Now that the midterm election hangover is starting to wear off, there was one race that really stood out to the folks here at twentytwentynews.com and that was the powerful campaign of Amy Wasyluka for Alabama State Senate District 2. Her message was genuine and simple. Her energy was fierce and relentless. Her campaign staff and volunteers were loyal and dedicated. She almost defeated the onslaught of straight ticket voting because she ran an amazing campaign that inspired people. Wasyluka gave us something to vote for instead of trying to convince us to just vote against the opposition.
After a gut-wrenching defeat by a mere few hundred votes, Wasyluka was back to work immediately, encouraging others to get involved in progressive causes and to engage in making their communities better. Wasyluka simply embodies the kind of leadership and character we need to move Alabama forward. She ran a positive campaign focused on healthcare, education, and infrastructure. We’re all praying that she decides to run again.
The Wasyluka campaign also showed us why it’s so important for more women to run for office. For her, healthcare and women’s issues weren’t an exercise in abstract empathy. She’s lived them. She became a voice for women who feel disenfranchised and ignored by a political system that seems to only recognize older, white men. Wasyluka knocked on countless doors and listened to the people of her district. She told us her story and we all felt like we got to know a dedicated, honest person instead of a duplicitous politician. It seemed like every day, she had something new and personal to say on social media. Wasyluka won our hearts.
Hopefully, Wasyluka will run again. During her campaign, she certainly inspired other women to get involved in the political process. In Alabama, that’s something we desperately need as women continue to be sorely underrepresented and marginalized.
In sharp contrast, Republican Kay Ivey won the governorship without doing much of diddly or squat. In fact, no one even knows what the hell she stands for or what her plans are for the state. The only people inspired by her victory are extremist Republicans who know that she’ll blindly rubber stamp any regressive laws that they throw across her desk.
So, as Democrats are still gathering signs to take to the Green Team for recycling and trying to figure out how they got decimated in the midterms, they ought to pause a moment and look at what worked in the Wasyluka campaign. First, she was genuine and always herself. She proposed real, workable solutions and gave people something they could vote for. She was running for something, rather than running against someone. Second, she worked with enthusiasm and spent every moment believing she could win. Her attitude was energetic, positive, and infectious. Third, she used social media to tell her story, rather than using it as a place to try and sell a political product or ideology. Last, she never muddied the waters. Her message was simple, understandable, and steady.
The people who worked on her campaign would do it all over again tomorrow. If you’ve worked in politics any length of time you probably know that not many other campaigns could make that type of claim. Wasyluka made us into believers. We saw that with her vision and her leadership, it was possible.
So, before we get distracted by the next stupid thing Trump does or the next embarrassing scandal or the next round of Republican dumb-assery emanating from Montgomery- let’s take a moment to learn from the Wasyluka campaign. At twentytwentynews.com, we were paying attention because we saw what a great Democratic campaign should look like in Alabama and why more brilliant, dedicated women like Amy Wasyluka need to run for public office.
We’re still with you, Wasyluka!