Building Progressive power at the grassroots through small wins will grow into larger wins

Hi, my name is Ted. I met Cenk at his Brooklyn book signing and I was able to talk with him about how progressives can grow their power. I recommended that TYT should be more directly involved with winning small elections at the local and state level, as well as winning on ballot initiatives. Cenk agreed that building up a base of support should be the first step before we try to do anything major. I disagree that the right path forward is Operation Hope, because this is just a discussion board, which is nice in theory but ultimately we need a leader to make a decision about what direction we are going to go in, rather than a bunch of people giving ideas.

Don’t get me wrong, I love that people are so invested in these ideas, but let me talk a little about my experience in the progressive movement to explain why I think winning small victories is so important. I was an organizer in wolf-PAC for 2 years and in that time, I became the best organizer in the state. I talked to hundreds of legislators and I really believed in the mission, getting money out of politics, and I thought the process could work, I mean it says it right there in the constitution in Article 5. The problem is we’ve never used that part of the constitution before and legislators kept bringing that up, no matter how many times I told them about the state conventions, and that we just “wanted to have a conversation”. I brought these concerns up to wolf-pac leadership over and over again, and they never really had a good answer for how to deal with them, so I looked into a solution my self, I poured over legal documents like from Congressional research service and so many others, I showed these to legislators, but they just would not budge. I know so so soooooooo may of my brothers in arms in wolf-pac felt my pain and frustration at not making any progress AT ALL! Wolf-PAC hasn’t passed a state in almost 10 years and almost all of the volunteers have left out of frustration and hopelessness, there is no one left, and for god’s sake no one even watches there videos. They average 100 views now. Don’t take my word for it just watch

I got so jaded from my experience in wolf-pac that I took a long break from doing any activism, and I also moved to philadelphia where I learned the political scene here. A lot of people reading this are probably familiar with the Workers Family Party, but they have had some really significant wins in philadelphia, they have 2 at large seats on the city council! And they have Summer Lee in in congress! Their strategy of winning smaller elections first so you can build up to bigger elections WORKS!


I will give Cenk credit for one thing, he is very good at rallying the troops. Which is why, I don’t believe that he should have run for Congress or even president, I think he should run for city council because he could win! And from there he could pursue higher office once people learn his name and like him in his district. When I asked him, even Cenk was extremely frustrated at Wolf-PACs stagnation and agreed with me that if he could have done it over again he would have built a base of support first before starting Wolf-PAC. He talks about it here

I know a lot of people will disagree with me and say that the better idea is to write letters to politicians or tweet something, but if those politicians are bought off, they literally don’t need you to like them or vote for them, they already have all the money they need to buy an election. What we need are boots on the ground to run for local office and get signatures for getting progressive legislation on the ballot. Moreover, half the states don’t even allow for ballot initiatives! This is a perfect opportunity to lobby legislators on an extremely well established and reliable method for passing legislation that no legislator can bring doubt towards. And if they don’t agree to make ballot initiative legal, then run a candidate against them on a platform of anti-corruption and accountability which includes ballot initiatives!

I believe these efforts should start in California, so that Cenk can do what he does best: Rally the troops! The first state to pass Wolf-PACs resolution was California because TYT and Cenk are based there and there are so many progressives that could lobby the state legislature. Remember Joe Sanberg, he successfully got an $18 minimum wage ballot measure in California by buying support with millions of dollars of his own money. You basically need 1 million signatures to get on the ballot in california. It’s probably too late for 2024, but TYT has a lot of very dedicated volunteers that could absolutely get 1 million signatures in a year or two, especially on something really popular like getting money out of politics!


