NNU on Mid-Term Elections: Activism Grows, Expanding Opportunities For Transformative Change
With much of the national focus on changing control of the House, National Nurses United today highlighted what may be the most significant, and lasting election development–ongoing momentum for grassroots activism, especially on the critical issue of health care.
NNU welcomed the unmistakable rebuke to the corporate agenda, especially on health care – as reflected in multiple House races, and in the election of many candidates who better reflect the diversity of the nation, and said the new majority in the House should serve as a brake to some of the worst abuses on worker’s rights and public protections.
In particular, NNU hailed “the movement led by RNs around the country, including Florida and Texas, that put Medicare for All at the center of the national debate,” said NNU Co-President Jean Ross, RN.
Numerous NNU endorsed candidates were elected Tuesday, including Governors Gavin Newsom in California and Tim Walz in Minnesota, and dozens of House candidates from coast to coast who will strengthen support for the growing movement for Medicare for All.
They include the first two Muslim women in Congress, Ilhan Omar in Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib in Michigan, Deb Haaland in New Mexico, in a breakthrough for Native American women, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who becomes the youngest woman elected to Congress and a national progressive champion.
Widespread dismay over health care costs, and access, especially for people with pre-existing conditions made health care the leading issue for voters.
Public demand for real solutions on health care were seminal in flipping the House; expanding Medicaid coverage in red states Nebraska, Idaho, and Utah; and electing additional advocates for guaranteed health care through Medicare for All.
NNU, said NNU Executive Director Bonnie Castillo, RN, will work with the growing House Medicare for All caucus to press for action on Medicare for All, while also continuing to escalate movement building in states from coast to coast.
NNU also hailed the passage of several additional ballot measures such as votes in Arkansas and Missouri to raise the minimum wage.
Most notably, said Castillo, was the passage of Amendment 4 in Florida which will restore voting rights to about 1.5 million formerly incarcerated people, including about 20 percent of Florida’s African American adult population – “a huge victory for voting rights, that will also have a major impact on national and state politics.”
At the same time, Castillo said, the demagogic incitement of racism and anti-Semitism, and widespread cases of voter suppression, especially evident in Georgia, cast a dark shadow over the future of democracy and must be directly challenged.
“We must do everything we can to encourage and assist this process, including continuing to build a broad movement for the transformative social change we need on issues that unite people, from health care to environmental protections to voting rights and confront the enormous powerful interests who dominate our economic and political system,” Castillo said.
The best antidote to those politics, like the campaign for real health care reform, is activism, said Castillo. “Mass action by a diverse array of activists, especially young people - the defining development in this election year.”