Zephyr Teachout is running to shake up the Democratic Party, American politics, the US Congress, and economic arrangements that favor billionaires over working Americans.
It turns out that this is a popular agenda.
Teachout, the former director of the Sunlight Foundation who authored the groundbreaking book Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin’s Snuff Box to Citizens United (Harvard University Press), won 71 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s New York Democratic primary for an open US House seat representing a sprawling district that includes parts of 11 upstate and Hudson Valley counties.
Declaring victory on primary night, the Fordham University law professor boldly announced, “I am running for Congress to break down those doors in Washington, DC; the doors that are keeping the people of America—the real people, the citizens of America—locked out. I’ve been fighting well-paid lobbyists on behalf of working families my entire life. I will fight until we win—for the people of NY 19. For the American people.”
Teachout’s congressional run has stirred grassroots enthusiasm that compares with that of the presidential campaign of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (who endorsed Teachout and urged his small-donor network to support her candidacy). And that enthusiasm was in evidence on Tuesday, as the Democratic primary in the competitive district (where the seat is currently held by a Republican) drew a substantially higher turnout than the Republican primary.
“Score one for the political revolution,” declared Working Families Party New York State Director Bill Lipton. “Zephyr has been able to build a grassroots movement of activists and small dollar donors looking to take on the political and economic establishment. Voters in the 19th District now have a rare opportunity to elect a Representative who will lift up their voices and be a national leader in taking on corruption and corporate influence in our politics. The choice for them in November could not be clearer, and eyes of the entire country will continue to be on this race.”
Teachout has drawn national attention by running campaigns (for governor of New York in 2014 and now for the House) that are long on substance, and that go to the very heart of the fundamental questions that face the United States and the world in a moment of growing outrage over economic inequality and the political corruption that creates and sustains injustice. “One of the original sins in modern thinking is the separation of thinking about economics and politics,” she explains.