EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.
Last Tuesday, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum defied the odds and won the Democratic primary for governor in Florida. He had neither the biggest name nor the most money, and still he emerged as the clear winner. Gillum is now, along with Stacey Abrams of Georgia and Ben Jealous of Maryland, one of three black candidates for governor who could make history this year.
The gubernatorial election in Florida will be a test of progressivism vs. Trumpism. On one side we have Gillum, a 39-year-old with strong grass-roots support and bold progressive stances on issues such as establishing Medicare for All, abolishing ICE in its current form, reforming the criminal-justice system and ensuring a living wage. On the other is Ron DeSantis, a Trump devotee.
But that’s only part of the story. Gillum’s victory is not simply a reaction to the Trump administration, nor is Gillum an overnight sensation. His success is a long time in the making as he has worked his way through the leadership pipeline for progressive candidates. Strengthening this pipeline will be critical for the progressive movement to sustain victories such as his in the years to come.
Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.