Again, I can’t stress enough the local elections as well. I was so incredibly proud to have been able to vote for John Fetterman. But that wasn’t the first time he ran for senate, he ran when he was still a mayor and lost badly. So, he ran for lieutenant governor and won! He made a name for himself in the whole state and even after a stroke, people connected with his message so much that he won election to the senate easily! Bernie Sanders was also similar, he won mayor by one vote, and that’s when he started his TV show and just talked to people so they got to know him, once he build up his name he became a house representative then a senator, and then almost a president!!! Everyone says Bernie is too old to run for president again so we need to find another progressive. Just imagine if we had put the work into getting more people like john fetterman to becoming a mayor 10 years ago, how many would be congresspeople today! and in another 10 years they could run for president! I know this strategy takes a long time, but it has been the main why progressives have won power. Wins like AOC were amazing but basically impossible for almost everyone, remember how many people that year ran for congress and lost because they had no name recognition, remember Richard Ojeda? He was an amazing progressive but losing takes it toll on people, and they might not run again, he probably won’t. We lose so many amazing progressives because they bite off more than they could handle because they wanted to be like AOC. But even Cenk says Joe Crowley likely lost to AOC because he never really needed to campaign, he was basically appointed to congress at first, so he never built up his name recognition.

All this is to say that nothing happens unless Cenk asserts himself. I know he’s busy with running for president right now, and I’m sure all the naturalized citizens love him for that, but when he eventually drops out from never getting any press attention almost like they all systematically dislike his message and tone, then I hope he has a chance to read this post and start taking to proper steps toward small wins in california so we can grow those into bigger wins. Ana always says Gavin Newsom and the former mayor of los angeles, eric garcetti, and Joe Biden are terrible, but we’re never going to get different people or different types of politicians in power if progressives are never given a chance at the ground level, i.e. local politics. Ana and so many other hosts TYT can help progressives win at the local level. Dr. Rashad Richey is a great example of this, he’s won many elections in Georgia.

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I’m tired of losing elections we should have won, but usually we never even had someone in the race. I’m tired of being forced to chose between the lesser of two evils. Aren’t you? If you’re reading this, look into progressive local candidates that TYT could endorse and campaign for in california, where TYT could be most effective. So, to end this essay, I’ll say that I hope the people reading this spread the message and engage with this post so as many people as possible can see it and learn from it.

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Yes. Lesser of two evils is basically why I voted for Biden.

I also think progressives running for local elections is a good idea. I think we should support people that are willing to do that.


Exactly! I mentioned the WFP in Philadelphia and the fact that 2 already are on the city council. So, if anyone would like to highlight local candidates in their area, other people reading this can get together and help them out. I would recommend people from California get priority since some people from TYT could theoretically help out and give a lot more news coverage to the candidate. News coverage for local candidates decides elections!

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So, Tonight Cenk is supposed to decide what he is going to do about Operation Hope. My one recommendation is to NOT fight for everything as he says in the video. Cenk consistently has a problem with focusing on the important issues. As the saying goes, if everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority. Cenk, please pick a single simple achievable, you’ve put a lot of ideas out there like paid family leave, but what is the mechanism we are going to get it. If we go through congress if will take decades! Biden couldn’t even pass his own signature piece of legislation, Build Back better, but instead had to pass the watered down Inflation Reduction Act. This is why you need people who will fight for you. In congress we have just 11 justice democrats and a few more progressive democrats. Does anyone really think that we are going to get PFL with only maybe 20 people fighting for it? On the day you are reading this, November 7th, we do not have election day off work to go vote, and we are not even close to getting it!

But if we had a larger base of support, like from winning ballot initiatives and local elections, we could pass PFL at the state level through a ballot initiative or through the state legislature of California for example, or maybe a small progressive state like Massachusetts, Delaware, hawaii, or Rhode Island. Cenk, please consider this when chosing what to do with Operation Hope so we actually have a hope of passing some legislation. I will remind everyone that TYT has never passed a single law. I want to change this, but it takes time and money and organizing, which TYT only has through Cenk. So Cenk, please use your ability to rally the masses to win a smaller victory. I’m begging you don’t go through congress, we need to get TYT’s name on the map, which only happens when we win!

I think running local candidates is a great idea. I am not sure I would recommend that for Cenk due to his potential for media influence. I think many would also benefit from your strategy but sometimes it can backfire. You can gain negative name recognition if you become to famous in the national light. This argument inverts again when you consider in some climates infamy is better than fame when winning competitions of popularity.

