Hillary Clinton is the right choice for today’s progressive movement

There has been a sea change in how Americans view progressive issues. Now we progressives have to change how we view ourselves.

We have to get used to the idea that Democrats can win national elections as progressives — and that our leading candidate for president already reflects that reality.

Our best-known, most-experienced, most-electable candidate is also a progressive who is fighting for immigration reform, for a higher minimum wage, for campaign finance reform, for more labor rights, for broader access to health care, for health rights for women, for LGBT rights, for more affordable education…and just about anything else you could name on any progressive’s wish list.

It’s time for progressives to take yes for an answer. Hillary Clinton is a progressive choice for this country.

Many point to the symbolism of electing the first female president as an achievement in and of itself. But Secretary Clinton’s progressive credentials extend much deeper than symbolism.

Secretary Clinton grew up in the progressive movement, motivated by the same audacity to change the world that has always drawn grassroots organizers to our causes and ideals. Like many progressives, she has spent years fighting for issues that have only recently become popular. And much of the dramatic social change we see now was prefaced by the work of activists she’s collaborated with for years.

Secretary Clinton’s progressive credentials are in sync with her progressive agenda. And that agenda is well-crafted to this time in the progressive movement — a time in which we are both focused on preserving the gains of the Obama era while also looking to new policy goals.

Our party’s left is conditioned to try to move our candidates. But the fact is that not only is Secretary Clinton already where we want her to be, so is an emerging and growing majority of the country. There is no question in my mind that she can run on progressive values and win.

Secretary Clinton not only represents the best chance for progressives to continue to hold the White House, she also demonstrates the strongest ability to maintain the broad and diverse Obama coalition that brought us wins for health care, marriage equality, and the environment.

It takes governors and senators and a Democratic House of Representatives. Clinton provides the progressive vision and leadership that we need in the White House, while also being the candidate with the best chance of helping candidates up and down the ticket. And in an era of divided government, Supreme Court appointments are more important than ever to securing the future of the Affordable Care Act and so many other progressive victories of the Obama era.

While progressives have achieved a lot during the Obama era, our victories are far from secure. And the various groups that make up our party have yet to demonstrate the ability to unite behind any candidate not named Barack Obama. We are fond of pointing out to Republicans that demographics are destiny. Shouldn’t we too embrace that reality?

There remains too much division within the broader progressive movement. For example, immigration reform remains a key progressive objective, but there is far too little overlap between “progressive” leadership and “Latino” leadership on the issue.

Even today, white progressives and progressives of color too rarely unite their issues and combine efforts to advance shared goals. And unless we learn to operate as a broader movement outside of President Obama’s umbrella, we’re doomed to once again get picked apart one targeted wedge issue at a time.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign is a test for the broader progressive movement, as well as all of our diverse groups and interests. Can we unite behind a strong candidate who so clearly represents our values and is so well equipped to build on our recent victories?

If progressives are ready to embrace the responsibility that comes with our wins during the Obama era, the answer is: Yes We Can.

Iraq War Veteran. USMC 0311/0341. Member of Congress for Arizona’s 7th Congressional District. Proud Democrat, Husband and Latino.

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