Holding the Center
Jean Hardisty and Deepak Bhargava
Eighteen months into the Obama era, the progressive movement is experiencing malaise, based on disappointment about what has been accomplished so far and confusion about the path forward. The sense of disappointment is, in our view, exaggerated. It is important to remember that progressive campaigns and grassroots efforts have played a major role in achieving reforms that are more substantial than anything we have seen since the Great Society: provision of health insurance coverage to more than 30 million additional people and partial regulation of the health insurance industry; the largest (albeit temporary) expansion of antipoverty programs in forty years as part of the Recovery Act; student lending reforms making it easier for young people to go to college; and legislation to increase regulation of the financial sector. There is much to be proud of in the way progressive organizations have risen to the historical moment, educated and mobilized their constituencies, and helped to secure major victories that will have a real, positive impact on people's lives.
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