I have a bit of research I created a workaround for online gathering of signatures that seems to satisfy the letter of the law in California. I never ran the idea by a California attorney familiar with this area of law. I could attempt to chase down that information if it could help here. I imagined that if you do it successfully you would open a Pandora’s box of sorts.

I have attempted to do a bit of digging around what happened with TYT Army. I don’t really know much about Wolf-PAC other then the stated goals and what you have posted here.

Wolf-PAC seemed like a none centralized organization that filtered people into to chapters that were independently lead. Is this correct?

If so some considerations I would see are:

  • Little economy of scale with redundant work load.

  • Lacking of progress reporting tools like a thermometer used for the purpose of morale boosting.

I made a feature request a while back that addressed another issue being utilizing under met labor markets.


Thanks- also- I think someone should update wikipedias page on Citizens United- with some details on what’s wrong with it-


Thanks for the feedback, I’m not married to the idea of cenk running for local office, he’s good at getting people involved in politics, he doesn’t personally need to run to make a difference, he can organize for others, like he kind of did for justice democrats.

I would love to hear more about this workaround for gathering signatures electronically in california, but I’m sure that if it isn’t explicitly spelled out in the law that you method of gathering signatures is valid, then it will definitely not be allowed on the ballot, like the $15 minimum wage wasn’t allowed on the ballot until gavin newson allowed it, a year later than it should have been on the ballot

I’m sure TYT army fell apart because they didn’t have any clear goals or measures of success. Alison Hartson, who led TYT army and Wolf-PAC is now just a TYT moderator and responds to TYT emails.

Wolf-PAC is somewhat similar, they did have a few national organizer, now many have left just like most of the volunteers. Their mission is to call for a national convention to have a “conversation” about getting money out of politics, hopefully through an amendment. This approach has never been used, so the biggest critique is “what would happen during the convention”? Ballot initiatives have been around a long time, and have been used to get a lot of people a lot of rights, that’s why I think they are the right path forward.

Cenk has difficulty balancing multiple projects. Now that he’s running for president he isn’t on TYT as much, just like when he was running for congress, and we all know how that turned out, he got about 5% of the vote. And until the results came in, he was adamant that he couldn’t lose, absolutely adamant! This is why, he needs to FOCUS! pick one project and get that done, then move on to the next. Has anyone ever heard him talk about naturalized citizens not being able to run for president? Is this a crisis that’s getting people killed every year? NO? Of cooooooourse! So why not focus on a project that would actually help people live better lives, like paid family leave or raising the minimum wage, or medicare for all, or any other expansion of the social safety net? Ego! As much as I love that big oaf, he has an enormous ego, and is incredibly stubborn. So, when it comes to any idea he came up with he has a lot of problems accepting criticism.

Not sure how that would help. How would people become aware of this wiki page? And what would this influence to enact changes in the law or candidates running for office?

What is funny is I agree with your framing just not your conclusion. I accept everything you say. I think Cenk has failed to communicate why he needs to run and do well so far.

Scotus being captured to the degree it is has huge consequences. In other words you and many others situational awareness is flawed. We’re in more collective peril then we realize with this court and a Trump (similar) presidency. This court could and will end all our rights and they are captured by a radical organization. They also fight dirty as Cenk knows. Hitler he wasn’t elected in a clean election. If you don’t know the history, I urge you to look it up. Cenk like others are just trying to get everyone to see what is clear to some.

This court will be our demise if we give them a chance, and with Trump or similar there would be many. Given the decay theta of the court average seating, we are heading down a very dangerous path.

As for the work around it hinges on the definition of observing to be allowed over an application like Skype. There is a contiguous page requirement so every signature page would need to be likely mailed and start clean signature page for each person (group signing together). The signature gather would have to make an appointment to witness the signing. From what I remember some counties would allow you to mail the wet signature to the clerk and some would make you drop it off in person.