Why Now?

We want change; that’s why we are progressive advocates. We seek to redirect and reform public policy in order to address our nation’s most pressing problems.

But these are strange times. Truth and lies are used interchangeably. Bigoted speech and fake news inundate policymakers and the public. Regressive, cold-hearted policies are offered merely to energize the right-wing base. Civility and reasoned argument are cast aside entirely.

Progressives naturally respond by wanting to “resist.” But we need to do more; we need to move from defense to offense—now. The fact is, voters don’t want politics as usual. Americans of all political stripes are sick of the status quo. They want political leaders who are not only willing, but will, fight for them.

It’s time to stop talking the talk and do the walk. We need to press for ideas that show stark contrast between progressive policies designed to expand the rights, opportunities and well-being of people, and the regressive, anti-government policies designed to dismantle the very programs, economies and institutions people require. We need to lay the groundwork to make bigger and bolder progressive reforms possible in the future—even if they are not doable now. In this moment, the only way to build capital for progressive change is to press for revolutionary ideas for regular folks.

This is true whether you live in a blue, red or purple jurisdiction. You are out there fighting anyway, so you might as well fight for things you believe in, things that inspire and invigorate you and your supporters. With this book, we hope to show you how to use proactive policy campaigns to:

  • Promote ideas that are real-world solutions to the problems people face;
  • Expand public awareness of your policies and of the policymakers that support or oppose them;
  • Provide ideas to progressive policymakers who ran to make a difference and are looking for ways to do so; and
  • Draw attention—and opposition—to conservatives’ attempts to roll back the clock, because, with your ideas in the public sphere, the public understands there are real policy alternatives that matter.

Mostly, we want you to feel empowered again to carry out your work for social, racial and economic justice. We want you to help build our movement.

There’s only one catch: you can’t just introduce a bill, or a resolution, or make a regulatory change. You must plan, and run an advocacy campaign, and engage other leaders—elected and non-elected. You must use different muscles than you have been using, with broader strategies and deeper policies. You must tie the work together so what you’re doing is clear to people whose job is not politics or advocacy.

This is what the time requires of you. This is why we wrote this book. And we’re here to help if you need us.