We had been working on this double issue of the magazine for quite a while when Election Day arrived, halfway through our editorial deadline week. What a difference a day makes. Our theme—uplifting stories about progressive activists who are fighting back against the bad guys—was swamped by election results in which the bad guys won. An optimistic, progressive vision of America was swept aside.
November 9 was a dark day.
But if there is one bright spot in these last days of 2016, it is the sense of coming together that we progressives now have.
Pakistani American journalist and playwright Wajahat Ali, in an interview with our publisher, Norm Stockwell, compares the current political moment to the aftermath of 9/11. We are shocked and hurt, and we are dealing with a terrible turn in American politics, but we are also galvanized as a progressive majority.
For indeed, we are the majority. As John Nichols points out in this issue, Donald Trump lost the popular vote by a historic margin—nearly two million votes when we went to press.
It is also helpful to remember our history. This magazine has stood up to bullies before. Our editors and writers were early opponents of Joe McCar-
thy. McCarthy went on to win election to the U.S. Senate anyway, amassed huge power in Washington, D.C., and led the witch hunts that initiated one of the worst chapters in American politics. But McCarthy died in infamy, and progressive gains from the civil rights movement to the Great Society followed.
Today’s activist, progressive base is no less determined than were the civil rights marchers of the 1960s. In a lovely essay on the history and future of the environmental movement, our online media editor Mrill Ingram describes her river trip with her father and a handful of other storied warriors for conservation, along with a young generation of climate activists who are picking up where the monkey wrenchers and Earth defenders of the last generation left off.
Harvey Wasserman also offers some environmental hope in his piece this month on dirty energy’s losing fight against renewables.
Debbie Phillips has an uplifting interview with Gloria Steinem, whose warmth and wisdom as she reflects on a lifetime of fighting for feminist values are another bright spot.
CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin and our dear friends Cecilia and Jack Laun, who co-founded the Colombia Support Network, offer hope for peace.
There is no sense in being a Pollyanna. In Comment this month, I talk about what the Democrats need to learn from their stunning defeats across the Midwest, where The Progressive is based.
Besides a report on the growing use of mandatory arbitration, our associate editor Bill Lueders has a Further Comment that grew out of our debate over the cover art. Bill would have preferred to show citizens turning their backs at Trump’s inauguration. Kerstin Vogdes Diehn, our art director, and I had a different idea, which led us toward the beautiful photo collage on our cover created by Rob Dobi.
There is hope amid the ruins of our electoral politics. And something to learn from this disaster.
We need each other now, more than ever. We need the progressive movement and The Progressive. Strike a blow against the evil Breitbart News vision of the world, and give subscriptions to your friends and family.
We plan to be around for another 100 years, upholding a better vision of the world.
Ruth Conniff is editor-in-chief of The Progressive.