Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), who won a third term in the Senate representing Ohio in 2018, told the progressive crowd gathered at Netroots Nation on Saturday that the concept of “electability,” which many use to justify support of candidates like former vice president Joe Biden, is a myth.
“The electability myth is, in fact, a myth. Let me tell you why,” Brown said, according to Cleveland.com, adding, “Donald Trump won Ohio by almost double digits in 2016. Last year I won re-election by almost 7 points. I didn’t compromise on women’s rights. I never compromised on LGBTQ rights.”
Brown, ironically described as electable himself when he publicly pondered a 2020 presidential run, said he is the case-in-point that proves you can be boldly progressive and still win in a state like Ohio that Trump won by a nearly 9-point margin in the 2016 election.
“I have a lifetime ‘A’ rating from Planned Parenthood and a lifetime ‘F’ from the (National Rifle Association),” Brown said. “I stood on a debate stage in the most conservative part of Ohio last year during my Senate race. I told the audience that climate change is the defining moral issue of our times and we must act. I went to the Columbus airport and joined protests against the Muslim ban.”
Brown continued, “I called Donald Trump a racist because he was and is. I won the swing state of Ohio by 7 points. Elections aren’t about some electability calculation. They’re about one question. Whose side are you on? Are you on the side of workers or corporations? Are you on the side of consumers or Wall Street? Are you on the side of patients or drug companies? Are you on the side of voters or dark money?”
The Ohio senator also criticized Democrats for courting the white working class Trump supporters, saying, “Dignity of work is not code for targeting white men who voted for Trump. That’s a losing strategy. That’s a betrayal of our values.”
At a time when many Democrats are courting the middle and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is publicly criticizing some of the most progressive members of her caucus, it’s interesting to see a Democratic senator like Brown take a wildly different tact of embracing progressivism rather than running away from it.