a different view from the traditional electorate. The president won because the African-American community went out in record numbers, and young people stood in long lines in Florida and Ohio and voted. It was also a big night for marriage equality and the right to collective bargaining.
We saw this coalition in 2008, followed by a backlash in 2010. On Tuesday, that 2008 coalition found its voice and reasserted itself at the center of American politics. It was the backlash against the backlash, and smart leaders will recognize that the game has changed. The deficit-mania, tax cuts for the rich, and outright meanness of the far right are losing ideas — a lesson our leaders should remember as we approach the fiscal showdown over the end of the Bush tax cuts.
Van Jones is president and co-founder of Rebuild the Dream, an organization he helped start in June 2011 to advocate for economic justice. Before that he was a green jobs adviser to President Obama. In April, BillMoyers.com did a Q&A with Jones.