When we looked at Stacey Abrams' formula for turning red states blue, we pointedly noted that it's not going to work in hopeless white nationalist bastions like Idaho, Wyoming and the Dakotas but could work in states like Texas, Florida, the Carolinas and... Indiana. The thought made me wonder how our old friend Josh Cox is doing with his new Indiana salvation operation-- INProgress-- is doing.
Last we heard from Josh, in early December, he was thinking about how INProgress could be part of a progressive contract with red state America. Like Abrams, Cox firmly rejects "the liberal notion that we should give up on red states or that all of those inhabiting them must be ignorant racists. It is my belief that every person, regardless of who they've voted for in the past or what views they hold, is deserving of basic human rights such as a living wage, stable housing, and food security. It is also my belief that many people residing within these states have given up on the electoral process entirely or simply vote Republican because the Democrats have given them little to vote for. It's time for that to change, and it's time for us to act."
His platform for INProgress:
a $15 minimum wage
universal healthcare, including unrestricted access to mental health services
increased funding for education and a higher wage for our teachers
legalization of recreational marijuana with immediate expungement of all marijuana-related convictions
expansion of voting rights, including same-day voter registration
a workers' bill of rights that expands union protections and paid-leave policies
a social safety net that protects tenants and guarantees clean, safe housing to all Hoosiers, regardless of employment status
Since then he and his team officially launched INprogress. "The response," he told me today, "has been incredible. We have expanded upon my original plan, becoming an organization that is both dedicated to recruiting progressive candidates across our state while simultaneously building up Indiana's much-needed progressive infrastructure. We received our first bit of news coverage yesterday, and thus far we have already received inquiries about running for office from nearly 20 of Indiana's 92 counties."
All of this comes right in the midst of our Republican supermajority once again denying raises for teachers, refusing to increase our state's appropriation for food banks in the midst of massive food insecurity, and mocking the severity (and in some cases, the legitimacy) of the COVID19 pandemic.
As a full-time graduate student making a massive career shift, this has been a pretty massive risk for me personally as I really had no idea what to expect. Having already spent hundreds of hours and dollars of my own time and money on the formation of the organization, it's pretty safe to say I need this to work. Not just for me, but for the state that I've spent 90% of my life in. I am thankful for the support this far, yet understand the amount of work left to do.
You can learn more about INProgress on the official website or by following them on Facebook and Twitter. As Dan Carden wrote for the NWI Times yesterday, Progressive Hoosiers are not letting the crushing Democratic defeats in the state's 2020 elections deter them from their mission of improving the lives of working-class Indiana residents. A new organization-- INProgress-- is recruiting candidates to run in state legislative races across Indiana, with an eye toward toppling the Republican supermajorities in the General Assembly." Cox told him that "with millions of Americans uninsured and unable to put food on the table, with nearly a half-million COVID-related deaths and counting, the time has come to challenge the power structures that unrelentingly benefit the few over the many."