People For the American Way

Stacey Abrams, Andrew Gillum, and David Garcia: The Future of Democrats Lies in Fighting for Progressive Values, Not Just Against Trump

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 14, 2018

Contact: Drew Courtney at People For the American Way


Phone Number: 202-467-4999

Diverse Democratic Leaders Join People For the American Way in a Discussion on the Future of Democrats in America

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Washington, DC — Following an official endorsement announcement today by People For the American Way, three progressive candidates–Stacey Abrams in Georgia, Andrew Gillum in Florida, and David Garcia in Arizona for Governor– laid out compelling cases for how Democrats can win governorships in critical battleground states by energizing coalitions including communities of color and reaching out to disaffected Trump voters.

The event, moderated by Lizet Ocampo, People For the American Way’s Political Director, included a lively Q&A.

Andrew Gillum opened the event talking about the experiences of Florida voters who are struggling to access healthcare, survive increasingly extreme storms fueled by climate change, and battle the opioid crisis. “For too long, we’ve nominated candidates who don’t reflect the experiences of everyday voters,” Gillum said. “Candidates are running who haven’t been poor, haven’t struggled, haven’t relied on programs like SNAP and Medicaid. The result is far too many losses. The future of the Democratic Party, if we want to win, lies in candidates who reflect the actual experiences of voters.”

David Garcia made the case that Arizona had test-run Trump’s “anti-Latino and anti-immigrant laws” for years before Donald Trump showed up. “These awful times are leading to record voting and engagement by Latinos and progressives. But it’s tiring to come out on defense again and again and again. We know people will show up to vote against Trump, but what we bring to this election in Arizona that we also need is something to vote for.”

Garcia argued that both progressives and Trump voters face similar issues that lead them to be interested in progressive ideas like robust public schools, better infrastructure, and supporting immigrant families. “Trump voters’ roads are falling apart, their schools are failing because of vouchers, and they walk outside and see Arizona’s non-stop sun and ask the same question progressives do: why don’t we have more solar? Trump voters and progressives want the same thing from our schools, the same thing from our infrastructure, the same access to good jobs. When we fight for something, people will stand with us.”

Stacey Abrams made the case that an electorate that will allow Democrats to win is already in place in Georgia and other supposedly Trump states, as long as Democrats invest in communities of color and don’t give up on voters regardless of where they live. “Across America, communities that are working themselves to the bone are being told they are poor because they aren’t working hard enough. We need real leadership committed to building coalitions across urban, rural, and suburban voters to reclaim the American way and support people instead of just blaming them,” she argued. Abrams explained that her campaign in Georgia is doing just that: investing in communities of color and rural counties early and often. “We aren’t going to ride the wave, we are building the wave. When we build a multi-racial, multi-ethnic coalition, we win,” she concluded.

“The pathway to victory in states where Trump won is clear, and it starts with leaders like Stacey Abrams, Andrew Gillum, and David Garcia,” said People For the American Way President Michael Keegan. “These leaders are building diverse coalitions, channeling the resistance, and giving voters a progressive vision for the future that we all want to fight for. The big story in November, and the future of the Democrats, will be huge wins for diverse visionary leadership in the states. People For the American Way doesn’t often endorse in primaries, and never in our history have we endorsed three candidates at once, but progressives have an incredible opportunity in 2018 to come back stronger than ever before.”

“These candidates are the future of the Democratic Party and America. Diverse candidates are innovating at the state level, mobilizing multiracial and multi-ethnic coalitions, channeling the resistance, and proposing new and innovative solutions to our biggest problems,” said Lizet Ocampo in closing.

People For the American Way Action Fund is a political organization connected to People for the American Way, a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and defend constitutional values including free expression, religious liberty, equal justice under the law, and the right to meaningfully participate in our democracy.