by Cynthia McCabe | November 06, 2012
They did it.
In Ohio, it was Randy Desposito, a nurse, who made it happen. In Michigan, it was legal secretary Yvonne Ross who made it happen. In California, it was vending machine technician Jose Mendez and his wife Marcelina Mendez, a housekeeper at a university. In Wisconsin, it was clerical worker Renita Hoover. In Florida, it was David Diaz, a sanitation worker.
Across the country, 65,600 public service workers who are members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO pulled together with family, coworkers, neighbors and community allies to ensure victory in Election 2012 for Pres. Barack Obama and candidates who will support America’s working families in Congress and state and local offices. It didn’t matter if the candidates were Democrat or Republican. It wasn’t about left versus right. It was about right versus wrong.
“This is a good day for the middle class, the Main Street movement and the American Dream,” AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders said. “The American people sent a clear message that we will stand with a President who stands with all Americans. From the White House to the statehouses, we pulled together to elect leaders who believe that we are all in this together.”
Perhaps no race more clearly demonstrates the commitment of voters to uphold the values of Main Street than Elizabeth Warren’s victory in Massachusetts, winning the seat held for decades by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. From the beginning, Warren offered a full-throated embrace of Main Street’s fight to curb Wall Street’s power – and the active role that government has to play in the struggle. Other huge wins in the Senate included Chris Murphy in Connecticut, Claire McCaskill in Missouri, Tim Kaine in Virginia, and Sherrod Brown in Ohio.
While some votes are still being tallied and a number of important races have yet to be called, today’s election results are a declaration by the American people that they are standing up for working families, children, seniors and the most vulnerable of our country. Despite nefarious attacks against the very right to vote, Americans chose Medicare, not millionaires. Social Security, not cynicism. They said that it was wrong for politicians to try stripping Americans of their rights, their jobs and their promised benefits. That it was wrong to make working families sacrifice while asking nothing of the wealthiest. This election determined whether the values of Main Street were more important than the greed of Wall Street. Main Street won.
Let’s be candid. Until last night, the fight between Main Street and Wall Street appeared to be a draw. Working families won in Ohio in 2011. Gov. Scott Walker won in Wisconsin earlier this year. But the results last night showed that working families had pulled ahead.
In Wisconsin, they voted to return President Obama and Vice President Biden – champions of working people – to office. They sent Tammy Baldwin to the U.S. Senate.
They ousted union-busting, right-to-work promoting legislators in Indiana. If you thought labor was dead in the wake of the Wisconsin recall, take a look at the size of the checks billionaires had to write to try, unsuccessfully, to bail out their candidates. Labor was outspent 15 to 1 and we still won.
Throughout the campaign, AFSCME volunteers knocked on doors, made 1.1 million phone calls and made 4,400 worksite visits. We worked in coalition with other labor unions and our community allies – an approach refined in our defeat of Senate Bill 5 in Ohio last year – to amplify the strength of our numbers. It was workers’ solidarity and it worked. AFSCME members delivered a victory for working families at every level of government last night.
AFSCME played a key role in defining Mitt Romney, dating back to the earliest days of the campaign. In January, our “Greed” ad highlighted his dangerous work as a vulture capitalist, not a job creator, as a principal with Bain Capital. Later in the campaign, our “Meet Richard” video featuring Mitt Romney’s garbage collector became one of the most-watched videos of the entire election season, keeping the pressure on Romney for his comments dismissing 47 percent of Americans.
Our chief concern must now be to partner with allies in Congress and protect the social safety net. While right-wing politicians tried to sell voters the lie that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are going broke, our energized volunteers propelled to victory candidates who will protect them. We know these attacks will continue and we are ready. With good jobs and so much else at stake, we cannot afford to be anything but ready.