Origins and purpose of some progressive advocacy groups

When presidential campaigns have done strong issue advocacy, they have often continued on after the campaigns themselves are over. Pick a few to get involved with now.

Rainbow Coalition
The granddaddy of them all, the Rainbow Coalition grew out of the 1984 Jesse Jackson presidential campaign, back when your only organizing tools were direct mail and making expensive long distance phone calls. In 1996, Jackson merged the coalition with Operation PUSH, the social justice coalition which he had founded in 1971.

Progressive Democrats of America
PDA grew our of the 2004 presidential campaign of Dennis Kucinich. The organization endorses candidates as well as working on the main issues of healthcare as a human right, passing the Equal Rights Amendment, ending corporate rule, stopping climate change, election integrity, ending wars and occupations, stopping the Trans Pacific Partnership pro-corporate agenda, and general economic and social justice issues.

Democracy for America
DFA grew out of the 2004 presidential campaign of Howard Dean–originally Dean For America. Howard has not actually been involved–the organization is run by his brother, Jim Dean.

Organizing for American/Organizing for Action
Originally known as Obama for America, Organizing for America, then Organizing for Action, (OFA) is a currently community organizing project of the Democratic National Committee. Initially founded after the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama, OFA sought to mobilize supporters in favor of Obama’s legislative priorities, particularly health care reform. After 2010, it became the grassroots arm of Obama for America. After Obama’s second inauguration, it was reorganized again as Organizing for Action and returned to its previous mission of organizing around the President’s agenda. It has since turned into a hub of the Democratic protest movement.

Our Revolution
Our Revolution grew out of the 2016 presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders. It backs local candidates as well as doing issue organizing.

Sanders Institute
The Sanders Institute was founded by Jane O’Meara Sanders, and works on economic, environmental, racial, and social justice issues.

Onward together
Hillary Clinton co-founded the organization in May of 2017 with Howard Dean and is the CEO. In August 2017 they had hired Emmy Ruiz and Adam Parkhomenko as consultants. Both Ruiz and Parkhomenko were members of Clinton’s 2008 and 2016 presidential campaigns. They don’t yet have an issues page.

In 2016, we have seen something new–organizations devoted to contesting local and congressional elections.

This group did not grow out of a campaign, but was founded by a group of former congressional staffers with the purpose of putting pressure in individual members of Congress to fight Trump’s agenda and advocate for progressive issues. There are thousands of local chapters.

Brand New Congress
Brand New Congress was originally started by a group of volunteers and staffers from the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. The group is non-partisan, and will back Republicans who agree with its agenda, as well as Democrats and third party candidates.

Justice Democrats
Justice Democrats was created by Cenk Uygur, CEO of The Young Turks, Kyle Kulinski of Secular Talk and Zack Exley and Saikat Chakrabarti. Zack and Saikat are former Bernie Sanders campaign staffers.
Justice Democrats all pledge to:
• Create a universal, Medicare-for-all health care system
• Raise the minimum wage to $15 / hour and tie it to inflation
• Make public colleges and trade schools free
• Call for a constitutional amendment to get rid of money in politics once and for all
• Take no corporate PAC money or corporate lobbyist money

Also, urge your progressive state legislators to get involved with State Innovation Exchange
SiX supports state legislators who seek to strengthen democracy, fight for working families, defend civil rights and liberties, and protect the environment. We do this through training, emphasizing leadership development, amplifying legislators’ voices, and forging strategic alliances between our legislative network and grassroots movements.

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