On Tuesday, Bill de Blasio won a landslide victory to become the mayor of New York City, voters in New Jersey and SeaTac, Wash. supported minimum wage hikes and the Illinois legislature voted to legalize same-sex marriage. These are among the progressive victories that swept across the country.
Despite a few setbacks, progressives had much to cheer about, sensing that the tide is turning against the unholy alliance of big business, the Tea Party and the religious right. Growing protests -- such as the "Moral Monday" movement in North Carolina, militant immigrant rights activism, battles to protect women's health clinics from state budget cuts, local challenges to Wall Street banks that are foreclosing on "underwater" homeowners, strikes by low-wage workers, civil disobedience actions to challenge voter suppression and student campaigns against global energy corporations -- reflect a burgeoning progressive movement that is beginning to have an impact on elections.
By far the most impressive symbol of this rising tide is de Blasio's landslide win, which the New York Times called "a sharp leftward turn for the nation's largest metropolis." De Blasio campaigned on a bold progressive platform, promising to address the city's widening income inequality, gentrification, and hollowing out of the middle class. De Blasio, the city's public advocate, trounced Republican Joe Lhota (a transportation official and long-time advisor to former Mayor Rudy Giuliani) by a 73 to 24 percent margin. His victory represents a rejection of 20 years of business-oriented municipal policies under Giuliani and Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
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